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Houghton County Leaves District Two Seat Open, for Now

The new Houghton County commissioner for District Two is – nobody.

At yesterday’s meeting, the four remaining commissioners decided to hold off on filling the seat left vacant by the recent death of Albert Koskela. 

State law requires that a replacement be appointed within 30 days, but, with a primary election ahead, commissioners decided to let voters weigh in. 

Four candidates are running in the Republican primary August 2nd. The Democratic primary is empty. Independents have until July 21st to file for a position on the November ballot.

Discussion centered around the possibility of appointing the Republican primary winner to fill the vacant seat at the board’s August meeting, which will take place a week after the primary.

Commissioner Glenn Anderson, who made the motion to table the decision, didn’t think District Two would be hurt by not being represented at the board’s next two sessions… [ANDERSON A].

I don’t see any big issues for which District Two would not be represented. As far as any of the bigger issues, I think we can wait until the August 9th meeting for any action items that are more significant that we would take.

The motion to table the appointment passed unanimously.

Board Chair Tom Tikkanen thought it was a fair solution…

I greatly appreciate the teamwork of this board, and I guess that’s also taking into consideration the very capable candidates that have submitted.

Schoolcraft Township Supervisor Joel Keranen disagreed…

I think it’s a disservice to former chairman Koskela. Any of these seven people whose names were on your stack of files there, I feel they would have been an asset to this board, even for that finite time.

Keranen is one of the four candidates in the August Republican primary. Lake Linden Village Council President Glenn Schuldt, Torch Lake Township Trustee Lou Ambuehl, and Richard Nye of Dollar Bay are also on the ballot. All four applied for the temporary assignment. Three others also submitted, including former Houghton County administrator Eric Forsberg; Kevin Kader, a former Lake Linden School Board member, Lake Linden Trustee, and a member of the Keweenaw Economic Development Alliance board; and Dr. Tim Sears, a former member of the county planning commission.

District Two includes Franklin, Osceola, Schoolcraft and Torch Lake townships.

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