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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Kent County Commission 7th District

The chief legislative and policy-making body of Kent County Government is the 19-member Board of Commissioners.Commissioners are elected to 2-year terms from districts that are roughly equal in population. A chair and vice-chair are elected at the first meeting of each new year by the Commissioners. The chair appoints each Commissioner to one of two standing committees: the Finance and Physical Resources Committee or the Legislative and Human Resources Committee.

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  • Candidate picture

    Jane Newton
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    Stan Ponstein
    (Rep)

Biographical Information

Why are you running for office?

What is the greatest challenge facing the office you seek? How will you address it?

What strategies would you use to remain responsive and accountable to the public between elections?

Age 32
Occupation / Current Position Digital Asset and Compliance Manager
Education BA, Public Relations, GVSU MS, Communications, GVSU
Experience & Qualifications I’ve lived in Grandville with my husband, Michael, and our rescue dog, Porter, for nearly a decade. I serve as the Vice Chair of the Grandville Environmental Sustainability Committee. I have more than a decade of experience as a marketing professional. I spent a year as a Rotary Youth Exchange Student in Mexico, which had a profound impact on my life. I also received the Girl Scout Gold Award.
Campaign Phone (616) 287-0063
Campaign Email votejanenewton@gmail.com
I am running for Kent County Commission because people in our community are ready for real change. We want to protect our air, water, and land; prioritize public health; create an economy that uplifts everyone; and build and enhance accessible county parks. I’ve learned that we can solve problems when our community comes together. When the health of the Grand River was threatened by developers most interested in their power boats, I sprung to action and joined with others to protect our scenic waterway. As a community, we successfully stopped the dredging project to protect wildlife and extend the recovery of the river after decades of neglect. Thankfully, the Grand remains a river for regular people. Then, I helped found the Grandville Sustainability Committee to care for our natural resources and promote sustainable living locally. I’ll be a new leader to bring people together and create positive, sustainable, and equitable change.
2020 has shown us we can't solve new problems with old tools. It’s time to find creative solutions that improve our quality of life in Grandville and Wyoming. We should increase funding for parks; make sure our health department is ready to respond to COVID peaks with a test, trace, and isolate strategy to protect our community; invest in early childhood development so our kids are kindergarten-ready; support vital programs for honored veterans and vulnerable seniors; and end subsidies for township sheriff patrols we don’t use. We can improve our environment with community solar projects, expanded curbside recycling, and building a new sustainable business park to reduce waste going directly to our landfill. We can make life better for people of differing abilities by ensuring government services and properties are accessible to everyone. As a dog lover, I have a passion to work with the animal shelter, encourage responsible pet ownership, and support humane animal policies.
The people of Wyoming and Grandville deserve an open and transparent public servant who genuinely listens. As your County Commissioner, I will maintain an active Facebook page with updates on important county issues, host regular in-person or online coffee hour meetings, readily respond to emails and phone calls from residents who contact me with ideas and concerns, and remain deeply engaged in the community. In conclusion, I’m ready to work for the people of Grandville and Wyoming to bring our community together to create a healthier county, protect our environment, grow our park system, and ensure we get a fair return on our tax-dollar investment.
Age 59
Occupation / Current Position Costco Wholesale - Member Service
Education Grandville Public Schools, Aquinas College - BA Political Science, GRCC - AA - Culinary Arts
Experience & Qualifications Grandville Board of Education - 1980-2001, Grandville City Council - 2001-2008, Kent County Commission - 2009-present, Michigan Assoc. of Counties - Board of Directors and 2nd Vice President, Kent County Pension Board - Trustee, Network 180 Board of Directors 2009-15, 2020- present, Grandville Zoning Board of Appeals - Current, Grandville Parks and Recreation Board 1980-1997,
Campaign Phone (616) 726-2331
Campaign Email sjponstein@gmail.com
I am running for re-election to the County Commission so I can continue to advocate and serve the residents of the 7th District. The 7th District of Kent County is one of the most diverse districts and I work to serve everyone, especially those who can not advocate for themselves and those who are the most vulnerable. The County plays a vital role in providing services to them and I learned at a young age, you can live in your Community or you can be part of the Community. I take great pride in the work I have done for the communities that I have had the honor to serve as an elected official. I will continue to do that.
For local governmental officials, one thing that is always near or at the top of the list, is Budgetary issues. During my tenure on the Commission we have maintained our current Mileage rate, our AAA Bond rating and passed Balanced Budgets each year I have served. With challenges in revenue, we have to strive to maintain high quality levels of service and results for the Communities. We must always look at our services and ask, "How can we deliver these services better and more effective?" The people who live in Kent County not only deserve that, they rely on it.
In my tenure as an elected official it has never changed, I have not forgotten this one simple thing, I WORK FOR YOU! I am always available to meet or answer any e-mail or call from anyone that I represent. We will always have better results if with seek out diverse viewpoints and collaboration and are better when we work together. The philosophy of "one size fits all" normally leaves out the most vulnerable and the residents who need the services of the County the most. Collaborations insure high quality results.

Engagement with our residents is critical. The County is always updating the way we communicate with the public and our Commission meetings are recorded and posted on our website, accesskent.com for public viewing. We have streamlined many of are services so residents can now get information on-line or in person.