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3 candidates running in Sidney Township recall; Winfield Township recall efforts pending 

The Sidney Township recall is one of three such wind-related efforts ongoing in Montcalm County, and a fourth recall effort is apparently forthcoming.

Credit:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 03, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc ~~

STANTON – Two candidates have filed to run against a Sidney Township Board trustee in May’s recall election.

Erik Benko and Scott Giddings both filed to run under “no party affiliation” by Monday afternoon’s deadline. Jed Welder, the incumbent trustee, will automatically appear on the May 3 ballot as the Republican candidate.

The Montcalm County Democratic Party was given the chance to nominate a Democrat candidate, but did not do so, according to the Montcalm County Clerk’s Office.

Sidney Township Planning Commission member Jeffrey Lodholtz filed recall petitions against Welder last year related to Welder’s vote on that township’s wind energy ordinance.

Benko and Giddings both filed to run in the May election against Welder.

Benko is the founder of Montcalm County Citizens United, a Facebook-based group that has more than 3,000 members and describes itself as “a grassroots coalition of citizens advocating against the irresponsible and invasive placement of industrial wind turbines and solar arrays in Montcalm County.”

“I’ve never been against safely sited renewable energy per se, but rather the corruption and conflict of interest among elected officials which industrial wind turbine developers sow in unsuspecting communities as a part of their business model,” Benko told the Daily News. “Elected officials are representatives of the voters who put them into office and should never use their position for personal or familial gain. As Sidney Township trustee, I will always be community first, and I will make certain the majority of Sidney residents have a voice and an advocate in me as township trustee.”

Giddings has been a Realtor since 2016 and opened a Five Star Real Estate office under his name in Stanton last autumn. Giddings previously told the Daily News he’s running for office to get more involved in his community – not specifically because of the ongoing wind energy ordinance debate.

Welder told the Daily News he wants to remain on the township board, citing his years of local experience. He also voiced concern about the many ongoing recall efforts throughout Montcalm County townships.

“I’ve lived here all my life,” Welder said. “As a landowner and parent, I want to keep Sidney a great place to raise a family. I have the experience as a veteran and a small business owner to be an effective board member. I work hard every day on our farm and I work just as hard at the township to make sure everyone’s voice is heard.

“These endless recalls by an anti-wind group that is being advised by lawyers and groups from out of state are troubling,” he added. “There are currently nine county and township elected officials being targeted by these groups. In our community we should welcome differences of opinion, but being recalled over a vote does not promote freedom of speech or good governance. I can’t say it any better than Judge Simon did: I don’t know how this works.”

Welder was referring to comments made by Montcalm County Probate Court Judge Charles Simon III in his capacity on the Montcalm County Election Commission. During a recall clarity hearing regarding the potential recall of Maple Valley Township Supervisor John Schwandt, the judge said, “The fact that you vote on a resolution one way or the other, to my way of thinking, shouldn’t be grounds for removal. If you’re subject to recall for any vote you make, and some member of the public – and they’re entitled to file the recall petition – just says ‘I don’t like your vote, I don’t like how you voted on this, I’m going to recall you,’ – I don’t know how any government at any level, whether it’s a city, a township, a village, a county, a state, can govern because any one person doesn’t like the vote of a particular township trustee or supervisor – I don’t know how that works. In my opinion, there should be a rationale given … so the voting public understands why he voted for that.”


The Sidney Township recall is one of three such wind-related efforts ongoing in Montcalm County, and a fourth recall effort is apparently forthcoming.

Montcalm County Clerk Kristen Millard told the Montcalm County Board of Commissioners during Monday’s meeting that earlier that same day, she and the two other members of the Montcalm County Election Commission denied recall language against four Douglass Township officials – Supervisor Terry Anderson, Clerk Ronda Snyder, Treasurer Amy Laper and Trustee Tom Jeppesen.

Ben Reynolds of Douglass Township is pursuing the recall of those four officials related to their votes involving the appointment of Paul Olson to that township’s Planning Commission.

“They came back downstairs and picked up more petitions so they’ll be filing again probably tomorrow,” Millard said of Reynolds and the Douglass Township recall effort. “As soon as they left, (someone else called about) Winfield Township … so we’re just in the recall business right now. They called to want to know the filing deadline to file petitions in Winfield Township. I know they’re going after three (Winfield Township officials), I just don’t know which three.”

The Montcalm County Election Commission on Feb. 3 approved recall language for signature-gathering against Schwandt. That recall language was submitted by Maple Valley Township resident Robin Poulsen. If enough signatures are gathered and approved, that recall would not appear on the ballot until November at the earliest.

Source:  By Elisabeth Waldon | Daily News | March 03, 2022 | www.thedailynews.cc

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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