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The money behind the candidates in Michigan – Part IV: Grand Rapids City Commission races

February 8, 2022

This is our fourth and final post looking at the most recent campaign finance information for this quarter. In Part I of this series, we look at the campaign contributions for the Governor’s race in Michigan, while Part II looked at the campaign funding for the West Michigan State Legislature races. In Part III, we uncover who the recipients were and how much money the DeVos family contributed in the most recent campaign finance deadline. In today’s post we take a look at campaign contributions going to candidates for Grand Rapids City Commissioner.

Now that the Grand Rapids City Commission seats are on the same year as the other elections, we’ll be able to see if those races get lost in all of the election chatter, or if they will have more people vote in those races that in previous years.

There are three seats on the Grand Rapids City Commission that will be up for grabs, with Senita Lenear being term limited and Kurt Reppart and Joe Jones running as incumbents. No other candidates have announced as of this writing, but that doesn’t mean that both incumbents haven’t been raising funds.

In the 1st Ward, Kurt Reppart will attempt to get re-elected for a second four year term.  You can find campaign finance statements for all of the local candidates for City and County races by going to the Kent County Clerk’s site and clicking on Campaign Finance Reports at this link.

For the most recent quarter, Kurt Reppart reports having raised $2,855 in the past two quarter filings. We are including the past two quarter filings, since we did not report on Grand Rapids City Commission candidate campaign finances during the October deadline. Some of the larger contributions are from:

Aaron Jonker – President of Wolverine Building Group: $500

Casey Kornoelje – Owner of Farmhouse Wellness: $500

John Glover – Executive Director of Wellhouse: $300

Ryan Schmidt – Partner Indigo Design & Development: $200

Joe Jones – 2nd Ward Commissioner: $250

Milinda Ysasi – 2nd Ward Commissioner: $100

Plus two $100 contributions from people living in Pennsylvania.

2nd Ward City Commissioner Joe Jones received fewer contributions, but all of them were in larger amounts, compared to Reppart. 

$1000 – Brian Britton, President and CEO, National Heritage Academies  and his wife Kalli Britton contributed an additional $1000

$1000 – Darryl Elmouchi, President at Spectrum Health West Michigan

$1000 – Rosalynn Bliss, Mayor of Grand Rapids

$1000 – Mark Murray, Vice Chairman of Meijer

$1000 – Mike VanGessel, CEO of Rockford Construction, plus $1000 from Gayle VanGessel

$1000 – Christina Freese Decker, President & CEO of Spectrum Health

$1000 – Michael Price

$1000 – David Cassard, Mercantile Bank

$1000 – David Quade, Regional President of Horizon Bank

$1000 – Daniel Bowen, Principal Owner of Dempsey Ventures, plus $1000 Sharon Bowen

$1000 – Michael Jandernoa, Chairman of 42 North Partners

It is instructive that Joe Jones received $14,000 in contributions from 14 different contributors. Some of the contributors are part of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, such as Jandernoa, VanGessel and Murray, while Brian Britton works for one of the organizations that make up part of the Grand Rapids Power Structure, the National Heritage Academies. 

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