Salted with Sharks

Op-ed: Re-elect Don Tanner

In Gilmore Township, Gov't Watch, Politics on October 29, 2014 at 1:31 pm

I sent the following letter to the Record-Patriot for publication this week. The Record-Patriot accepts political letters to the editor limited to 100 words. Below that is a longer version. These are my opinions and are not meant to be the Alert‘s official stance on this candidate or this race. I’ll accept and post letters regarding any candidate or issue relevant to Elberta or Gilmore Township, of any length, as long as the text doesn’t contain profanity, hate language, or incitements to violence. Just send them to, subject line “letter to the editor.”—Emily Votruba

Don Tanner Works Hard Now for Benzie’s Future

Don Tanner…

  • Listens: Attends Elberta meetings till 10pm.
  • Reads: Cast the only no vote on the International Property Maintenance Code.
  • Communicates: Provides clear County reports, alerts on grants and human resources, advice on proper procedure.
  • Solves real problems for real people in Benzie: Fights for TNT funding. Led Benzie to partner with Grand Traverse for better veteran services. Helped craft PA 266, so our CMH can work with private providers and maintain services to our residents. Ensures state and federal funds flow north, not just sideways.
  • Gets my vote again November 4.

A vote for Don Tanner is a vote for regular people living and working right here in Benzie County. As a resident of Elberta who regularly attends council meetings, I’ve seen him at nearly every one of our (often 3-hour-long) meetings since redistricting made him our District VII representative. He always gives a clear and thorough report on the County’s activities, along with what’s going on in Lansing that will affect us locally. He shares helpful advice with us: he knows about approaching grant deadlines and who to call;  he knows the mechanics of passing a particular ordinances and the pros and cons; he knows proper procedure and has a great way of diplomatically giving council a heads up when they’re heading down a bad road; he encourages us to partner with other communities and knows what county resources are available to us to help us achieve our goals.

Don Tanner has a track record of working for our interests at the State level too, particularly in the area of health services, and he gets results. He has helped the county form partnerships with neighboring counties that will ensure our residents don’t lose services in the wake of state-level health care restructuring and funding cuts. He worked out a partnership with Grand Traverse so that our veterans could access more of the broader range of services they have available. He takes the long view. Years from now, our community will still be benefiting from the years of effort he’s put into ensuring that available state and federal resources come to Benzie too.

Darwin Booher recently helped pass public act 266, which allows for Community Mental Health Agencies to partner with private health care providers. This Act was largely the result of work by Don Tanner, along with Chip Johnston. Booher said: “The award should be given back to Chip and Don. This wouldn’t have happened without them.”

Some of you may remember the International Property Maintenance Code that was nearly passed through the County Commission a couple of years ago. Don Tanner was the sole no vote on that proposal the first time it appeared, possibly because he was the only one who bothered to read it the huge document and recognize that it was full of draconian measures that would immediately put most residents of Benzie County in violation. After a huge public outcry, most of the rest of the commission backpedaled from their yes votes. Tanner has a way of figuring out what the real problem is in any given situation and finding ways to solve it. The Question Mark Building issue in Honor has now been dealt with. The IPMC would have been like using a nuclear warhead to get rid of fleas.

Don Tanner listens to people, he does his research, and he can talk to anyone in a civil, engaging, down-to-earth manner. He’s from our community, he lives here and knows what’s special about us, and he has dedicated his life to serving us. He’s got my vote on November 4.

  1. Good letter, Emily!

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