Williams challenges incumbent Weipert for County Commissioner of District 13

Phil Weipert

The Board of Commissioners is the legislative body of Oakland County, divided into 19 equally populated districts. Two people are vying for the position of Commissioner of District 13 (formerly District 8, which now includes the Village of Milford, the Townships of Milford and Lyon, the City of South Lyon, as well as parts of the Townships of Highland and White Lake). The candidates are Republican incumbent Phil Weipert of South Lyon and Democrat Jim Williams of Highland.

Why are you looking for a position and what experience do you bring to this position?

I have been a commissioner for over 10 years and truly enjoy public service, giving back to the community and want Oakland County to remain one of the best places to live, work, play and thrive. I am committed to serving the neighborhood, keeping taxes low, improving roads and infrastructure, and preserving property values.

I have over 10 years of experience as a commissioner and I sit on the economic development and infrastructure committee. I have served on many other county committees and sub-committees and my experience in law, public service and in leadership roles in many public and civic organizations has provided me with the skills and values ​​to serve the citizens of District 13.

What do you think are the most important issues facing District 13 and how will you solve them?

Economy, fiscal responsibility in the aftermath of the pandemic, roads and infrastructure. As your county commissioner, I worked and passed a 3-year balanced budget, maintained a AAA bond rating, and saved residents millions in interest charges. I voted to lower the tax rate every year, protecting property values ​​and maintaining quality services. I will ensure that all tax dollars, especially the county’s $247 million in US federal bailout funds, are spent/invested as planned, wisely, and that costs are contained. I voted for our Local Road Improvement Programs and our Tripartite Road Programs, which make millions of dollars available to improve local roads. I will continue to promote grants and small business stabilization programs to keep small businesses open and pursue workforce development programs that attract and stimulate quality jobs and employment opportunities. I have experience in all aspects of county operations and have a demonstrated ability to work with all county departments to pursue programs that provide quality services to residents and will ensure that all tax be spent in a fiscally prudent manner.

Jim Williams, Democrat

Why are you looking for a position and what experience do you bring to this position?

I want to be a county commissioner who approaches policies and programs from the perspective of environmental benefits as well as workforce and small business needs. The climate crisis, evident in changing weather patterns, is the main crisis we all face in the present and the future.

I am originally from Detroit and a resident of the Highlands for 50 years. Additionally, I am a retired state youth services social worker and have been a small business performer for 45 years. Over the years, I have also been a substitute teacher, a state transporter, an art instructor for youth in inner city outreach programs, and a driver for Meals on Wheels.

Oakland County and the wider region faces many issues: climate change, jobs, lake and water issues, broadband, infrastructure, mental health, and quality of life. This requires a creative and progressive vision. On a personal note, I was raised in a home with many uncertainties, but I knew I was lucky to live in a time in America with many possibilities. My job has allowed me to hire people with basic needs. As a student of history, I see a need to deal with current and ongoing issues. I hope to be part of the solution by serving as District 13 Commissioner.

I am a member of the Sierra Club, Clean Water Action, several Michigan art associations including HVCA, and sit on The Art Shop committee there. I have been a delegate and candidate and have worked to engage voters in our democracy.

What do you think are the most important issues facing District 13 and how will you solve them?

The effects of climate change should be a major concern for everyone. This will affect the well-being of our families and our community. PFAS in the Huron River is always an ongoing concern. Under-regulated development will impact the district. This is about the safety and use of water in District 13. Accordingly, I support Water Commissioner Jim Nash’s efforts to make Oakland County services carbon-free and set the standard for the other counties.

Other priorities include supporting public education, and I would seek out any county departments that serve the needs of schools in the district. I would support improved mental health services where needed for students and other county service members.

About Margaret L. Portillo

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