Contested race for District 1 heats up in Aug. 4 primary.

July 30, 2020

Contested race for District 1 heats up in Aug. 4 primary.

By Allison Scarbrough, Editor.

Ron Christians and Terry Dykema are battling for the Republican ticket for District 1 of the Oceana County Board of Commissioners in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 4.

Adam Kokx filed “no party affiliation” for District 1 and will take on the Republican primary winner in the general election in November.

The District 1 seat is being vacated by Dean Gustafson who chose not to run for re-election. District 1 includes Pentwater, Weare and Crystal townships and the Village of Pentwater.

OCP sent the candidates questionnaires seeking biographical information, and the following information was provided by each candidate:

Ron Christians

Ronald “Ron” Christians, 73, of Pentwater is a widower whose wife passed away Aug. 29, 2019. He has three middle-aged sons with daughters in-law and six grandchildren.

He is currently working part-time at Beacon Cremation & Funeral Service in Hart, where he has been employed for four years.

From 1967 to 1996, Christians was a technician and sales engineer in security and fire alarm systems. From 1970 to 2012, he served for 42 years as an active member of the Alpine Township Fire Department in Kent County. From 1996 to 2012, Christians served as full-time fire chief of the department.

He is a graduate of Creston High School in Grand Rapids and a graduate of the electronics program at Ferris State University. He also graduated from the Michigan Fire Inspectors Program, Michigan State Police Fire Marshal Division, and served as an active fire inspector for 16 years from 1996 to 2012.

Christians’ community activity includes: secretary of the Kent County and Western Michigan Fire Chiefs Association as a 25-year member; Kent County Fire Commission member of 25 years; Pentwater Village Zoning Board of Appeals for four years; currently chairperson of the Pentwater Village Planning Commission for four years; past president of the Pentwater Service Club including serving as chairperson of the Bill Duncan Food Wagon used for Pentwater Service Club fundraising and committee chair for the MDOT Highway Trash Pick-up Program; current member of the Pentwater Historical Society Museum; current member of the Pentwater Artisan Learning Center; and member of the First Baptist Church Security Team.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it? 

I am concerned about our small businesses throughout our Oceana County. Many establishments have been forced to close their doors while the pandemic took hold in the spring. Many business owners and their employees have had to struggle to survive this long period of a loss of income. We have many of residents in Oceana County who struggle every day to pay their bills, and purchase food items. When business succeeds, more jobs are created.

We need to support our local shops, stores, and markets. We need to support new buildings, and existing buildings under renovation. We need to promote doing business in our small towns, and villages. We must continue to promote our wonderful, delicious products from the farm.

We need to support our local governments and local chamber of commerce. We need Oceana County residents to support and to continue to promote this area as an enjoyable destination.

I believe that all seven of the Oceana County Board of Commissioners will have the interest of its residents, and local business, as it moves forward in future planning, and future growth. The county commissioners, working together, will promote good business growth, and a dedicated management style of our existing county-owned facilities.

With the support of the voters within Oceana, I hope to be an active part in the promotion of this wonderful Oceana County.

Terry Dykema

Terry Dykema, 72, of Hart and wife Linda have three children and four grandchildren.

Semi-retired, his work history includes serving as business owner of Heartland Propane LLC, an LP-gas sales/service operation; business manager for large retail operations in the LP-gas industry; a secondary education teacher; and six years of service in the US Navy, honorably discharged.

Dykema’s educational background includes BS/BA in marketing/education from Ferris State University; an associate of arts from Muskegon Business College; and a Hart High School graduate.

He previously served as District #1 county commissioner, serving on various committees. Currently, he’s the chair for the Oceana County Department of Veteran’s Affairs; is a member of the Hart Lion’s Club; past president of the Oceana Center Grange, Knights of Columbus member/past president; and was formerly active in Boy Scouts with his grandsons.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it? 

Work on economic development within the county to help promote businesses and employment opportunities. Tourism and agriculture are two areas that need promoting.

Adam Kokx

Adam Kokx, 33, and wife Katie have four children: Kenai, Ayla, Leo and Yvette.

Kokx is a commercial beekeeper. He has been the owner/operator of Lake Effect Apiaries eight years, providing local area pollination on multiple farms and honey production in Mason, Oceana, Newaygo, and Muskegon counties. He has been a member of Air National Guard for the last 13 years, initially serving as a hydraulics technician working on the KC-135 Air Refuelers before cross-training into medical. Work history also includes Sable Point Kennels owner/dog trainer, three years at the Oceana Medical Care Facility and former US Fish and Wildlife Service technician.

Memberships include: Michigan Commercial Beekeeper’s Association, Large Munsterlander Association of America (LMAA), North American Versatile Hunting Dog Association (NAVHDA), Large Munsterlander Association of Canada (LMCNA), Michigan Farm Bureau, Ruffed Grouse Society, Quails Forever, Hesperia Masonic Lodge, International Wattie Ink Hit Squad Triathlon team, and Cross Country Cycle Team.

Kokx attends First Baptist Church of Hart. He is a member of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Reserves and the National Scholarship Board for the LMAA. He participated in various volunteer opportunities and community events with other Masonic lodges in Florida, Georgia, Texas and Michigan and as a leader for Beekeeping 4-H group in Oceana county for three years.

Kokx’s educational and military background: Hart High School graduate, attended University of Alaska Fairbanks, nationally-registered EMT, current tech sergeant Air National Guard assigned to the 110th Medical Group.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it?

Unfortunately, I can’t think of just one single issue. We have three important issues in our county, and they are: our poor road infrastructure, lack of funding for our emergency services, and lack of transparency from our current commissioner board. Having traveled nearly every road in this county due to my business, I feel it necessary if elected that a review of our road commission’s budget is imperative to ensure that funds are being allocated where needed and not misused. Our current board of commissioners has voted down essential equipment needed for our sheriff’s office which would help potentially save lives and ensure a quick and efficient response time. Finally, I believe that our current board has sat by for too long maintaining a status quo by either watching or voting for things in this county that are not representative of or in the best interest of its citizens. It is time to bring back honesty, transparency, and to represent those both in the villages and also encompassing farmers and other individuals located in the rural community.

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