TRAVERSE CITY — A retired nurse-turned-community volunteer and political activist joined the fray of those who seek the Republican nomination for the 104th District state House seat.
Karen Renny, 67, of East Bay Township, bumped to three the number of early entrants who plan to compete in the August 2014 Republican primary. She joins Larry Inman, a Grand Traverse County commissioner, and Robert Hentschel, a former county commissioner, in what’s expected to be a crowded field for the seat to be vacated by term-limited Rep. Wayne Schmidt.
“I’ve worked in local politics for two election cycles and I have the time and the energy to do this now,” Renny said. “I’m a listening person and I’m a caring person and I’m a tireless worker.”
Renny said she believes in state’s rights and limited government. She wants to eliminate red tape and help deliver a smaller, more efficient state government. She said people often don’t believe their voice is heard by government officials. But a 40-year career in business with her husband developing properties, and her career as a nurse honed her ability to listen to constituents, she said.
Renny remains certified as a registered nurse, but hasn’t worked in the field since she and her husband, county Commissioner Charlie Renny, moved to the region full-time 13 years ago. Instead, she volunteers at Munson Medical Center and is active in the family business, Blue River Properties, Inc.
She recently was appointed to the board for the Grand Traverse County Commission on Aging, her first experience with government service. She also serves on the executive committees for the Grand Traverse County Republican Party and the state GOP’s 1st Congressional District region.
Bringing more jobs to northern Michigan and improving education are her top priorities, Renny said.
“Our young people are leaving,” she said. “We need to have a good job market here and an atmosphere for creating jobs.”
Renny said she wasn’t prepared yet to offer specific proposals for education or job creation, noting both are “complex issues.”
“I’m listening,” she said. “I want to be in touch with people, always listening and open.”