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Primary election

Candidates run for county seat

July 30, 2014 - As one of 21 members of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, the Fourth District representative will be elected to serve a two-year term. Duties for the position include establishing and revising Oakland County policies, establishing the property tax millage rate, adopting the annual county budget and a long-range capital improvement program, adopting county ordinances and rules.

Incumbent Tom Middleton was first elected to serve the Fourth District Board of Commissioners in 2002.

Middleton is a lifelong resident of north Oakland County, an area he said he has farmed, located his businesses and been involved with local communities.

"I am current chairman of the County Board of Commissioners Finance Committee and one of the 'Leaders Working Together' that presented to Moody's and Standard and Poor to receive their AAA Bond rating," he said. "I have experience working with the three year budgeting used in Oakland County and understand the importance and resulting cost savings of this process."

Middleton said he has several goals if reelected to the position of county commissioner.

"A county commissioner can make smart decisions on policy matters as well as the county budget," he said. "Oakland County stands out from so many other governments that are in constant crisis management. Our budgets are balanced three years in advance and our excellent credit saves our taxpayers millions."

Middleton believes Detroit's bankruptcy is of paramount concern to Oakland County.

"The continued problems holding back the City of Detroit have an enormous impact on the economic and cultural vitality of every community in the region," he said. "Oakland County should be a positive voice whenever possible to assist in moving the whole region forward but must insist on some basic protections for the taxpayers."

Middleton said, as county commissioner and vice-chairman of the Michigan Association of Counties Transportation Committee, he has been a strong voice for the area to receive its fair share of road funding and action from Washington and Lansing.

"I support working together with other governments to leverage our funds as far as possible. Oakland County offers a match to local governments for road projects," he said.

Middleton is an Oakland County resident, married to his wife Kathy for 46 years with three grown children and four grandchildren.

Middleton has been active as an Oakland County Commissioner and served as Chairperson of Finance and a member of Personnel Committee; Oakland County Employee Retirement Commission; County Drain Board; and on five lake boards. Past chairman of Michigan Dairy Herd Improvement Association, Michigan Association of Conservation Districts and the National Association of Conservation Districts Great Lakes Committee. Involved with Oakland County MSU Extension Leadership Council and President Elect of Clarkston Area Optimist Club. Formerly a State Representative on the Appropriations Committee, member of Oxford Board of Education and 4-H leader.

"I have been a farmer for 46 years with a Bachelor's Degree in Agriculture & Natural Resources Communications from MSU. I bring to the commission my experience in business, leadership, active community participation and balancing state and county budgets without raising taxes," he said.

Challenger Phil Reid, who is running for the Democratic nomination, said his top priorities are to create jobs by strengthening the county's Emerging Sectors initiative to diversity our economy by bring new, high-tech industries and high-wage jobs to Oakland County; improve roads by changing the Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) from an independent agency to a county government agency to improve accountability in road and bridge repairs; and protect water by banning fracking in Oakland County to protect our water, health, and property values.

"The Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) does not operate as a Government Department, Division or Unit, but operates as an independent agency, unaccountable to the Board of Commissioners," Reid said. "I would support placing the RCOC accountable to the county government to improve transparency."

He has over 36 years in the auto industry in the areas of Purchasing, System Administration, Logistics, Production Programming and Scheduling, and Program Management, all of which are relevant to providing oversight to county administration, he said.

He has a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration and MBA from Wayne State University, Certified Project Manager Professional (PMP 2010), married for 33 years, two adult childred - both graduates from Clarkston High School and University of Michigan.

Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.
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