Clerk candidates address residents at forum

By DANIEL HERATY
Times-Herald Newspapers

HEIGHTS – The five candidates for city clerk spoke to residents about their plans for office during a forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Dearborn-Dearborn Heights July 13 at City Hall.

The candidates include current City Clerk Walter Prusiewicz and City Councilwoman Janet Badalow.

Also in the running are former city councilman and current state Rep. Bob Constan (D-Dearborn Heights); Michelle Doumont, who served in the U.S. Air Force for 10 years; and Deborah Ann Tutro, who worked with the Detroit Election Commission for 18 years.

During the hour-long assembly, the candidates agreed a major concern is the budget, and said there needs to be a way to save money and provide the same services, including continuing to post city documents online.

Doumont, said that tight finances are the reason she has only used word-of-mouth advertising for her campaign. She said one of her goals would be to improve voter turnout along new guidelines.

Candidates also agreed that getting more people out to vote is just as important. Prusiewicz said that starts with getting younger residents interested in what happens in city government.

“I was glad to see high school students come to the city council meetings because I asked them to,” he said.
Dumont said that she saw an example of low voter turnout at a previous election.

“When I was out driving during the election, one location had one voter,” she said. “That is not a good use of time and money.”

The candidates also addressed the issue of requiring voter identification for anyone who wants to vote. Constan supports the measure, saying picture identification would help prevent potential voter fraud, although he said it is not a pressing issue in the city.

Badalow said that while she agrees with using picture identification, she doesn’t want to limit voting requirements.

The candidates also had ideas on how to improve communications in the clerk’s office. Doumont said the key is respect and most people will calm down when treated kindly. Constan was more to the point, saying that there needs to be less bickering.

“That seems to have become the norm since I left council,” he said.

The Aug. 2 primary election will reduce the field to two. The winner of the general election Nov. 8 will finish the term of former Clerk Judy Dudzinski, who retired March 31. Her term expires in 2013.

(Daniel Heraty can be reached at dheraty@bewickpublications.com.)