August 13, 2014 - Voters have spoken and Democrat Dennis Ritter and Republican Jim Tedder will face off in November for District 43 state representative.
The candidate chosen by voters in November will represent the City of the Village of Clarkston, Independence Township, Lake Angelus and parts of Waterford Township in the state house.
It was a close race for Ritter and Tedder, who are both Clarkston natives.
Ritter earned 2,504 votes, 49.63 percent; while candidates Robin McGregor earned 2,164 votes, 42.89 percent; and Neil Billington received 377 votes, 7.4 percent.
Tedder earned 3,007 votes, 30.54 percent, while candidate Andrea Schroeder earned 2,847 votes, 28.91 percent. Candidates Jose Aliaga earned 2,146 votes, 21.79 percent; Nate Knapper received 1,515 votes, 15.39 percent; and Paul Greenawalt got 332 votes, 3.37 percent.
Both Ritter and Tedder were appreciative of voters and said they are gearing up for the November battle.
Tedder said he spent a few days with family just playing board games and taking a breather after the primary race.
"I have a a lot of pride in the Clarkston area," said the candidate, a 1987 graduate of Clarkston High School. "This is the place I have chosen to raise my family because, growing up, I had a positive experience here."
He said he is proud of Clarkston, has been active in the community for 40 years and owned a small business in the area for more than 27. He is an administrator in Clarkston Community Schools and has worked as a teacher in both Clarkston and Waterford schools.
He also has roots in and knows the Waterford area well.
Tedder said it was last fall last year when he first began debating the idea of running for office. He announced his candidacy in January.
During the cold winter months, he was busy attending grassroots organizations and groups like the Independence Republican Club. He attended fundraisers and Clarkston Chamber of Commerce events. He made phone calls, and filled out lots of questionnaires. "You would not believe how many questionnaires I received," he recounted.
One thing he promises to never forgot is the importance of the average citizen, everyone he meets and everyone he speaks with.
When it came to the close race with fellow Republican Andrea Schroeder, he said all he knew in his heart and spirit was he worked as hard as he could.
"When you come that close to another candidate, just 160 votes in a five way race, it's very humbling," he said.
This is Tedder's first experience in the political world.
"I believe in limited government, integrity and honesty," he said. "That will never change. I am not involved in a lot of politics. I am who I am. I will never ignore or deemphasize the people here."
He said he has known his opponent Dennis Ritter for many years, and is close to the Ritter family.
"I have a lot of respect for Dennis and his family," he said.
Ritter, a life-long area resident, said he has been around the block few times when it comes to the political world and government.
"I have been through political battles before," he said. "This is going to be a tough one, but I am really looking forward to the November race."
In 1976, he won the race for Waterford Township Board member. In 1978, he ran for township treasurer, and won. He served as Waterford's treasurer for 10 years.
Then in 1988, it was time for the big race. He ran for, and won, the job of Waterford Township supervisor, a position he served for eight years.
In 1996, he lost a bid for reelection as supervisor, so he got out of the political arena for a while.
Ritter served as City of the Village of Clarkston manager from 2008 until he retired in 2013.
Now, he said, it's time to get to work in Lansing.
"I am going to work hard and get my message out to citizens," he smiled. "So they know where I stand on issues."
Issues Ritter feels are important include fixing road and infrastructure problems facing the area. "We need to fix these problems as soon as possible," he said. "We also need funding for education. My preference is to maintain local control of education."
Ritter said he is concerned with Proposal 14-1, because he feels tax revues will not be properly replaced in communities that have lost income.
Ritter said he is in favor of McLaren Hospital development in Clarkston on Sashabaw Road, and would like to meet with McLaren representatives. "It would be good for the area and bring a lot of professional jobs," he said.
Ritter said he is excited to meet with law makers in Lansing and voters can always expect transparency to the fullest.
Staff writer covering Independence Township and Clarkston area.