KALAMAZOO COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
Vice chairwoman survives challenge
KALAMAZOO -- Deb Buchholtz-Hiemstra narrowly survived a challenge from a fellow Republican Tuesday to retain her position as vice chairwoman of the Kalamazoo County Board of Commissioners.So much for loyalty.
Democrats, who hold a 9-8 board majority, had recruited newly elected Commissioner Ann Nieuwenhuis to replace Buchholtz-Hiemstra.
But their plan was foiled Tuesday when Democrats David Buskirk and Frank Thompson sided with Republicans to keep Buchholtz-Hiemstra.
Buskirk was unanimously chosen to be the board's chairman for a third straight year. This will also be Buchholtz-Hiemstra's third year as vice chairwoman.
The meeting, which grew heated in the debate over who would work alongside Buskirk, was the first session of the 2009-11 county board.
"I hope to be accepted by the board and not have this held against me,'' said Nieuwenhuis, of Comstock Township, afterward.
She said the Democrats recruited her to run for the position and that she didn't actively seek it.
Democrat Jack Urban, who nominated Nieuwenhuis, said he was dissatisfied because he thinks the board hasn't moved quickly enough to create a new dental clinic or public defender's office.Since when is dentistry a function of the county commission?
"It has proceeded entirely too slow in the minds of many of us,'' Urban said.
A public defender's office is just a way to make work for democrat trial lawyers, of course.