Kidwell ready for challenge

Published 4:51 pm Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Jim Kidwell’s Niles Township supervisor re-election bid definitely got more interesting when former Niles Township Treasurer Jim Stover announced his candidacy for the post last month. The two will face off in the August Republican primary.

What makes the race interesting is the history between Kidwell and Stover.

Kidwell, a police officer for the city of Niles for more than 20 years, arrested Stover for driving under the influence in 1995. Stover was serving as Niles Township treasurer at the time.

“We had a parting of ways after that,” Kidwell said. “It took me by surprise that he’s coming back for the supervisor’s job.”

Stover ran for the 78th District state House seat in 1996 but lost to Ron Jelinek. He then left Niles Township in 1996 to take the treasurer job at Pl


ainfield Township in Kent County, a position he held until February when he resigned in order to pursue Kidwell’s post.

“It was quite public at the time,” Stover said about the DUI. “I have that skeleton in my closet. There’s nothing I can do about it today.”

Stover said he could have pleaded down to driving while visually impaired but chose not to because he wanted to “be honest with the people who are going to vote for me.”

Kidwell also pointed out Stover is a friend of Township Treasurer Jim Ringler — one of Kidwell’s biggest opponents on the


township board.

“I just think it’s another move that shows the good ole boys down there want me to go away. Mr. Stover was their best answer for that,” Kidwell said.

In an interview last week, Stover said he doesn’t have any “ties or debts to anyone” in Niles Township and is seeking the post on his own accord.

Kidwell said he wants to focus on his first-term accomplishments during the campaign, pointing to the demolition of the old Eastgate Shopping Plaza, a community eyesore for decades. He also said he is proud of the sidewalk improvement project and his perfect meeting attendance record.

“I am the only one on the board that can say that I haven’t missed a meeting,” Kidwell said.