Portland voters will choose from three area residents to represent them on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday, November 6th. Two of the candidates, Jack Shattuck and Georgia Sharp are incumbents seeking another term and one, Carol Stahl, is a first-time office seeker.
Jack Shattuck is seeking his twelfth two-year term as a County Commissioner. Shattuck, a Republican, represents the 6th District that includes Orange, Lyons, North Plains and most of Portland Township. He is currently the Chairperson of the Ionia County Board of Commissioners and as such is ex-officio on all Committees. However, he is the primary liaison for the Commission to the Airport, Facilities, and Parks Boards, as well as the lead Commissioner on the Bargaining Committee. Shattuck is also Vice-President of the Michigan Association of Counties (MAC) Workman’s Comp Board as well as Chairperson of MAC’s Agricultural and Tourism Committees. Shattuck is assured of re-election since he is running un-opposed for the 10th time in his political career. He has only had an election opponent in his 1st and 3rd races.
Georgia Sharp is running for her second term, as a Republican, for 7th District Commissioner. The District includes the City of Portland, a small part of Portland Township, as well as Danby and Sebewa townships. Sharp is a lifelong resident of Ionia County. She is a retired Portland teacher, having taught at Portland Middle School for 4 years and at Portland High School for 27 years as an English teacher. Sharp earned a bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University.
During her first two years as a County Commissioner Sharp has served as Chairperson of the County’s Personnel Committee. She has also served as a Commissioner on the 8 CAP Governing Board as well as a Board Member on The Right Door for Hope, Recovery and Wellness (formerly Ionia CMH) Board.
“It’s been a very good two years on the Commission for me”, said Sharp. “We have had two balanced budgets; built a new annex on the court house, without additional cost to the taxpayers by using current General Funds; created a new Public Defender’s Office; and successfully negotiated new contracts with all county unions”. Sharp reflected, “I have really, really enjoyed the experience of serving as a Commissioner.” In looking ahead to the next two years, Sharp said, “I still have goals. I want to improve communication with county employees and I want to continue to realize a balanced budget. I am honored to work for citizens of Ionia County and appreciate the input citizens give to me. I hope they vote for me again”.
Carol Stahl, a Portland Democrat, is running against Sharp for the 7th District Commissioner seat. Stahl has lived in Portland since 2009, choosing to live here to be nearer to extended family. This is her first attempt for public office. Stahl currently serves on the Zoning Board for the City of Portland. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Business and a master’s degree in Criminal Justice, both from Ferris State University. Stahl is currently employed by the State of Michigan in the field of Adult Protective Services and Home Help Services. She has served as an adjunct professor for Siena Heights University of Adrian since 2009. Prior to working for the State of Michigan, Stahl had a fifteen year law enforcement career with experience serving as a patrol officer for the Detroit Police Department before working for the Grand Rapids Police Department where she retired as a Sergeant.
Stahl is running for County Commissioner because she is interested in becoming more politically involved in the community. She says, “There has been some county spending I don’t agree with and I believe in strong, fiscal responsibility to the taxpayer”. If elected as a commissioner Stahl intends to work to address the “opioid crisis on the local level”. Finally, Stahl said, “I am always going to be behind law enforcement, especially more training. The more training, the better”