Five candidates are running for four, part-time trustee positions on the Van Buren Township Board of Trustees in the Nov. 6 election.
All the other positions on the VBT ballot are unopposed. Larry Fix, who lost his bid for supervisor in the primary election, is running a write-in campaign against unopposed supervisor candidate Linda Combs.
Two incumbents – Phil Hart and Jeff Jahr – and three newcomers – Ann Frances Fioritto, Brenda McClanahan, and Regina (Reggie) Miller — are on the ballot.
Fioritto is the only Republican candidate. All the other candidates on the VBT ballot are Democrats.
Ann Frances Fioritto
Ann Frances Fioritto, age 35, of 44615 Greenbriar Drive, is running for trustee. She ran unsuccessfully for VBT Supervisor in 2008 and received nearly 40% of the Republican vote in the 2012 primary election.
She has two sons, Tyler, 19, and Evan, 7. She has lived in the township for 11 years and is a Clinical Research Project Manager.
Fioretto attended the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor and graduated in the top 10% of her class. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in chemistry and biochemistry and completed courses in economics, calculus, and statistics.
Fioritto was elected to serve two terms on the board of directors for the Greenbriar Homeowners Association. She has been active as a leader in the Boy Scouts of America. Besides being a hockey mom and hockey coach for her sons’ teams, she also is an avid hockey player.
Fioritto said she is running for the position of trustee because she wants to put Van Buren Township on the map as an area that is highly sought after by families and businesses.
Her goals include Safety (for roads, and support for police and fire), Services (such as Neighborhood Acceptance Plan that allows township residents to secure resident rates for facilities such as the Romulus Athletic Center and the Canton Public Library), and Economic Growth.
Phillip Craig Hart, incumbent
Phillip Hart, age 54, of 12992 Linda Vista, is seeking reelection as trustee.
He married Karen in 1984 and they have two daughters, Ashley and Blair.
Hart has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Northwood University and an associate’s degree in Commerce from Henry Ford Community College.
Hart has been employed by Ford Motor Company Dearborn Engineering Center for 34 years. He has held multiple technical and administrative positions and has been the recipient of “Distinguished Achievement” awards for his work.
As a New Model Launch Specialist, he is responsible for leading Launch Teams in the introduction of New Model Vehicles.
“One of my key attributes is that I welcome and embrace a ‘Team’ approach; I respect all opinions and I treat everyone with respect,” Hart said.
Hart said he is running for re-election because he said he has been effective in representing the residents and there is much more work to be done.
Hart listed goals after election in Human Resource Management, Public Safety, Planning and Economic Development, and the Visteon Bond.
Jeffrey Lincoln Jahr, incumbent
Jeffrey Jahr, age 69, of 45281 Harmony Lane, is seeking reelection as trustee. He has already served three terms as trustee.
Jahr was married to Patricia for 39 years until her death in 2005. They had three sons: Jeffrey S. Jahr, Daniel Jahr (deceased), and James Thurston Jahr.
He has lived in the township for 39 years and has been a general practice attorney for 44 years. He is former Westland City Attorney.
Jahr graduated from Belleville High School in 1960, graduated from the University of Michigan in 1964 with a bachelor in pre-legal studies, and from U of M Law School in 1967 with a Juris Doctor degree.
Jahr ran unsuccessfully for Judge of the 34th District Court in 2002.
Jahr said he is seeking reelection because he enjoys serving as a trustee and believes he can continue to make a valuable contribution to the community.
“I like interacting with our residents and representing their interests,” he said. “I have learned to listen objectively and appreciate the opinions of others. If reelected, I will continue to ask questions and express my position on issues that come before the board … I believe that my background and experience will enable me to work with the other board members as we respond to the many challenges facing the township in the next four years.”
Brenda L. McClanahan
Brenda McClanahan of 42783 Tavistock, is running for a trustee seat on the VBT Board of Trustees. She presently is vice president of the Van Buren Public Schools Board of Education and decided not to run for reelection. She was elected to the school board in 2008.
She is married to VBT Director of Public Safety Carl McClanahan; they moved to VBT in 2001. She has one daughter Dr. Ayana Wilson who practices at Palmetto Health Baptist Hospital in Columbia, S.C., and two grandchildren.
McClanahan retired from the Detroit Police Department with the rank of sergeant after 20 years of service, 1986-2006. She earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Business from the University of Phoenix and a Master of Science degree in Administration from Central Michigan University. She is an adjunct lecturer on Organizational Finance at Saginaw Valley State University.
She was appointed to serve on the VBT Public Safety Committee in 2008, but resigned after her husband was named Public Safety Director.
McClanahan said she decided to run for trustee because, “I have always enjoyed public service and I thoroughly believe that service to the public is a privilege and not an entitlement … My perspective is that the individual must be humble enough to realize that there is little that he/she can do alone. Becoming a candidate for a board of trustee’s position is becoming part of the ‘team’…
“Elected officials can only hope that working together as a legislative body in a collaborative and civil environment will produce the best results possible,” she said.
Regina L. Miller
Reggie Miller of 13697 Pond Bluff Drive, is running for a trustee position. She is married with two children.
She moved to the City of Belleville in 1996 then moved to VBT and has lived in the township 11 years.
Miller is part-time self-employed with a courier/messenger service.
She earned her bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Cleary University, Ann Arbor, and also holds an associate’s degree with a double major in marketing and communications from Purdue University North Central, Indiana.
She said she moved to Belleville in 1996 when her family was transferred from Atlanta. She immediately became active in the Victoria Commons Homeowners Association, National Strawberry Festival, Belleville Downtown Development Authority, and Trinity Episcopal Church.
Miller now serves as vice chairperson of the VBT Public Safety Committee and is actively involved in Country Pond Estates homeowners’ association.
Miller said she is running for office because, “I believe that our community is in need of a ‘renewed vision’ that will preserve, promote and protect Van Buren Township.”
Miller said her goals include using common sense and good judgment, developing a plan for moving the community forward, supporting the hiring of fire fighters and police officers, working with other elected officials, and insisting on accountability and responsibility.
She said she will donate one year of her salary over her term back to the community, offering the proceeds to the schools, arts council and VBT parks and recreation. She also will waive any health insurance benefits which will save the taxpayers thousands of dollars over her term of office.