Two Candidates - Jon Phillips & Jon Helmrich - Seek Saugatuck Township Supervisor Seat
The following candidate information for the two people running for Saugatuck Township Supervisor in the Nov. 8 election was provided by the Holland League of Women Voters.
Photos provided by HLWV.
Jon Phillips (GOP)
Address 2854 62nd St.
Fennville, Michigan 49408
Campaign Phone (616) 218-6249
Candidate Information: I was born and raised in West Michigan, I moved to Saugatuck in 1999 when my wife and I married, and have two boys in the Saugatuck School system. I served four years on the Kalamazoo Harbor Committee, and now four years as Township Trustee. I’m a small business owner, an engineer, and keep a boat at Tower Marina. My passion is making sure that our township continues to grow while serving it’s citizens.
Jon Helmrich (DEM)
Address 3522 64th Street
Saugatuck, MI 49453
Campaign Phone (269) 857-3574 http://jonhelmrich2016.com
Candidate Information: 30 years experience in managing budgets and creating new revenue streams for companies in New York and Los Angeles. Last 12 year as a consultant, based in Saugatuck, for both for-profit and non-profit organizations - offering strategy, fiscal responsibility, and management plans to improve financial performance and create new revenue streams. Active locally: Kalamazoo Lake Harbor Authority, Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society, High School Mentor and other organizations.
Why are you running for this office?
Having served as Township Trustee for four years, I feel we as a board have taken great measures to be good stewards of our constituent’s resources. I voted to save taxpayer funds on ambulance service, avoided litigation, and helped make general improvements in the beauty of our township. My focus for the next four years will be to improve police presence in the township, internet accessibility, and continuing to partner with our neighboring cities to preserve our beautiful township for generations to come.
I offer Saugatuck Township new leadership, vision, and experience. This is the first time in 12 years that we have an open seat for Supervisor. As supervisor, I will strengthen our efforts in economic development and regional cooperation. We need to be proactive in attracting new business and ensuring that existing businesses can thrive here. We need more affordable housing to attract young families with children to attend our excellent schools. A supervisor with vision can lead these efforts to strengthen our local economy and improve quality of life.
We need stronger vision to ensure the conservation of our natural resources: the Kalamazoo River, Kalamazoo Lake Harbor, and our Lake Michigan shoreline—all of which need strong stewardship to maintain and improve their vitality and health. The township includes these treasures and they need our thoughtful and strong attention.
My entire career has been involved with fiscal responsibility and strong leadership.
What are your qualifications to serve in this position?
I served four years as township trustee, spent four years on the Kalamazoo Harbor committee, and was one of the founding committee members of the Kalamazoo Harbor Authority. I am an Independent Consultant and Automotive Packaging Engineer by trade.
12 years of local participation on boards and committees. I currently represent the Township on the Harbor Authority. I have served on the board of the Saugatuck-Douglas Historical Society and Mason Street Warehouse. I have mentored students at the High School; led committees at the Saugatuck Center for the Arts; regularly attend our Township Board meetings; and been active with environmental protection, the library, and other fund raising projects - including fund raising for and producing the WGVU Public Media program “Michigan Hometown Stories: Saugatuck-Douglas” - one of the highest viewed original programs in the Grand Rapids PBS station’s history.
My fiscal management, operations, and development skills will bring new and stronger leadership and vision to Saugatuck Township. In my career I have worked for companies of varied size — from HBO and the Food Network to WGVU and the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.
I will dedicate myself to improving life for all.
What are the top three issues facing Saugatuck Township government and how do you propose to address them?
I feel one of the biggest issues facing the township, and one I have heard a lot about from many of my constituents is police presence in the township. It is imperative that there is timely response from the police in the event that a resident needs assistance, whether it be a medical or criminal event. The safety of our residents is at the top of my list of priorities.
The second issue that continues to be raised is internet accesaibilty. Many residents work from home, and having an internet connection that is dependable is a necessity in today’s world.
We have a unique connection to our two neighboring towns, Saugatuck and Douglas. We need to work together with them to continue to provide the best services that small towns can offer, recycling, fire and police protection, street lights, Interurban services, clean beaches and parks, and an environment of cooperation for the benefit of all.
1) Economic development. I will promote the township to small businesses, home builders, and others to locate here. We need to create job opportunities and housing options for both young families and seniors. I will reach out to federal and state grant providers, to regional growth organizations, and others to explore smart opportunities. We need 100% internet coverage to begin.
2) Regional cooperation. I will encourage and act on ways to work more proactively with the cities of Douglas and Saugatuck and our neighboring townships. Our library, schools, and fire department are excellent examples of tri-community cooperation which benefit everyone. 3) Land Stewardship. The north Denison/McClendon property along Lake Michigan is for sale. We should know what we want the property to be in 2020 — the State almost purchased a portion for Saugatuck Dunes State Park; much of it is suitable for sensible development. As a community, we need to decide what we want the property to become.