BALDWIN TWP. – Baldwin Township residents will have to choose on of three Republicans on the Aug. 4 primary to move on to the supervisor race in November.
Longtime incumbent Supervisor James Svoboda is not on the August ballot. Three individuals are, however, including Republicans Mike Falle, Christopher J. Martin and James Miner, all of East Tawas and all Republicans.
All submitted answers to our primary election candidate request.
Mike Falle, Baldwin
Mike Falle has served on the Baldwin Township Board since 2017 and served as the township’s deputy clerk.
He is currently employed by the township as its zoning administrator and administrator of the township’s marijuana project since its inception.
He is currently serving as deputy supervisor for the township and its ordinance enforcement officer.
Over the years he worked as a licensed builder, food broker, auctioneer, business owner, travel agency’s information technology department, salesman and had his own eBay business.
Falle did not submit answers to the majority of the questions asked in our questionnaire.
Christopher J. Martin, 36, Baldwin Township Supervisor, Republican
Christopher J. Martin, 36, East Tawas is a five-year resident of the Tawas area and is marred to Lindsey and has two children.
Martin is a self-employed residential builder and holds a general education development certificate from the State of Michigan, his professional education comes from self-teaching and mentorship.
Martin served in the Michigan Army National Guard and was assigned to the 46th Military Police Company formally out of Cheboygan and volunteered for three deployments in my six years of service.
“Growing up I was involved in the Boy Scouts of America and also a member of the Tawas Kiwanis Club.” He serves on the Baldwin Township Planning Commission as well as the Downtown Development Authority and is not endorsed by any political action committees.
James Miner, 54, Baldwin Township Supervisor,
James Miner, 54, has been a Baldwin Township resident since 2011 and spent his childhood living in East Tawas and is a graduate of Tawas Area High School’s Class of 1984.
Miner works as management at the East Tawas Housing Commission. I have been employed by the ETHC for approximately five years.
After high school he completed studies as a Rotary International Exchange Student in Brazil and started undergraduate work at Alma College and finished that degree at The Pennsylvania State University. He started graduate studies at George Mason University in Arlington, VA in 2008.
Miner also served in the United States Air Force between May 1986 and May 1991 and was honorably discharged.
“I have a long history of community service. Since the late 1980s, I have made it a priority to spend the Thanksgiving holiday serving the less fortunate at soup kitchens in every community I have lived. When family and friends visited during this holiday, they were always enlisted in my efforts. I’ve been blessed with opportunities to prune the cherry blossom trees in our nation’s capital, picked up garbage along highways, and cleaned up along the beach on Tawas Point. Currently, I serve on the board at the Iosco County Historical Society as Board President. Community service and acts of kindness are virtues instilled in me by my parents, Donald and Christine Miner. “
Miner’s candidacy is not endorsed by any political action committee.
What prompts you to seek election at this time?
Martin: “I am seeking to be elected because our community has an incredible amount of potential, it just needs the right leadership and enthusiasm.”
Miner: “Upon returning to northeast Michigan, I did not intend to run for public office. Years ago, I recognized the potential of our township and also realized that there were opportunities that were being missed. I am the right person to bring energy, motivation and ideas needed to build upon the solid foundation we have.”
What do you hope to accomplish if elected?
Martin: “My goals for office are to amplify the community’s voice, establish transparency, and modernize the day to day business of the township hall.”
Miner: “As Baldwin Township Supervisor, I will work hard to accomplish as many items on my agenda as possible. The most urgent task it to enhance the Township’s website at www.baldwintownship.org. This website will have functionality that serves our Residents and also as a marketing tool for tourism and business. A professional, concise, informational website is a key component to the long-term success of Baldwin Township. It is my vision that an easy-to-use website will also encourage more community involvement.”
Falle: “Iwant to continue to improve on what we have accomplished in the past 3.5 years, enforcement of the township blight ordinance.”
Falle said he plans to rejuvenate or rebuild the township’s fishing site and continue to maintain and improve the township’s roads, as well as continue to move forward with the Baldwin Township Marijuana program and improve the township’s downtown area.
What is your top priority if elected?
Martin: “My top priority for office is update the township hall so we can focus our efforts on more important issues.”
Miner: “My top priority is to ensure that every resident in Baldwin Township is a stakeholder in our future. With James Miner as Baldwin Township supervisor, I will be counting on our residents to participate in local government. In my opinion what happens at the local level is very important in our day to day lives. Without accurate and current information our citizens can’t participate in making informed decisions. Access to information is a priority that will benefit us.”
Would you support increased taxation and mandatory fees? If so, under what circumstances?
Martin: “Increased taxation and mandatory fees are inevitable with time and growth of the community. We need experienced board members and elected officials that represent the community in its entirety to make sure that these increases are justified. A balanced budget has to be top priority to avoid unnecessary taxation.”
Miner: “I do not support increased taxation and mandatory fees. I fully support budgeting, strict adherence to generally acceptable accounting practices and a robust plan to apply for grants. If additional taxes and fees were needed, that proposal would require Taxpayer support. Public funds and spending require an extra level of oversight and transparency.”
If elected, would you face conflicts of interest which might preclude you from participating in all functions of the elected office due to personal relationships, contracts, employment, et cetera? If so, please describe the conflict and how you would address it.
Martin: “One advantage to being new to the area is this is my first time meeting a lot of the community, this gives me a chance to develop a fresh new relationship right from the start. It is crucial to the success of a supervisor to be able to separate personal and professional relationships.”
Miner: “As Baldwin Township Supervisor, I will not have conflicts of interest. If a circumstance would arise for a potential conflict of interest, I guarantee that I will recuse myself from that situation. There are laws and penalties to prevent conflicts of interest. I believe in the rule of law.”
What would you do to make your township a better place for its residents?
Martin: “Making our community a better place starts with streamlining our government body. Establishing communication, transparency and modernizing the daily business of the township hall is an investment that will pay us back greatly.”
Miner: “A primary function of government is to protect lives and property. I will work with state and local police departments, the fire department, first responders and EMS to have better knowledge of how Baldwin Township can enhance the value we receive from these entities. When a community has exceptional public services, I feel it creates a better environment for its residents. As Supervisor, I will be launching several community-based initiatives that will enhance the quality of life in Baldwin Township.”
How would you address the perception by many residents that their voices are not being heard by county, state and federal officials?
Martin: “Unifying the community is the only way to be heard by higher government. We are much stronger together. It’s the duty of the Supervisor to bring us all together so we can stand up for our community.”
Miner: “I am aware of the perception that residents are not being heard at the county, state and federal levels. I can only answer that concern from the local/township perspective. As Baldwin Township Supervisor, with a robust plan for better communication via the Internet and social media, I will ensure that a resident’s voice is heard. Better communication is a priority.”
What do you see as the most pressing issue facing your township?
Martin: “One of the most pressing issues that face in our community is aging leadership. We have a generation that has held the line for a long time without any new generations stepping up to lead and now we are faced with a generation gap. Our planning commission has been hit hard with multiple examples. The pressure is felt from our local government to our volunteer fire department. We need younger leadership that can motivate young leaders and volunteers to get involved and close this gap.”
Miner: “The most pressing issue for Baldwin Township is taking steps to plan for the Township’s future. A thought out 10-20 year plan will include the immediate future. We need to develop smartly. What’s the plan for our commercial corridor on U.S. 23? What will our shoreline look like? Toxic well water? Remaining arable farm land? The condition of our infrastructure? “
What plans do you have, if elected, to add and/or expand upon the services provided by your township?
Martin: “Reaching out to other townships and municipality’s, I would like to explore the possibility of bringing yard waste and recycle pick-up to our community without dramatic tax increases.”
Minor: “Baldwin Township is a microcosm of all that is good with our country. We have fine beaches, turquoise waters, emerald green forest, working farms and a robust industrial park. It’s a fact that Baldwin Township is a great place to retire, vacation and raise a family. We are a four seasons outdoor paradise. I will make public access to our waters and trails even easier to locate. Access to the Internet needs to be quick, easy and affordable. The Township needs to ensure that it is receiving the best value for the taxpayer’s dollar.”
What would you do, if elected, to help attract and retain business and industry?
Martin: “Baldwin is a very diverse and unique township. We need to have better representation of the township and the township hall. Using Tawas City and East Tawas as examples, Baldwin needs the township hall to be directly accessible from US-23. The new township building needs to be a reflection of where we have been and where we are going as a community. This confidence in ourselves and our path into the future will reflect positively in our ability to grow and retain business and industry. It can be accomplished with little or no increased taxation.”
Minor: “As Baldwin Township Supervisor, attracting and retaining business and industry is paramount. Immediately after being elected I will liaise with local entities such as Michigan Works, Develop Iosco, the DDA, the Farm Bureau and our State Representative. Baldwin Township will be a viable contender when applying for grants; the Township will be more competitive. There may have been many missed opportunities regarding attracting new business. I can assure you that will not happen again.”
Is there additional information you wish to share with voters?
Martin: “I am very dedicated to what I do, and will do whatever it takes to get the job done.”
Miner: “A democracy is a form of government of the people, by the people and for the people. That is a phrase from President Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address. Managing a diverse township of approximately 1,700 residents and almost 20,000 acres requires leadership. Residents and business owners deserve an energetic, passionate supervisor that has the vision to ensure Baldwin Township remains a great place to live, work and play.”