Pair of Republicans on Aug. primary ballot


LAPEER COUNTY — A pair of familiar names will be vying for a six-year seat on the Lapeer County Road Commission in the Tues., Aug. 2 primary election.

Current Road Commissioner Les Nichols is being challenged by fellow Republican John Howell, Arcadia Township supervisor.

Les Nichols is a 1970 graduate of Lapeer High School who worked on a farm until the late 1980s, when he started his own trucking and excavating business.

Nichols said his experience and knowledge set him apart from others, including his challenger in the upcoming election.

“I’ve been working on farms and roads since I was 14 years old,” Nichols said. “I’ve been doing this for more than 30 years, and I’ve encountered every possible challenge involved in building, repairing and maintaining roads in Lapeer County.

“I’m also very familiar with the best materials, products and equipment needed to do the job and how and where to get the best-possible price.”

Nichols said rising fuel prices and economic uncertainty are pressing challenges.

“The fuel crunch is being felt by everyone,” he said. “No one knows for sure what the future holds, or how long this is going to last.

“It’s a real challenge that can’t be fixed overnight,” Nichols said. “We’re going to have to make adjustments and reduce costs without sacrificing the public safety.”

John Howell believes that current economic woes require a systematic approach to repairing roads, while keeping as much money in Lapeer County as possible.

“We need a more independent board where the interests of local people come first,” Howell said. “There needs to be much more openness and transparency on the road commission. Lapeer County taxpayers deserve maintained roads while supporting our local businesses.

“There needs to be open discussion and informed decision-making to result in improved financial strength, quality of service and ethical choices.”

Given inflationary concerns and rising costs, Howell said he understands the challenges that lay ahead.

“We will have multiple issues with funding in the near future,” said Howell. “The road commission has to continue applying for state and federal grants to offset the costs to our residents.

Howell alluded to utilizing competitive bidding and various local options to pay for needed equipment, parts and fuel.

“Buying a $180,000 tractor from a dealer on the other side of Michigan makes no sense,” said Howell. “It is issues like this that make me want to run for this position.”

Howell noted that during his years with Arcadia Township, he has overseen various road improvements in concert with the township park expansion and completion of an addition at the township hall.

“My experience with budgets, road projects, and dealing with resident concerns will help me to move the road commission forward and improve services,” said Howell. “If the people see fit to elect me, I am ready to go to work.”

Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.