TEMPERANCE — The field of 10 candidates for Bedford Township trustee has been narrowed to five.
Four seats are up for grabs Nov. 8 with incumbents Rick Steiner and Nancy Tienvieri fighting to keep their seats against challengers Michelle Bork and TC Clements, both Republicans, along with Greg Robinson who is the lone Democrat.
Two other seats are open because current trustees Paul Pirrone and Larry O’Dell are running for township supervisor and are prohibited from running for both offices.
In the August primary, Ms. Bork received 1,946 votes in the August primary, the most of any candidate. Ms. Tienvieri received 1,837, Mr. Steiner received 1,826, Mr. Clements received 1,563, and Mr. Robinson received 1,219.
The four trustees work with the township treasurer, clerk, and supervisor to make up the seven-person board.
Ms. Bork, 47, is a Disney travel agent and has also owned several businesses. She considers herself to be business-oriented, but also people-oriented.
“Being a business owner, I’ve always had to work with a variety of people, whether it’s customers or employees,” Ms. Bork said. “We can have our own opinions, but we can still work toward common goals to benefit the community.”
Ms. Bork said two of her primary goals for Bedford Township are safety and improving communication between the township and residents. One of her concerns is the lack of road markings.
“Right now, we don’t have any lines on many of our roads,” she said. “They chipped and sealed them, and now a large majority of our main roads don’t even have markings around the school.”
Revitalizing downtown Temperance with places to eat and community events is also part of Ms. Bork’s platform.
Thomas Clements, Jr., who goes by TC, admits he’s the newest resident of all the candidates, but he says the lack of deep roots could offer a fresh perspective.
“I’m not aligned with any faction,” he said. “I don’t have to listen to this group or that group. It allows me to be a candidate of my neighbors.”
Mr. Clements, 47, is a former deputy chief of police and has started and sold several small businesses. He believes his police experience would be beneficial as trustee.
“From the board room to the break room, I’ve always figured out a way to build a common rapport with people,” Mr. Clements said. “You start with small, easy decisions, and build trust. You begin to break down those walls where people talk openly.”
Mr. Clements wants to see a period in each board meeting designated for status updates for previous agenda items, and create ways to save the township money without putting a burden on taxpayers.
In a time where budget cuts are common, Mr. Robinson said he believes grant writing is key to making up deficits and obtaining money for Bedford Township.
“Everything from fire equipment and ambulatory services, to anti-drug programs,” he said. “With our aging population, I’d like to see an increase in ambulatory services and first response services.”
Mr. Robinson, 54, is a retired teacher from Bedford Public Schools. He taught as a professor at Spring Arbor University, including a courses in grant writing and state and local government. He believes his service in the classroom would serve him well in the board room.
“I’m definitely a people person; it’s easy to work with people,” Mr. Robinson said. “I would like to see some decorum and professionalism within the township. Once that’s achieved, I think we’ll see improved communication and we’ll get more things done with less disagreement.”
Mr. Steiner, 56, served as trustee from 2004-2008 before being elected again in 2012. He plans to continue Bedford Township’s five-year asset management plan for roads, but also realizes the need to consider other forms of funding.
“The funds we were spending was cash on hand in the general fund,” Mr. Steiner said. “We’ve got about one more year of strong funding, and then after that, we’ll have to do something different if we’re going to do any major road repair other than general maintenance.”
Mr. Steiner, who works in logistics in Detroit, said he’s often complimented on his civil and poised demeanor. No matter how the board looks after the election, he feels he can continue to bring stability to the table.
He also wants to reinstate the police committee and look into ways to use the Detroit-Windsor Bridge project to the township’s advantage.
“They’re going to be looking for areas all along the I-75 corridor with companies that have services to provide that extra traffic flow coming though that bridge. We want to be able to seize every opportunity.”
One of Ms. Tienvieri’s primary goals for her next term is improving economic development.
“I would like to see more growth in terms of job-related industry and business so that we can keep our young people in Bedford,” she said. “They grow up, graduate from high school, go off to college, and never return.”
Ms. Tienvieri, 67, said she offers a different perspective. The Ida Township deputy clerk is seeking her third term.
“I think I offer the experience and leadership that’s necessary,” Ms. Tienvieri said. “If I see other people willing to speak up in open meetings and try to make things happen, then I’ll retire. I’m not interested in the status quo because if you’re not growing, you’re dying.”
The candidate also hopes to bring more paths for walking, biking, and skating to the township.
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