Incumbent Delta Township Supervisor Ken Fletcher, a Democrat, is facing Democratic challenger Joshua Lyman for a four-year term. With no Republican challenger filed in the General Election in November, the winner in next month’s Primary Election takes the seat.
Ken Fletcher, 54, has been a Delta Township resident for more than 20 years and is seeking a fourth term as its supervisor. He’s a graduate of MSU’s James Madison College and has worked for various advocacy, union and nonprofit groups in the legislative and political arena for decades — including some lobbying type work for the American Lung Association and the AFL-CIO.
He previously served two terms on the Ionia City Council and is an appointed member of the Ingham County Parks Commission. He’s also a township-level representative on the Tri-County Regional Planning Commission and an active parishioner at St. Gerard Catholic Church.
“This is the community where my wife and I chose to raise our family, and we wanted to make sure it remained a good place to work, live and raise a family. That’s ultimately why I ran for office and why I continue to run for this office,” Fletcher said.
Fletcher named top priorities if elected to another term. The first: infrastructure improvements — including an efficient overhaul of the township’s wastewater treatment plant and an assessment of other aging township buildings, like the local Police Department offices and several others.
“Assuming we don’t end up in a long COVID-19 recession, now is the time to look at those things,” Fletcher said. “Infrastructure needs are a priority. We need a real plan of action.”
Fletcher’s other named priorities included streamlining and promoting economic development projects within the township and providing additional financial support to local businesses that have suffered — and continue to suffer — from the coronavirus pandemic in Greater Lansing.
“In the short term, I also think we need to have some serious discussions about the future of the Lansing Mall,” Fletcher added. “And honestly, I really don’t think it’s going to be around forever.”
Fletcher also mentioned a desire to diversify the Police and Fire departments. He also primarily touted his decades of experience as reasons for voters to elect him to another term — including enacting the township’s first ethics and revised purchasing policies to allow for competitive bids.
During his tenure, the township reportedly saw $800 million in commercial and industrial investment, and even more since hiring a staff member dedicated to economic development.
“I believe in collaboration, gathering those ideas and coming up with a consensus that’s right for our community,” Fletcher said. “Experience is my selling point. I’ve been involved in policy and government, brought a lot to the table and truly live to serve this community. With so much outside cash coming into this race, it makes you wonder what other promises are being made.”
Challenging Democrat Josh Lyman, 33, grew up in Greater Lansing, moved to Delta Township five years ago, and works as a policy adviser in the Michigan House of Representatives.
Lyman has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is working on his master’s in public administration but has never before held an elected office. He is a member of St. Gerard Catholic Church, the Knights of Columbus Council No. 788 and Kiwanis Club of Delta Township.
Lyman also enjoys spending his volunteer time coaching youth sports. His campaign has been endorsed by Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 333 and former State Rep. Scott Diandra.
The supervisor slot — though it has been held by Fletcher for 12 years — seemed like the best place to jump into politics, Lyman said. His top priorities if elected: Higher salaries for Delta Township firefighters, competitive bidding opportunities on local development projects, more support for senior citizens, a lean Parks Department and a rigid review of township spending.
“We have a billion dollars in development, but a lot of our local contractors aren’t able to bid on those jobs,” Lyman told City Pulse. “We need a responsible bidding ordinance to ensure they have the ability to work on those projects. They don’t want a preference. They just want a shot.”
In addition to providing more support for local companies and their respective unions, Lyman wants to redirect more money to a Fire Department he said is understaffed and underpaid. Existing local parks should also be updated before any new projects are started, he said.
“I believe in being directly involved with the people,” Lyman added. “We just don’t have a good connection at the township level. There are too many issues that have gone on uncovered and too much wasteful spending. Really, there are just too many issues to ignore at this point.”
Lyman lauded the township’s anti-discrimination policies but said more needs to be done to bring together underserved communities and local officials to drive necessary changes on topics like racial justice and social equity. Wasteful spending at the Police Department, in particular, may also need to be dealt with, but Lyman would rather look elsewhere to find those resources.
“For too long, we’ve had someone in this supervisor position just coasting along and doing what they wanted, and now we don’t have one, two or three issues. We have a plethora of them,” Lyman said. “I want people to know they’ll never get less than 100% from me, and this township doesn’t need anyone who gives anything less than that back to this township and its residents.”
Fletcher, who touted his excellent relations with local labor unions, suggested that he lost support from the pipefitters due to a “personal vendetta” tied to tax incentives at a local hotel. He also suggested that “dark money” was helping to float the ongoing campaign against him.
“I’ve always been somebody who stood up and put what is best for the residents and the township first,” Fletcher responded. “I have a proven record of doing what’s best for Delta.”