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Meet the Candidates: Howard Township Supervisor

Published 12:01pm Monday, August 4, 2014

Three candidates are running unopposed in their parties for the title of Howard Township Supervisor. Craig Bradfield is running as a Republican, Ron Fazi is running as a Democrat and Phil Hurlbutt is running as an Independent.

CRAIG BRADFIELD (R)
Age: 67
Residence: Niles, Howard Township
Education: Associates Degree from Southwestern Michgan, other continuing courses in accounting, etc.
Professional Background: Welding specialist at National Standard among other things, quality engineer, research and development technician; ran my own construction business for almost 20 years: Craig’s Home Improvement
Occupation: Retired
Political experience: Member of Howard Twp. Safety committee, Howard Township zoning board, planning commission, trustee for 10 years, supervisor since January of this year
Civic involvement: In the past I’ve been involved in YMCA girls softball team, Fireman Youth Club softball, maintenance supervisor at Berrien Center Bible Church, Miss Niles Scholarship Committee, and Southwest Michigan Blossom Queen Sorority
What will be your top priority if elected to office? Top priority to maximize the value that we get for the money that we have to spend for — right now it’s roads. We paved several roads in the township this year and I’d like to continue to improve that. One of my other concerns is trying to find funding to build perhaps a new fire station/township hall type, something similar to what the City of Niles has, where everybody is in the same building and on the same floor.
What makes you the best candidate for the job? I think basically my past experience. I’ve been involved in the township for many, many years, dating back into the 80s. Like I said I’ve been doing the supervisor’s position since January. Every day I go to the office, I find that there’s something more involved. I don’t think most people realize what is involved in being the supervisor. I’m retired and I’ve got the time to devote to it.
What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? I’m most proud of having my own business for 20 years. I was basically a remodeling contractor and I worked all over Southwest Michigan remodeling. I never had a complaint against me. Most of my business was through word of mouth from other satisfied individuals. Politically, it would be being appointed supervisor when Dale Lowe passed away in December.
How do you think you can impact southwest Michigan’s future? Just by being involved with some of the action group, NATS, being involved in the township, working with the county trying to improve roads.
What is the biggest challenge our region faces? How would you address it? Running a township the size of Howard with limited funding. The best way to do that is to look at all of the things that come to programs that come to the township and trying to maximize the amount of impact with the limited resource.

PHILLIP HURLBUTT (I)
Age
: 57
Residence: 3053 White Street, Cassopolis, MI 49031
Education: Graduate of Brandywine High School; Master’s Degree in Design, South Florida School of Floral Design
Professional Background: Owner and Floral Designer, The Flower Cart in Niles, since 1977
Occupation: Owner and Floral Designer, The Flower Cart in Niles, since 1977
Political Experience: To date my political experience has been through civic involvement.
Civic Involvement: Selected highlights of my civic involvement include: State Representative for Fairs and Festivals; The Civitan Club in Niles (1980-2006); Secretary (1990-1991); Treasurer (200-2001); Vice President (2004-2005); President of (2005 – 2006); Miss Cass St. Joe County; Executive Director (1990-2011), preliminary to Miss Michigan and Miss America Pageants
What will be your top priority if elected to office? If elected, my top priority would be to listen and address the constituent’s needs while maintaining an open line of communication and respect for all.
Name three core values that define your political outlook: The three core values that define my outlook are “Grass Roots” Community Involvement, Integrity, and Diligence.
What makes you the best candidate for the job? I have been a permanent resident of Howard Township since 1980, with no plans to relocate. I am compassionate about Howard Township and its growth.
What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? I am proud to be the owner of The Flower Cart for the past 37 years and being the Executive Director for the Miss Cass/St. Joe County Scholarship Program.
How do you think you can impact southwest Michigan’s future? I believe that I can impact Southwest Michigan with my involvement in the community on a professional and business level. I interact with Howard Township residents on a daily basis. By doing so, I listen and understand their needs and concerns.
What is the biggest challenge our region faces? How would you address it? I believe that the biggest challenge faced by Howard Township is Code Enforcement. I would listen to my constituents and lead as well as implement a team to address the situations that arise.
Other comments: Reserved for debate if applicable.

RON FAZI (D)
Age: 54
Residence: 2693 Starr Avenue, Niles, MI 49120
Education: Attended Niles High School, Graduated from Brandywine High School, attended Southwestern Michigan College
Professional Background:
a. Howard Township Fire Department – Assistant Chief
b. Howard Township Fire Department – Chief
c. Howard Township Supervisor
d. Howard Township Parks Board
e. Self-Employed owner of Gina’s Pizza for 14 years
Occupation: Owner of Gina’s Pizza
Political experience: Howard Township Supervisor from 2008-2012, also previously served on Howard Township Parks Board
Civic Involvement: Board Member and Coach for Howard Township Baseball Little League, volunteer at Howard-Ellis Schools, previously a volunteer Firefighter for Howard Township as well as a Reserve Deputy for Cass County Sheriff.
What will be your top priority if elected to office? My top priorities will be budget control and community safety including road repairs.
Name three core values that define your political outlook: The core values that define my political outlook are Personal Responsibility, Community Involvement, and Mutual Respect.
What makes you the best candidate for the job? My previous experience in this position, along with a proven track record to maintain a well-organized budget and act as a hands-on leader with the citizens of Howard Township makes me the best choice for Supervisor.
What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? Professionally, I’m proud to have served in the US Army. I’m also proud to run small business in our community and invest money back into our local economy. Politically, I’m proud of my past position of Township Supervisor and for 18 years of service on Howard Township Fire Department.
How do you think you can impact southwest Michigan’s future? I can impact southwest Michigan’s future by leading by example in my community, offering residents a clean, safe, enjoyable place to call home, and a safe place to raise their families.
What is the biggest challenge our region faces? Our biggest challenge today is the economy. How would you address it? I would address this by pushing to offer tax breaks to stimulate growth in my community, as well as seeking alternate ways to keep things running without continually increasing taxes.
Other comments: My goal is to treat all residents of Howard Township in a fair and consistent manner. I will work well within the budget, promote open lines of communication, and maintain a positive relationship with all other board members.

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