LaMore, Ringler vie for 12th District county commission seat

Published 3:06 am Wednesday, October 20, 2010


Niles Daily Star

When Michael Ringler attends Berrien County Board of Commissioners meetings, one thing stands out to him.

“I feel the interests in the Niles area weren’t being heard,” he said. “They feel that their voices aren’t heard. I figured I could help the situation.”

The Niles Township resident of 55 years is hoping to do that by becoming the new county commissioner for District 12.

He is facing three-term incumbent John LaMore, a 25-year veteran of the Niles Township Fire Department, who spent 12 years as fire chief.

LaMore prides himself on being available to constituents. He said he gets questions from residents two to three times a week.

“The longer you are there (the board), the more you know,” he said. “I know the answers to questions people ask or who to go to get the answers. It’s very gratifying to help people.”

Ringler, who has been working in information technology management for more than 20 years, said he would be “a voice for the people in Niles Township” if elected.

“That’s why people asked me to run,” he said. “I can try to keep the Niles area in the forefront.”

Ringler said he would bring “a high level of ethics, concern for the residents here and a levelheaded approach based on my experience in business.”

LaMore feels his experience is one of his biggest strengths, knowing the budget and the financial issues the county faces.

“The biggest issue would be funding,” he said. “The No. 1 key is maintaining the services we have.”

Ringler says the board needs to focus on job creation and the economy.

“In the township and in south county, most of the comments from the people I’ve talked with are concerned about jobs, moving out of the area,” he said.

LaMore came under fire from some constituents recently when he was a no-show at the vote on a proposal on the purchase of land in Benton Township to be the future home of a county campus. Other south county commissioners, John Klimek and Don Ryman, voted against the measure, arguing a county campus should be more centrally located.

“One thing that I’m adamant about is I will not vacate votes if I’m elected,” Ringler said. “I think that’s a very important aspect for the voice of the people.”

LaMore said if he had been able to make the vote, he would have voted for the measure.

“Some wanted to see (the campus) in Berrien Springs,” he said. “But the travel time is less than a five minutes difference. I have to look at the whole picture.”

LaMore considers himself “a common sense individual” and says he “adds all the pros and cons when it comes to county business and our local community.”

The winner of the election will serve a two-year term, starting Jan. 1.