Meet Stephen Ranzini, Candidate for Washtenaw Co Commissioner

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By Doug Marrin, STN Reporter

Stephen Lange Ranzini is running for Washtenaw County Commissioner for the open seat in District Two. District Two is the northeast corner of Washtenaw County, including Webster Twp. Stephen lives in Ann Arbor Twp and has been a Washtenaw County resident for 28 years.

Mr. Ranzini reached out to the Sun Times News for an interview. We agreed and asked him our three standard questions for candidates.

Why are you running?

“I've been an activist behind the scenes for 28 years that I’ve lived in the county. I've been on 29 boards, committees, and commissions at every local, state, national, and even international level.”

As far as what prompted him to run for the county commissioner seat, Stephen explains it was hearing about serious problems at one of the area shelters for victims of domestic violence.

“I talked to four women who had been clients there but had been forced out onto the street. And the story they told me was really disturbing. They were being forced to eat moldy food. The air ducts in the facility hadn't been cleaned in years, and two of these women had children who had asthma, and the mold in the dust or causing triggering asthma attacks. As a result, one of their children had to be taken to the hospital on an emergency basis by ambulance and almost died.”

Stephen describes how in addition, the overall state of the living units bordered squalor while the adjacent administrative offices were kept pristine. The women complained to the administration without any response. They went to the press and were promptly evicted from the shelter.

“A month later, living out of their cars, they told me their stories. I talked to a number of officials, and a little bit of money came in, but nobody seemed to care enough to do anything about it. County Commissioner Sue Shink became very motivated to solve the problem. With her help, $75,000 was appropriated from emergency funds to get these women and their families out of their cars. An investigation was conducted with a scathing report condemning what was happening in the shelter. The executive director was immediately fired, and the county stepped in to restore it to inhabitable conditions.”

“It troubled me that it took three months to fix this problem. I felt that if I was a County Commissioner, maybe I could have helped get it done even faster. When Sue Shink’s seat opened up, I decided to run for it.”

What issues do you think are important?

“I’ve knocked on a lot of doors, and what I hear from the people in District Two are concerns about the conditions of the roads. The most recent statistic indicates that 30.8% of Washtenaw County Road Commission roads are in poor condition. I also hear about the high cost of living, high gas prices, inflation, and more taxes. I hear concerns about the delivery of social safety net services and racial justice. I think it is important for county government to deliver its services cost-effectively and efficiently with quality.”

Why should people vote for you?

“I bring a lot of knowledge and experience to the county board table deliberations. I already have established relationships with either some of the Commissioners or some of the people who are likely to win in this current election who've been on the County Commission previously.”

“We need people on the Commission with a good deal of knowledge and experience. We need people who understand what the county government needs to do and what the citizens want it to do. Commissioners that know how to effectively translate that into action. I believe I have that to give.”

Photo: Stephen Lange Ranzini. Photo by Doug Marrin.

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