Den Engelese challenges Hardy for 3rd district.

July 28, 2022

Den Engelese challenges Hardy for 3rd district.

HART — Incumbent Craig Hardy is being challenged by Elijah den Engelese for District 3 on the Oceana County Board of Commissioners in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2.

Both candidates are Republicans. The third district includes Elbridge and Hart townships and the City of Hart.

Peggy Wittman filed to run, but said that she has withdrawn from the election. Although her name will still appear on the ballot.

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


Craig Hardy, 70, and wife Sarah Hardy have five children and nine grandchildren.

Current occupation and work history: Currently involved with Arctic Foods, Inc. in Hart; previously part owner and president of Silver Street, Inc. (Mediatech) in Shelby — retired.

Political background, boards, councils etc. served: Currently serves as Oceana County Commissioner, District 3; Hart Township and the City of Hart; serves on the Board for Mason-Oceana County 911; and a member of the Oceana County Sheriff’s Reserve.

Community, church and volunteer organization involvement: DNR hunter education instructor.

Educational and military background: Graduate of Hart High School and two years of college.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it? “Funding for issues that Oceana County faces – lack of affordable housing; availability of skilled job training programs; incentives to entice more industry, manufacturing or agriculture to the county; work with the Oceana County commissioners, county administrator, Economic Development Alliance board, local government partners and industrial leaders.”      

Elijah den Engelese, 21, and wife Olivia have one son born earlier this month.

Current occupation and work history: Works in the construction industry, locally and in surrounding counties; previously worked at Cherry Hill in Shelby; and previous farm experience. “I’ve learned hard work and setting long-term goals while working towards solutions.”

Community, church and volunteer organization involvement: Member of Christ the King Presbyterian Church in Ferry.

den Engeles

Political background, boards, councils etc. served: Oceana County GOP.

Educational and military background: homeschooled and graduated in 2018.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it?One of the biggest issues facing Oceana County in my eyes is a noticeable decline in community involvement and personal responsibility, creating a vacuum that government all too often steps in to fill, whether invited to or not. The founding fathers strove for, and encouraged, personal responsibility and liberty as a whole. We, too, should strive for these things and work to make Oceana County a more free, independent, and responsible county for future generations.”

Despite dropping from the race, Wittman responded to the questionnaire:

“My husband Jack and I moved our family to Hart 17 years ago. When our two kids were in Hart schools, I was involved in the schools as a paraprofessional, substitute teacher, band mom, athletics mom, and I volunteered in many capacities. My husband and I served on the school board for multiple years, and we are currently on the planning commission in Hart. We absolutely love living in Oceana County.

“Over the past two years, my First Amendment Rights to Freedom of Speech and Freedom of Religion have been taken away repeatedly by both government employees and elected officials in Hart/Oceana County. I invite you to contact me to hear specifically how this has occurred. As a result, I have been attending board meetings of the Oceana County Commissioners and the Oceana County Medical Care Facility for the past 12 months. The people filling these positions need to change and in order to address this, I filed to run for county commissioner in what will be District 3 as of January 1, 2023. After the filing deadline, I found out that a good, Godly man by the name of Elijah den Engelse is also running. He is young, smart, and committed to representing the people in District 3. We need his honesty, integrity, and commitment to God, family and faith as a county commissioner. He is the best candidate for this role and I ask you to support Elijah den Engelse with your vote on Aug. 2. God Bless you for voting, and God Bless America.”

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 2 Commissioner Phil Morse is challenged by Joshua Draper; 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. 

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