Former Niles Township fire chief challenging Converse for county seat

Published 9:15 pm Friday, July 30, 2004

By By JAMES COLLINS / Niles Daily Star
NILES - Voters will have to choose between experience and a new voice in the primary race for the Berrien County Board of Commissioner's 12th District.
Incumbent Jim Converse will be facing off against fellow Republican and former Niles Township Fire Chief John LaMore in Tuesday's primary election.
Converse has served two five-year terms with Berrien County Board of Commissioners, including a stint as the chairman of the board.
With three commissioners not returning to the board and the retirement of county administrator Mike Henry, Converse feels he can offer some stability to the changing face of the county.
As the Finance Committee Chair, he oversees a budget of $82 million. Converse also serves on the Board on the Economic Development Board, Brownfield Re-Development Board and the Niles Airport Re-Zoning Board.
Prior to serving on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners, Converse was employed as an educator with Buchanan Public Schools and Lake Michigan College and spent time working as a plant manager with the Clark Equipment Co. and Allied Signal.
In addition to his experience with the county board, Converse said his broad experience with education and industry is also an asset to the board.
He and his wife of 44 years, Mary Jo, have two sons, Jim and Mike. Converse has lived in Niles Township for nearly his entire life.
LaMore retired as the township's fire chief in December 2002 after 13 years at the position.
He is concerned that Niles Township residents are not getting the proper representation on the county board and wants that to change.
He has been married to his wife Nancy for four years and both have four children from previous marriages.
LaMore is a lifelong resident of the Niles area. He grew up in Howard Township and as a teenager he moved to Niles Township, where he has lived ever since.
The Republican winner of the primary election will go on to face unopposed Democrat Dennis Casto in the general election.
Larry Clymer, former mayor of the City of Niles, will be running unopposed in both the primary and general elections for the Berrien County Board of Commissioner's 13th District.
The race for Berrien County Drain Commissioner is highly contested with incumbent Izzy DiMaggio facing three Republican challengers including Edward Heyn, Donald Young and Roger Zilke. The Republican winner will face Democrat Mark White, who is running unopposed in the primary.
Candidates for other county offices, who are running unopposed in both the primary and general elections are: James Cherry for Prosecuting Attorney, Louise Stine for County Clerk, Bret Witkowski for County Treasurer, Lori Jarvis for Register of Deeds and John Kamer for County Surveyor.
Mike Richmond, a Howard Township trustee, was listed incorrectly in a story in Thursday's Niles Daily Star as being part of a group who launched last year's recall election there.
Richmond was not part of that group. In fact, he was one of the survivors of that group's recall effort.
He is seeking another term as Howard Township trustee.