Traverse City Record-Eagle

November 4, 2012

Our endorsements


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---- — The following is a recap of Record-Eagle endorsements for Tuesday's general election.

President

Four years ago, as the economy was tanking, we were fighting two wars across the globe and the auto industry was teetering on the edge of bankruptcy, the nation elected Barack Obama.

So are we better off now than we were four years ago? Yes. Has Barack Obama earned a second term? Yes.

Obama absolutely must curb the deficit in a second term, continue our economic rebound and make good foreign policy choices. But he is a better choice than Mitt Romney.

U.S. Senate

Sen. Debbie Stabenow has earned another six years in the U.S. Senate in part because of her work crafting a well-received Farm Bill and her aggressive stance on the Asian Carp. Stabenow has also been endorsed by farm, business and veterans groups.

U.S. House

Dan Benishek, a tea party favorite, has done virtually nothing to earn re-election to Michigan's 1st Congressional District. His opponent, Gary McDowell, is a strong advocate for natural resources, a moderate on social issues, and best represents the values and people of the 1st Congressional District.

State House

After four years in Lansing Rep. Wayne Schmidt can talk about his record and work as a committee chairman. But he lacks a northern Michigan issue worthy of another term. Challenger Betsy Coffia is all about passion. She's smart, personable and energetic and has refused all outside money. But she lacks practical experience. No endorsement.

TCAPS bond

Traverse City Area Public Schools has done much in recent years with the lowest per-student financing in the state. But the school board's decision to seek a $100 million bond over 10 years to continue its Long Term Capital Infrastructure Improvement Program is asking too much too soon in a still-fragile economic recovery.

Divison Street proposal

If you're worried about Division Street as a dysfunctional local artery or that it will be turned into a series of roundabouts, vote "yes" on Traverse City proposal 1 Tuesday. Voting yes will allow the state to create plans to make the street safer, but will also guarantee the city a chance to decide on that plan when it is finally drawn up.

Probate Court

The two candidates running for Grand Traverse County Probate Court Judge, Melanie Stanton and Kirsten Keilitz, both have the legal experience for the job. But in terms of the intangibles so crucial in probate court we believe Kirsten Keilitz has the demeanor and emotional balance needed to best serve those who rely on the court.

Grand Traverse County Sheriff

Tom Bensley deserves another four-year term as Grand Traverse County sheriff. In 2008 he emerged from retirement with a pledge to take control of a rudderless department. He fired two night patrol deputies who failed to turn in a police officer who had crashed and burned his car. Bensley took heat for his decision, but the message was clear.

GT County Board, 1st District

Ross Richardson of Traverse City is seeking his third term. He's thoughtful and well-versed on local issues, isn't afraid to challenge the status quo and has shown a penchant for standing up for senior citizens. Challenger Dan Lathrop, of Peninsula Township, opposes the septic tank assessment, but hasn't shown an overly strong grasp of that or other top county topics. Richardson is the clear choice.

GT County Board, 4th District

Chandra Ross aimed to knock on 3,500 doors in her effort to unseat incumbent Addison Wheelock Jr. After 18 years on the Long Lake Township board and 14 more at the county level, he already knows a lot of those people, and a lot know him. That knowledge — who he works for, what they expect and the practical limits of county government — has earned Addison Wheelock an eighth term.

TCAPS Board of Education

Thomas Grigal said he's running against Gary Appel simply because Appel's seat was up. "The funny thing is Gary Appel is awesome ..." Grigal said.

We agree. Appel, a former teacher, manages educational consultants for a national nonprofit. He also brings commitment and real passion to the table.