THE SHIAWASSEE COUNTY LINCOLN DAY DINNER was held at the Comstock Inn and Conference Center in Owosso on Monday, Feb. 17. The annual fundraising event is hosted by the Shiawassee County Republican Party. Approximately 60 people were in attendance, including a number of dignitaries.
Bill Ballenger was the keynote speaker. Ballenger served in the Michigan House and Senate during the 1960s and into the 1970s. He continued on, becoming Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Dept. of Health, Education & Welfare during the Gerald R. Ford administration. Ballenger now presents “The Ballenger Report,” a blog highlighting various political stories. He was also the founder of the biweekly newsletter – “Inside Michigan Politics.”
Ballenger complimented Mary Nordbeck as chair of the Shiawassee County Republican Party. He then proceeded to discuss concerns regarding Michigan redistricting, and because Shiawassee County has actually lost in population in recent years when surrounding counties have increased, it might set up the county for partitioning. Ballenger explained that nobody knows what the Michigan redistricting commission is going to do, mentioning that Congressman Moolenaar expressed his own concern earlier in the evening. However, Ballenger stated, referencing another conversation with Shiawassee County Commissioner Chair Jeremy Root, “you decide at the county level the county commissioner districts.” He described the five-member committee that will include the Republican and Democrat party chairs, a probate judge, a prosecutor and the clerk – sharing to Mary Nordbeck, “for God’s sake, make sure you got the three votes including your own.” The five-member committee will have to agree on the map.
Ballenger also explained that even though Shiawassee County is typically conservative, no seat is truly safe for Republicans. He described Democrats Bus Spaniola and Clark Harder’s accumulative terms in office as state reps as an example.
(Independent Photo/Karen Mead-Elford)