Valorie Troesch (second from right), Democratic candidate for Houghton County Commissioner, District 2, chats with visitors during her Oct. 29 "Meet and Greet" event in the Franklin Township Hall. Pictured with her here are (clockwise from far left), Scott Dianda (D), Michigan 110th District state representative, who is running for re-election; Ellen Marks of Houghton; Elizabeth Flynn of Hancock Township; and Barbara Bouwkamp of Big Traverse (Torch Lake Township). (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
FRANKLIN TOWNSHIP -- Valorie Troesch, Democratic candidate for the District 2 Houghton County Commissioner position, welcomed visitors to her third recent "Meet and Greet" event on Saturday, Oct. 29, at the Franklin Township Hall. Joining her was fellow Democrat Scott Dianda, Michigan 110th District state representative, who is running for re-election.
Some of the visitors said they have been supporting Troesch's candidacy even though they live outside the district she would represent if elected. District 2 includes Franklin, Quincy, Osceola, Schoolcraft and Torch Lake townships.
"I live in a different district, but I'm so impressed with her," said Ellen Marks, a resident of Houghton and a friend of Troesch's. "She's hard-working, a great planner. She's committed to everything she does, so she'll be committed to the Commission and the people she represents."
Elizabeth Flynn of Hancock Township, also from a different district, is another friend and supporter who attended the event. Flynn said she participated in Troesch's primary campaign this past summer by helping with the parades. Troesch and her supporters participated in three community parades: Bridgefest, July 4th, and Strawberry Festival.
Valorie Troesch is pictured here with supporters in one of the local parades where they marched this past summer in advance of the primary election. (Photo courtesy Valorie Troesch)
If elected, Troesch says, she would be interested in representing the Commission on the Houghton County Planning Commission since planning is one of her top priorities. She would also be interested in representing the Commission on the Torch Lake Public Action Committee (Torch Lake PAC).*
"My top commitment is to the residents of Houghton County [who] deserve to know about and to have input into a planning process that addresses the priority needs of the County and identifies how we will responsibly get there," Troesch notes.
Valorie Troesch waves to supporters at a local parade this past summer. (Photo courtesy Valorie Troesch)
Troesch says she believes the present Board of Commissioners acts without regard to voter preferences. Two examples are the issues of comprehensive recycling and keeping the Houghton County Medical Care Facility from being privatized.
"Comprehensive recycling is very popular among most people of Houghton County, but the present majority of the Board refuses to pay attention to the will of the voters," Troesch told Keweenaw Now. "And the Houghton County Medical Care Facility is an example of that as well."
Besides sharing homemade cookies at the "Meet and Greet" table, Troesch and Dianda informally discussed several issues with visitors -- including public transportation.
Barbara Bouwkamp of Torch Lake Township said she knew people who need transportation and can't get transportation to a place where they would be able to discuss their needs.
"Gogebic County has a county-wide bus," Bouwkamp said.
Dianda noted Gogebic County residents have funded their bus mostly with millages.
Candidate Valorie Troesch welcomes three more visitors to the Oct. 29 "Meet and Greet." Seated at far left is Mary Brunet, retiring Franklin Township clerk; and, to Scott Dianda's left, is Ruth Wisti of Hancock. At far right is Houghton County Treasurer Kathleen Beattie, who is running unopposed for re-election. (Photo by Keweenaw Now)
Mary Brunet, retiring Franklin Township clerk, said she read about the Oct. 29 "Meet and Greet" and decided to attend to learn more about the candidate.
"I knew she was a new candidate and I wanted to find out about her platform and issues," Brunet said.
While this is the first time Troesch has run for public office, she has been a resident of Houghton County and Torch Lake Township for 20 years and describes herself as a "life-long Democrat." She has served as a board member for the Torch Lake Township Road Committee, Keweenaw Land Trust, Copper Country League of Women Voters, Dial Help, and Little Brothers Friends of the Elderly. She is currently a volunteer mediator with UPCAP (Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress) and a volunteer worker at Barbara Kettle Gundlach Women's Shelter.
A retired attorney and past business owner, Troesch is presently self-employed as a grant development and program evaluation consultant. At Michigan Tech she has been an adjunct faculty member and currently teaches Engineering Ethics. In addition to her law degree from the William Mitchell College of Law in St. Paul, Minn., Troesch has a Ph.D. in Rhetoric, Theory and Culture from Michigan Tech and an M.P.A. (Master of Public Administration) from the University of Southern California. Her bachelor's degree is in political science from the University of Iowa.
Troesch lists the following issues on her platform:
- Return transparency, honesty, and leadership to the Houghton County Board of Commissioners
- Maintain public ownership of Houghton County Medical Care Facility and work to ensure that this high quality, county-operated nursing care resource continues to be available to our citizens and their families
- Responsible and resident-formed approach toward protecting and enhancing the public interests of the Houghton County community (for example, economic development especially in tourism and technology, preservation and protection of natural resources, community livability/quality of life, recycling)
- Work to develop and maintain a formal capital improvement planning process and plan for the County so we all know where we are going
- Responsible budget management and ensure that Houghton County is able to meet its financial obligations now and into the future
- Seek a broad and representative range of community input on issues before the Board
- Bring overdue diversity to the board by adding the voice and perspective of half our County's citizens -- women.
"I've knocked on a lot of doors and met many great people," she said. "It's been a great experience."
Learn more about Troesch and her issues on her Facebook Page.**
* At present, Troesch's Republican opponent, County Commissioner Albert Koskela, serves on the Torch Lake PAC, a group of stakeholders originally organized under the Torch Lake Superfund in the late 1990s to work with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) on remediation of mining wastes (mostly stamp sand) within the Torch Lake Area of Concern. Recently, the Torch Lake PAC has been revived, with new members and communication with Michigan DEQ concerning the DEQ's Abandoned Mining Wastes project.
** See also our article about the League of Women Voters of the Copper Country Candidate Forum, which includes videos of Houghton County Commissioner candidates answering questions.
See also our Nov. 2 article on the Ontonagon Candidate Forum, in which Rep. Scott Dianda participated. Click here for the League of Women Voters (LWV) of the Copper Country Voter Guide to read local candidates' answers to LWV questions on important issues. (See especially p. 6 for answers from Valorie Troesch and her opponent, Albert Koskela.)