2 candidates running for mayor.

April 18, 2016

By Allison Scarbrough. Editor.

HART — Two candidates are vying for mayor in a non-partisan election Tuesday, May 3: Jason LaFever and Ron LaPorte. 

Current Hart City Mayor Harold Schaner is not seeking re-election.

OCP sent the candidates a questionnaire, and here are their answers:

Ron LaPorte

Ron LaPorte

Ron LaPorte, age 61:

Work history:

My original start was in agriculture, growing up on a farm. I then went to work at Michigan State University at an entomology research farm. After leaving that position, I worked at the family grocery store, Hansen Foods heading the meat department for 33 years. After being bought out of the business, I starting working at the Pentwater post office part time and Todd Greiner Farms. Currently, I am working full time at the post office and part time with Todd Greiner as I like to stay connected with agriculture.

Educational/training background:

I graduated from Hart High School and then earned an an associate’s of science degree from West Shore Community College.

Political history:

I have been on the Hart City Council off and on since 1984. I have been on virtually all of the different committees with the city as well as mayor pro-tem and mayor for two terms.

Community involvement:

I was the mayor when the Hart Main Street program began which I fully supported then and continue to support today. I was on the board of directors as well as the promotions committee. I also was heavily involved with recreational softball for many years as a coach and 20 years as the district commissioner for the Michigan Amateur Softball Association. I am also an airplane pilot and a member of the Oceana Airplane Pilots Association.

Why are you running for Hart City Mayor?

First of all, I am the number one supporter of Hart! I love this city and want to see it prosper and grow with families and business, something that we can all be proud of.

What are your goals as Mayor?

To continue what previous mayors and myself have set forth to see. A community where people are proud to live in and businesses, large and small, thrive and be successful.

What is the most important issue facing the City of Hart and what are your plans to address it?

We have a good business base here, but we can always use more. So that is important, more local employment. We have been addressing the rental housing issue in the city. This issue is where we want to see improvement as the rental properties currently exist or maybe to bring them back to where they are single family homes again, pride in ownership, pride in the community. As mayor, I initiated the oversight of rental properties so that they would be held to proper standards for people to live in.

Jason LaFever

Jason LaFever

Jason LaFever, age 39:

Work History:

Security manager, machinist, United States Air Force (1996-99)

Educational/training background:

Associates of liberal arts and sciences, West Shore Community College; corrections certificate, West Shore Community College; journeyman mechanic, Community College of the Air Force; high school diploma, Hart High School 1995.

Political History:

Hart City Council, Power Board, Planning Commission, Parks and Recreation Board, City of Hart; Oceana County GOP Executive Committee/GOP Precinct Delegate, City of Hart/GOP Second Congressional District Delegate at Large.

Community Involvement:

Hart Long Rifles, member and board of directors;American Legion Hart Post 234, Member and Sergeant at Arms.

Why are you running for Hart City Mayor?

My campaign motto has always been “Be Heard!” I want everyone to know they have a voice when it comes to what happens in our city as long as I serve on the council, or as mayor.

What are your goals as Mayor?

I have three main goals:

  1. To work to bring new employment opportunities to our city. Oceana County is 77th out of 83 counties in per-capita income. As the county seat, Hart not only should, but can be the leader in trying to find new companies that either want to start up, or expand into our city.
  1. Public Safety. Hart is a great city, but we do have an element of illegal drug use that seems to be creeping into the area. I have already worked with law enforcement to increase awareness with the council and mayor. I would like to continue this work so we can keep our community safe for everyone. Especially the next generation.
  1. Promote Hart as a select destination. Many citizens have worked diligently over the decades to make this city a great place to visit. I want to expand our tourism market potential and promote Hart to help increase revenue within the city and to foster job growth.

What is the most important issue facing the City of Hart and what are your plans to address it?

I believe the largest issue we are facing is the situation with the Hart Dam and the Department of Environmental Quality. Due to water temperatures beyond the dam being considered too high, the DEQ is compelling us to create and implement a way to bring those temps down to “standard” or face heavy fines from the State of Michigan. We have some plans in place to study feasibility of options, but we are possibly years away from final implementation. The popular idea has been to pump cold water from wells into the river beyond the dam. I am not opposed to this idea if feasibility studies state that it will be effective. However, I am against short-term plans to remove the weir boards in Russell Creek. We held a public meeting and every citizen in attendance that spoke up was against this idea. I heard the ‘Voice of the People’ and have acted and will continue to act according to their ‘Voice.’

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