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HARRISON – Terry Acton closed out the January Hayes Township General Board meeting by stating formally that he would not be running for supervisor of Hayes Township in the coming election.
“There are others who are running that I would cheerfully support, that I have lots of confidence in,” Acton said. “I am going to run for the road commission.”
He said he had no intention of resigning and pushing for one of the interim appointments, despite indications that he could likely get one of them. Acton also told the audience he had made it clear at the last Clare County Board of Commissioners meeting that he didn’t support the plan to appoint interim road commissioners because it is too close to the election cycle.
“If you want that job, and you believe you can do something there, you have to get off the couch, campaign, and go around and talk and put forth your ideas,” he said. “I will run; I’m going to run for Dick Haynack’s job.” [Haynack’s term expires this year.]
“I will campaign, and in the August Primary we’ll find out if I’m still in play,” he said. “And if I am, the election will come up in November.”
Acton said his interest in being a road commissioner comes from working at the township for nearly seven years, explaining that he and the county’s other township supervisors – along with other elected officials – are the “first line of defense with the pubic” when there’s a road problem.
“You’d think that automatically people would call the road commission, but it doesn’t work that way,” he said. “Local officials get the call first quite often – not always, but often. And I think a township supervisor could bring a different perspective to that board.”
Acton said that beyond the road commission’s day-to-day activities, his other point of interest is looking out for northern Michigan from U.S. 10 north.
“If Lansing has its way, they will move dollars out of our county budgets up here and direct those dollars toward more populated areas,” he said. “That’s where the votes are.”
Acton said there is already legislation in hand, and that the governor has talked of disassembling Public Act 51, which is the current method used for dispensing road funding.
“She’s made it clear she wants those funds to go to more populated areas,” he said. “So, somebody has to be on their toes and keeping an eye on Lansing and working with other road commissioners up here to present a united front in making sure we don’t end up losing dollars.”
He said that, of course, the northern counties don’t have the traffic that southern counties do, but that the roads up here are just as important.
“Without good roads, we risk losing the people who come up here and spend their dollars up here, losing the tourist dollars, things like that,” Acton said. “That’s where my interests lie, not so much in the day-to-day operations.”