Emmet County Commissioner’s 5th District Nominee Q&A

In the upcoming August 2 primary election, there is a contested race for Emmet County Commissioner. The race takes place in the 5th arrondissement between two Republican candidates, Donna Lively and Brian Gutowski.

District 5 includes Wards Two and Three of Bear Creek Township.

The Petoskey News-Review has reached out to both candidates to learn more about who they are and what they plan to do as commissioner if elected.

Animated Donna

Q: Introduce yourself

A: I’m Donna Lively, campaigning for Emmet County Commissioner, District 5. I’m a co-owner and associate broker of the RE/MAX Lighthouse in Bear Creek/Petoskey Township. Before opening our RE/MAX office in 2015, I worked as a freelance writer and assisted my husband, Craig Lively, with his construction company, Lively Construction. My writing consisted primarily of writing articles on history and marketing for the Mackinac Area Visitors Bureau.

Q: How long have you lived in the community?

A: I have lived in Bear Creek Township for 23 years. Our companies also operated out of Bear Creek Township during this same period. We raised our children here and our young grandchild enjoys visiting.

Q: Have you ever run for public office?

A: I have never run for political office before.

Q: Why are you standing for election?

A: I am seeking to win the seat of Emmet County Commissioner, District 5, as it is a good time to give back to the community that has treated me and my family so well for the past 23 years. . I know the people and the responsibilities the county has to the residents – my neighbors. I will work to keep the county focused on managing our hard-earned taxes well. I believe proper management of county assets will save money and misery in the long run.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the county today? What could the county government do better?

A: The biggest challenges facing the county today are housing for our working population and maintaining current facilities, programs and infrastructure. I seek to keep the government accountable to the taxpayers and not diminish the voice of residents by allowing the power granted to the commission to be handed over to others who would not be answerable to voters for the decisions made.

Q: What are the county’s greatest strengths? What county is fine?

A: Emmet County is a wonderful and diverse place. It is a delicate balance to keep all ideas, lifestyles and dreams in harmony. The county is making great strides in this area. I am proud of Emmet County and will work to protect the heritage and future of my neighbors.

Brian Gutowski

Brian Gutowski

Q: Introduce yourself

A: My name is Brian Gutowski. For the past 27 years I have been the chief engineer of the Emmet County Road Commission. I am a professional engineer in the state of Michigan and am 57 years old.

Q: How long have you lived in the community?

A: After growing up in Manistee, I went to college at Michigan Technological University in Houghton. My trip involved driving through Emmet County en route to UP. I remember seeing the old concrete factory where Bay Harbor now resides and the Bay View Historic District. I moved to the Petoskey area with my wife Nancy in 1995. We raised our two children where they attended schools in Petoskey.

Q: Have you ever run for public office?

A: This is the first public office I have run for, although I have worked with elected and elected officials throughout my career on the roads commission. I currently serve on the Board of Directors of the Statewide Liability Self-Insurance Pool for Highway Commissions to which my peers elected me for the position.

Q: Why are you standing for election?

A: After serving the Highways Commission for 27 years, I am retiring in August. I have gained the support of so many people throughout Emmet County, I feel it is time to volunteer my time serving residents as County Commissioner.

Q: What are the biggest challenges facing the county today? What could the county government do better?

A: Being involved in hiring workers, Emmet County has a definite need for affordable housing. Workers struggle to find affordable housing. Emmet County is a beautiful place to live. People from across the state and surrounding states want to own property in Emmet County. This drives up the price for the ordinary worker. There are programs available that can help attract developments that provide housing that a working person can afford. I hope to be part of this solution to help our local businesses attract workers.

Q: What are the county’s greatest strengths? What county is fine?

A: Although the Highways Commission is separate from the direct oversight of Emmet County, I have had the opportunity to work with most county departments. I know there are very professional people in all departments who have the public interest as a core value.

Q: What will be your main priorities, if elected?

A: The duties of a commissioner are not to manage the day-to-day operations of the county. A commissioner is elected to represent the voters of the district he represents. I understand that the duties include assisting in setting policies, overseeing the general budget, hiring the administrator to oversee day-to-day operations, and appointing members to various committees, among other duties. I plan to use my background to serve on committees to help the county and other agencies keep Emmet County a great place to live. I think my experience in all areas of the county makes me uniquely qualified to be a commissioner. I would appreciate the support of the voters of District 5.

The primary election takes place on August 2. More information about the Emmet County election can be found at www.emmetcounty.org/officials-departments/county-clerk/elections.

Contact reporter Tess Ware at [email protected] Follow her on Twitter, @Tess_Petoskey

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