MANCELONA — Two vie for Mancelona Township supervisor — and they bring similar goals to the table.
Incumbent Supervisor Chuck Johnson has held the role, on and off, for about 20 years. The 70-year-old is a lifelong resident of the Mancelona area, and also serves on the Mancelona Water & Sewer Authority Board. Johnson’s career also includes stints as an Antrim County commissioner and Mancelona Village president.
“It’s just one of those things — you want to see your community grow and stay alive,” said Johnson, who’s been married just shy of 50 years.
His biggest focuses have concerned business and housing growth in the Mancelona area, which he said has been a struggle since the 2008 recession shuttered an auto plant that’d long been a major employer.
Lately, those efforts include work on a solar power development, which Johnson said would come with new housing.
He also coordinated with Mancelona’s village board and officials to net grant funding for low-income housing repairs, and is working with potential hotel and business investors in those revitalization efforts.
Ramping up recreational growth, like creating bike trails, is another major push. Johnson’s part of a group of several smaller northern Michigan towns working on the 131 Up North — a rebranding of-sorts of US 131 between Cadillac and Petoskey. Their efforts include improved signage.
“We need to get something like that to keep people here,” Johnson said.
His opponent, 57-year-old Roger Bergey, has similar goals.
Bergey, running as an independent, previously challenged Johnson for the seat in 2016. He lost in the Republican primary, which he cites as the reason he’s running sans party affiliation.
Bergey is also a longtime Mancelona resident. He grew up in the Kalkaska area, he said Thursday, but relocated north more than 25 years ago with his wife of now 35 years.
“From what I have seen, there’s a lot of businesses that’ve shut down and we’re not getting many new businesses in,” Bergey said. “Hopefully, I can do something to change that.”
Bergey said he and others in the community have long been frustrated with what he calls a “good ‘ol boy” mentality within township leadership.
It’s something he hopes to combat.
Bergey also hopes to push for better, and more widespread, road funding and maintenance as well — particularly, dispersed to smaller roadways that have fallen into poor repair.
Bergey works as a bus driver for North Central Academy, and spends his weeks working security at Camp Grayling. He doesn’t bring past experience in office to the role, but feels his work keeps him tuned into what residents want.
“I’ve had a lot of people say ‘Hey, it’s about time somebody tried to do something,’” Bergey said. “I hope I’ve got enough grassroots going on that I might have a chance this time — but we’ll see how it goes on election day.”
Antrim County voters will also cast ballots in several other township-level races:
- Tom Cooper, Anita Hoeksema and David Rasmussen are running for two vacancies on the Banks Township Board of Trustees.
- Democrat Yousef Jabara, Republican Rod Vessey and Libertarian Donna Gundle-Krieg compete for two spots on the Mancelona Township Board of Trustees.
- Democrat Robert Spencer, Republican Alan Martel and Republican Jason Merchant vie for two seats on the Torch Lake Township Board of Trustees.
To learn more about the Nov. 3 election and see a sample ballot for your voting precinct, check out mvic.sos.state.mi.us/PublicBallot/Index, or call your local clerk’s office.
See more election profiles at www.record-eagle.com.