King to challenge Denison in recall election

Published 5:48 pm Thursday, May 9, 2024

Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...

BUCHANAN – Former Buchanan City Commissioner Scott King has thrown his hat in the ring to challenge Mayor Sean Denison in the upcoming recall election this November. Candidates interested in running in the recall election have until Monday afternoon to file with Buchanan City Clerk Kalla Langston.

Berrien County Clerk Sharon Tyler certified the recall election after Denison recall organizers submitted enough signatures to force the election. Denison said late last week that he is not stepping down and will be on the November recall ballot.

King, a Buchanan native and 1979 graduate of Buchanan High School, served on the Buchanan City Commission from 1994-1998 and has been active since then in a number of community and environmental organizations. He currently runs an import/export business and works on special projects for other entities.

King was the founder of the Friends of McCoy’s Creek which won the 2014 Graham Woodhouse Intergovernmental Effort Award presented by the Southwest Michigan Planning Commission. They were honored for their partnerships with federal, state and local governments as well as other local schools, businesses and nonprofit organizations.

Individually, King was the winner in 2014 of the Friends of the St. Joseph River Al Smith Watershed Stewardship Award for his work on the St. Joseph River and McCoy’s Creek designated Trout Stream.

During his service on the City Commission, he served as Mayor Pro Tem and worked on wisely funding infrastructure projects for decaying streets, flooding issues and maintenance issues that dated back to the 1920s.

King said this week that he is running in the Denison recall election because he is concerned that the city is again facing some of the same type of issues. He pointed to current infrastructure issues such as the sink hole on Days Avenue and the crumbling retaining wall on Front Street.

“I’ve gotten a lot of phone calls from people disgusted with all the unfinished projects and decay around town that has been allowed to fester by this commission,” King said. “A lot of people are upset with the reckless spending and debt incurred on new projects before old projects are fixed.”

“We need to focus on infrastructure and public safety and making sure the neighborhoods where people live are safe,” he added. “I’m running because a lot of people called and asked me to run to bring common sense back to the commission.”

“They want someone with my experience in government and business and they want somebody who will listen civilly and give people the right to express their views,” he said. “People are dissatisfied with the commission’s current style of treating people uncivilly.”

In his talks with city residents, he’s found that he’s not the only one who has had a bad experience with city officials and had concerns ignored. “City officials shouldn’t treat citizens like garbage and have disdain for citizens and be so arrogant that they don’t think the citizens matter,” he said.

“Not following the City Charter has led to a lot of chaos brought on by this commission,” he added. “It is important we all know the facts and can share our opinions without being attacked for it.”

He said his philosophy is simple. “I approach things with two simple questions, is it good for Buchanan and is there a better way to do it,” he said. “Some people don’t like it when you ask questions but that’s what the commission should be doing. The citizens have a lot of good ideas and if you listen to them, you may get ideas you hadn’t thought of.”

He also wants to stress transparency and accountability if he’s elected to the commission. “The commission should be focusing on how every penny of every tax dollar is being spent,” he said. “If we’re spending taxpayer dollars, there needs to be transparency and accountability that we’re spending money wisely.”

He said he plans to spend the weeks and months leading up to November going door to door in Buchanan neighborhoods and listening to residents, their thoughts and concerns and finding ways to make their lives better. “I love the people and I love the community, we can do better,” he said.