Erickson faces 2 challengers for District 4.

July 28, 2022

Erickson faces 2 challengers for District 4.

HART — Incumbent Paul Erickson is being challenged by James Draper and George Sadler for District 4 on the Oceana County Board of Commissioners in the primary election Tuesday, Aug. 2.

All three candidates are running as Republicans. The fourth district includes Colfax, Crystal, Leavitt, Newfield and Weare townships

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


Paul Erickson, 66, and wife Stacia have five sons and two daughters in law.

Current occupation and work history: PM Collision, established in 1995; former branch manager at First of America; and former branch manager at Muskegon Federal Savings and Loan.

Political background — boards, councils etc. served and community, church and volunteer organization involvement: Oceana liaison at Michigan Department of Health and Human Services; liaison at Oceana County Medical Care Facility; District 10 Health Department-Oceana Board member; Oceana County Parks and Recreation; Oceana County Commissioner District 4 and vice chair; president of the Oceana County Historical & Genealogical Society; president of the Oceana County Fair; Hager Lacey Memorial Scholarship Fund; Julia Hager Trust-Trustee; Rotary International-Hart past president; former charter board, past president at Community Foundation for Oceana County.

Educational and military background: Hart High School; studied at Central Michigan University; studied disc assessment and implementation at Rotary Charities of Traverse City Leadership Learning Labs; studied automotive paint at Ferris State University.

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

“I am running for re-election to use the skills and contacts made these  past two years to better our District 4 and also our county. I feel my experiences in Oceana County will be of a benefit, and with reduced representation on the board, it will become more valuable.

“The single most important issue is our emergency services. Our ambulance service and our firefighters. We are experiencing a downturn in interest in becoming an EMT, as well as the hours needed to become a firefighter/MFR are a very real commitment. With the very large geographical area to cover, and the increased pressure on the lakeshore in the summer months, we are at a disadvantage with only two units on the road. We are supposed to man three. We are working to close the manpower gap and get the coverage we are paying for.   We, the commissioners will have to face some very difficult decisions in the near future in regards to the increased regulations and training required to handle an emergency. I believe my experience and love of our county will make the difference in this primary election.”

James Draper, 41, and wife Carrie have been married 20 years and have five children.

Current occupation and work history: I am self-employed and assist manufacturing facilities with their quality control programs. I have also worked on a cattle ranch in Montana as well as oil fields in Montana and Wyoming.

Political background — boards, councils etc. served:  I have not been elected to office before, but have become active with the Oceana GOP in the last year.

Community, church and volunteer organization involvement: I attend Faith Baptist Church with my wife and children.

Educational and military background: I was in government schools until seventh grade when my parents started homeschooling. I also went to a one-year bible school in Montana.

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

“I think it’s a toss up between election integrity and the justice system. I see these as two critical responsibilities of the county. After attending many county board of commissioner meetings, I see special interests, many of which have no constitutional backing, get attention and funding while critical aspects of the county are failing. Our county jail is at full capacity with felons while there are literally hundreds of warrants waiting to be served in Oceana County, but nowhere to put the people. I would like to know why so many felons are in our county jail instead of prison? There is also a lack of confidence in our elections. I have a family that moved out of state about 10 years ago, but still shows up as eligible voters in Oceana County. There are way too many committees, commissions and authorities sucking up time and resources. I will focus on putting our resources where they are needed instead of where a few people want them and addressing the root cause of the critical problems our county is facing.”

(Photo not available)


George Sadler, 64, and wife Kristi of 19 years have two sons — Peter, 35, and Chris, 32.

Current occupation and work history: My occupation is an airline pilot for 36 years and retiring in October 2022. I own and operate Kristi’s Pour House with my wife Kristi. I also run a farming operation in Riverton Township.

Political background — boards, councils etc. served:  I serve on the Board of Oceana Historical Society.

Educational and military background: I studied business management at the University of Northern Iowa.

What is the single most important issue facing our county and what do you plan to do to address it? “I stand for accountability. I feel everyone in politics should be accountable. I also believe our financial house needs to be in order.”




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 3 Commissioner Craig Hardy is challenged by Elijah den Engelse; 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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