There are two people running to become Antrim County Commissioner in District #1. The newly drawn District #1 includes Milton and Elk Rapids Townships.
Republican Caleb Pero is challenging Republican Bill Hefferan. Unfortunately, we do not have any answers from Hefferan. I sent him the questionnaire through the US Post Office since I was unable to find any campaign information about him. I also put a notice on the Citizens’ Facebook page, but still did not receive a response.
Below are the responses from Caleb Pero.
NOTE: I did not edit any of these responses for grammar, accuracy, etc. I cut and pasted exact words from the candidate responses.
1. Please tell us about yourself, i.e. your family, work experience, etc.
Caleb Pero: I have been married to my wife for 13 years and have 2 children (12 & 5). I am the son of missionaries and spent my teenage years in the Republic of Ireland in ministry. After returning to the US, I joined the MI Army National Guard and served for 6 years. I spent 1 year deployed to Afghanistan in support of Operation Enduring Freedom where I earned several awards and medals. I am currently a full-time excavator with Mel’s Excavating. I actively work with local youth as a Sunday School Teacher and Bus Driver for my church. I grew up on a cattle farm, and I love the outdoors. From hiking, to hunting and fishing, I enjoy it all. I also own and operate a small Video Inspection Business, In-Spect, LLC.
2. Are you an official member of either the Democrat or Republican party? If you are not a member, what made you choose to run as a Democrat or Republican?
Caleb Pero: I am an official member of the Republican party, but I am a Constitutional Conservative.
3. Do you agree with cutting county taxes? If so, should the Commissioners have an overall long-term financial plan, or should they take every opportunity possible to help taxpayers pay less? Please explain.
Caleb Pero: I believe that taxation in excess of that which is necessary to provide for the funding of our government’s services and responsibilities, and in excess of what is fiscally prudent to maintain a healthy safety net/”rainy-day” fund, is robbing our citizens of money that should be left in their hands to do as they see fit with. Our citizens are the drivers of our economy… the government is not. We need to plan in a way that is fiscally responsible and in a way that recognizes and reflects upon where our authority as the governing body comes from – the people.
4. What ideas do you have to keep the Administrative Staff accountable? There have been examples of negligence that have cost the taxpayers, such as the housing department fiasco five years ago, and the bank building having no plan for maintenance. Please explain.
Caleb Pero: I cannot speak to the fiasco nor the bank building, but would be happy to be educated on what happened so as to be knowledgeable about those situations. However I can speak to accountability…we were given a political system that was built with checks and balances in place to prevent things such as abuse of power, negligence, and dereliction of duty. At the county level we need to make sure we have in place functional checks and balances that act as both a safety net and a deterrent for the aforementioned issues.
5. Have you experienced any issues or heard any citizen concerns with the county building department? If so, do you have any ideas to address those concerns?
Caleb Pero: I have heard a little from people on both sides of the aisle, but have not experienced any issues personally. I would be open to hearing common sense solutions from my constituents regarding any of their specific concerns.
6. Do you think the County Commissioners should spend time and vote on political resolutions that are not related to county business? Please explain.
Caleb Pero: 9 times out of 10, no; I don’t believe it is appropriate. We are not elected for the purposes of wasting our taxpayers money and spending time on matters that are not our responsibility and that are not within our powers to effect. Wasting the people’s time is really stealing from them, as we are paid by the citizens of the county to do our job, not to write and vote upon personal opinions.
7. Do you believe that the citizens should be able to vote on a building project? Should the project be funded with fund balance, a millage vote, or bonding our children’s future? Please explain.
Caleb Pero: All major building projects should be put to a public vote. If a fiscally responsible manner of funding cannot be agreed upon, the building project should not go forward.
8. Should the county build a new jail? If so, should it be big enough to take in prisoners from other counties? Please explain.
Caleb Pero: I am aware of the jail situation, and I think there is an opportunity to work with neighboring counties and the State to come up with a common sense, fiscally responsible solution to our county jail situation.
9. Do you support the Stepping Up Program to reduce jail population? Do you feel that the Sheriff should make this one of his priorities? Please explain.
Caleb Pero: I support the program and it should be something the Sheriff prioritizes.
10. The board also approved a work at home plan during the pandemic. Do you have creative ideas to offer more online services for the county residents? How do you think this would impact the need for new county buildings?
Caleb Pero: In today’s day and age, I see no reason why necessary government functions that require people to come into a government facility cannot be streamlined and given the option to be done online. I realize there will always be the need for in-person services at some level, but technology is available to us today that would significantly reduce the space and resources currently needed for government operations.
11. The county recently had a consultant report that the primary space needs in the county were for storage. Do you have any ideas to address that? Please consider building inexpensive storage units versus building all new expensive buildings just because we need storage
Caleb Pero: I want to ensure our taxpayers receive the best ‘bang for their buck’ so to speak. If we can appropriately solve an issue while spending less and providing the same services as if we had spent more, we should be doing it for less. If storage is needed and there is a cost effective solution, that is the first option that should be explored.
12. Do you have anything else to say about why people should vote for you?
Caleb Pero: From growing up on a cattle farm, to serving in the military, to being a father of a family and a Sunday-school teacher of youth, I have been blessed with a broad foundation for service on the Antrim County Board of Commissioners. I am asking for your vote in the August 2nd election so that, together, we can create an even better future for our current families, as well as for generations to come.
13. Do you support Randy Bishop’s lawsuit against the county? Are you connected with Randy in any way?
Caleb Pero: Since beginning my campaign I have met with many people, including people I do not necessarily see eye-to-eye with. Mr. Bishop falls into that category. He and I are not connected past having met with him early on in my campaign.
I do support the integrity of our elections, but I do not support Mr. Bishop’s wreckless, and frivolous lawsuit.
To see the responses from candidates in all districts, see:
2022 Elections: Antrim County Commissioner Candidates Respond to Citizen Questions – Northwest Michigan Libertarians