December 14, 2018

Kenneth Verkest

Candidate for Harrison Township Supervisor
(Incumbent) 

Republican

Campaign IssuesRCNMC ReviewParty IssuesState/County/Local Issues

Campaign Issues

Why are you running for this office?
I ran for and was elected to Trustee four years ago to work for the community I have lived in for all of my life. After serving as Supervisor for the last year and one-half, I have had the chance to do even more and have enjoyed every part of it. I believe I have been effective but still have much more to do.
What skillsets and real life experience do you have that makes you the best candidate for the role?
Having served as Supervisor, I know what it takes. Civility, patience, & good communication skills are all essential for success in this position & I believe these some of my greatest strengths.
What are the top three issues you are concerned with for your district/municipality?
Budget: I have worked to cut the cost of government. Since 2008 we have lost over $1.1 million in revenue, yet we finished 2011 with a $160,000 surplus without reducing services. I have led negotiations with two of our employee unions and worked with the employees to save over $1 million in three years.

Infrastructure: Projects that improve property values lead to better schools and less vacancy. There are large areas of the township with dirt roads and no sewer service. I will continue to pursue grants to improve this part of our infrastructure. I also believe that a small, dedicated ten-year local road millage would pay for itself in improved property values.

Service/Civility: I was elected four years ago to serve the community. I have worked and will continue to work to maintain civility at the township offices. I refuse to engage in negative campaigning.

What are the solutions you will bring forward if elected?
I will continue to work on improving our infrastructure, especially those projects that encourage property value growth. I will continue to work with the employees to address expenses, particularly those related to legacy costs. I have led negotiations with two of our unions & have been able to secure significant savings in each contract. I will continue with the same approach as other contacts are negotiated.
What specific measures will you take to maintain low taxes and less expensive, limited government?
We must live within our means. I created & managed a budget that actually resulted in a surplus in a year when revenues had fallen to historically low levels. Lawsuits that result from irresponsible behavior are costly – I will work to make sure our employees & Board members work together to maintain professionalism in all areas of our township.
If elected, what will you do to better promote transparency in government?
We are currently enhancing our web presence. I hope to be able to add additional content & access to information through that avenue. We already broadcast our meetings live & replay them.
Have you received any endorsements?  If so, please list.
Although I have the support of several officeholders, I did not specifically request endorsements or assemble a list of endorsements.

RCNMC Review

No additional information at this time.

Party Issues

Why are you a running as a Republican?
I have typically voted Republican throughout my life. I agree with the Party’s position on most every subject. I am Pro-Life. I have found that many of the issues that local government addresses aren’t “party” issues, but I still identify myself as a Republican.
What prior involvement have you had in the Republican Party or Conservative organizations?
I have always been active as a Pro-Life supporter but not very active in party politics.
What is your position on Obamacare?
I believe there is a need for health care reform & are many opportunities to do this. I do not believe that mandating coverage is the right way to reform, & I am certain that the cost to taxpayers will be very burdensome. I also believe that the quality of care will be compromised. For these reasons, I oppose “Obamacare”.
What is your position on abortion?
I am 100% opposed to all abortion.
What is your position on the 2nd Amendment?
I support gun rights. I am 100% opposed to all forms of gun control. History has taught us that nations have avoided invasion because of our armed citizenry. Further, the right of individuals to own & carry weapons is listed second only to religion – Clearly our founding fathers valued this right & so do I.
What is your position on public sector unions?
I have never been a union member but I recognize that many labor reforms came as a result of their efforts. I also believe that we reached a point where unions were given too much power & it has hurt our nation. There are times when unions can be beneficial & I believe that the public sector is one of those. In township government, an entire board can be changed in one day & those board members have the authority to make changes to employees & work rules. Having workers unionized helps to limit radical changes & offers employees protection. Unfortunately, these same unions often bargain with little consideration for taxpayers. It is critical that leaders in local government are educated & negotiate contracts with sound, sustainable costs. Failure to do this is not a union problem, but rather a failure of leadership. I do not oppose public sector unions but have learned that they typically add cost to government

State/County/Local Issues

What are the two biggest issues you feel Macomb County is facing today?
  1. Housing values / Vacancy: Our county has too much vacant, foreclosed property, especially at the southern end.
  2. The decay of Detroit: Our success & failure is tied to Detroit’s & the leadership in the city has been dysfunctional for decades. Their financial troubles will continue to hurt our county.
Do you think Macomb County should have casinos?
Maybe! The existence of casinos is not automatically bad. However, they must be properly located, regulated, & operated. If done properly, I am not opposed to casinos in Macomb County.
What is your position on the Ambassador bridge project?
This is a very complicated issue & there are valid arguments for both sides. I believe we need another span & that it would be good for our area’s long-term viability. I do not favor significant public investment in the bridge.
What is your position on special millages like the DIA or Zoo millages?
There are some recreational properties that cannot exist without public support: HCMA & State Parks are good examples.  I am not opposed to the concept. However, there are some special millages that fund very specialized services that a majority of citizens do not utilize. Since these millages are decided by the voters, I have no problem with them, but I do not personally support giving tax dollars to an entity that is not directly accountable to me or managed by people who I elect.

Ken Verkest

Residence: Harrison Township
Marital Status: Married for 22 years
Current Occupation: Supervisor
Contact Email: kenverkest@comcast.net
Contact Phone: 586 914 9944
Contact Address: 39285 N. Blom  Harrison Twp., MI  48045
Website:
Social Media Links: Facebook

 

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