Tuesday, May 22, 2018
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Longtime supervisor running for county post

Retired official aims to join commissioners



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TEMPERANCE — Walt Wilburn, Bedford Township’s supervisor for eight years, now is running for the District 8 seat on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners.

“I think I still have a lot to offer Bedford Township, and if I can do it on the county level, I will,” he said.

Mr. Wilburn left his township office at the end of his second term, in November, 2012, after losing the Republican primary race and the general election, in which he ran as a write-in candidate, to the current supervisor, Greg Stewart.

Mr. Wilburn is a shoo-in to win the Republican nomination for District 8 — he’s the only GOP candidate on the Aug. 5 primary ballot, according to Laura Keehn, Monroe County elections clerk. The filing deadline was April 22.

Mr. Wilburn, 66, said he tried retirement for three months and found himself growing restless. His friend Jerry Barron, owner of Barron Insurance and Financial Services Agency in Temperance, had offered him a job during his campaign, and he took it.

Today he is an insurance agent licensed in Michigan and Ohio, and he enjoys the work, which he would continue to perform while holding the part-time county commissioner position.

“We’re an independent agency, and we have several companies that we deal with,” he explained. “It’s been fun, to tell the truth, and it’s been a bit of a learning curve. I’m at work every morning. I go out and visit friends and review their insurance. Some I can save money, some I can’t. We have about eight companies that we write for. But this has pretty much been a good time.”

Important Bedford Township projects were completed during Mr. Wilburn’s tenure as supervisor, including the new Bedford Branch Library and a new fire station on Lewis Avenue, as well as Ansted Park and Bedford Memorial Gardens Cemetery.

He is quick to share credit with “the two good boards I had to work with. I was very fortunate,” he said.

As a commissioner, he said he would focus on improving Bedford’s roads — “a hot number on my plate” — and senior services. “I want to make sure we continue to get our fair share.”

District 8 includes most of Bedford Township, minus Lambertville. Its seat is held by Jason Sheppard, a Republican who is running for the Michigan House of Representatives.

The district includes Bedford Township north and east of a line starting at of the Whiteford Township boundary that follows Erie Road east to Douglas Road, goes south on Douglas to Sterns Road, east on Sterns to Jackman Road, south on Jackman to the Ohio line, and east to Minx Road. It encompasses eight voting precincts: 3, 5, 6, 7, 9, 10, 13, and 14, said Garnet Francis, Bedford’s elections clerk.

Mr. Wilburn and his wife, Susan, have lived in the township for more than 40 years. His family previously owned a heating and air conditioning company and real estate agency. He is a Navy veteran of the Vietnam War.

Contact Carl Ryan at: carlryan@theblade.com or 419-724-6095.

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