Draper challenges Morse for 2nd District.

July 26, 2022

Draper challenges Morse for 2nd District.

HART — Incumbent Phil Morse is challenged by Joshua Draper for the second district on the Oceana County Board of Commissioners in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Both candidates are Republicans. The second district includes Ferry and Shelby townships.

OCP sent the candidates questionnaires, and the following are their responses:


Phil Morse, 43, and his wife have three teenage children.

Occupational history: education field for the past 20 years as a teacher and principal, most recently the principal at New Era Christian School for 11 years.

Educational background: bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the education field from Grand Valley State University.

Memberships, elected positions, community activities: Currently serving the first term as a county commissioner representing most of Shelby Township; board member on Western Michigan Shoreline Regional Development Commission; board member on the Oceana Economic Alliance; volunteer baseball coach in the Shelby Rec League; member at New Era Christian Reformed Church; former member on the New Era Village Council; former Oceana County Sheriff Reserve deputy; former volunteer at the Oceana Love Inc.; former elder at Orchard View Congregational Church; former board member of Western Michigan Christian Schools.

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

The most important issue facing our county board is revenue. A number of our departments could effectively utilize an increase in their budget, and some areas that are woefully under budgeted.

“The way to increase our revenue is by increasing our tax base. My goal is to increase our tax base to the degree that we can fund our departments appropriately AND have the opportunity to levy lower taxes, while maintaining our identity as a small rural county.

“To increase our tax base, we need more housing and businesses. While being involved in economic development is not in the job description of a county commissioner, I see the immense value in being a board that supports economic growth. For that reason, besides conducting my constitutional duties, I have been addressing the economic needs by participating in the Oceana Economic Alliance as a board member, by advocating for local housing and park development efforts, and by having a key role in the adoption of strategic goals for our board which includes ‘being a friend to development and local investment.’ I’ve also been heavily involved in the implementation of an EDA workforce diversification study, which is forthcoming over the next few months, and in the exploration of options to install county-wide broadband fiber optic internet.”


Joshua Draper, 37, and his wife Hannah have four kids.

Occupational history: Has worked for New Life Cartridges Inc. for the last 15 years.

Memberships, elected positions, community activities: current chair of the Oceana County Republican Party and served on the Oceana County Board of Canvassers. 

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

The single most important issue that we face is restoring integrity to every level of government. We are currently seeing the results of backroom deals and looking out for special interests groups. We need to restore election Integrity by restoring a hand count of ballots and making the voter rolls verifiable. We need verifiable elections.

We need to restore the personal integrity of our elected representatives so that they don’t table a vote when they receive concern from the voters about a proposal just to pass it when no one is aware of what is going on. Elected representatives are elected to represent the citizens — not the special interest groups.  

We need to restore financial integrity to the government. That doesn’t just mean maintaining a balanced budget. It means not proposing millages to alleviate pressure off of the general fund, so they can spend that money elsewhere. Every dollar that the government spends comes from the tax payer, it should be viewed as a sacred duty to be managed well.


The Oceana County Board of Commissioners was realigned, reducing the amount of districts from seven to five. District 1 Commissioner Tim Beggs is unchallenged; District 3 Commissioner Craig Hardy is challenged by Elijah Den Engelse; District 4 Commissioner Paul Erickson faces two challengers — George Sadler and James Draper; and District 5 Commissioner Robert Walker is running unopposed. Commissioners Martha Meyette and Ron Christians, whose districts were eliminated, did not seek reelection. Watch for additional OCP articles about the District 3 and 4 races.


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