Meet the candidate for County Commissioner 6th district: Steve Swaney
Editor's note: This article is not an endorsement.
Advocating for adjustment of the underpaid departments and fair wages for the county commission employees: Steve Swaney runs for his third re-election as a county commissioner. This time with no opponents.
Swaney runs for Isabella County's district six. District six includes a portion of Mount Pleasant and a fraction of Union Township.
Swaney served two terms since 2018 as a county commissioner.
“Having been a county commissioner for four years gives me that institution knowledge, how it functions and how I can support and influence projects that go through,” Swaney said.
Swaney has lived in Mount Pleasant since 2014 when he moved here from Ann Arbor. Swaney is a graduate of the Western Michigan University with a degree in biochemistry. Amy Swaney, his wife, teaches management accounting at Central Michigan University.
Swaney did research for Pfizer for 14 years. He worked at University of Michigan for eight years where he also helped professors with their research. Now Swaney works at Four Leaf Brewing in Clare.
As a county commissioner, Swaney said, his responsibilities were overseeing how county money is spent, bringing services and making sure finances are spent wisely. One of his main focuses were underpaid departments.
Swaney said he worked on approving and adjusting wages, for example, for the sheriff department.
Swaney was also on an Isabella County Human Rights Committee. His role there was to connect the committee and county as well as give committee support and guidelines. However, Swaney said, mainly he wanted volunteers at the board of the committee to maintain independence from the commission.
The project Swaney is working on now is a new building for a correction facility. The one in Mount Pleasant is very old Swaney said. It was built in 1950s. County commission approved a contract with a construction agency to start working on a new building.
Swaney said the county commission has just initiated a Materials Recovery Facilities (MRF) project. For the years MRF operated in Mount Pleasant, ways of recycling changed with new technologies. City commission hired a company to start a study on how MRF in the county could be improved. Following the study, commission will work on an upgrade Swaney said.
When elected, Swaney said he would continue working on previously listed projects.
Another important aspect that he said will have his attention is fair wages for the county employees.
“When people talk about wage freezes, they don’t understand how it affects our county
"Supporting county employees is supporting the county," Swaney said.
Swaney said his role there is “stirring commission away from looking at the county as a business and understand that we need to keep our employees happy.”
Swaney said he gives a good balance for a lot of county commissioners. He said that government is not a business, it is serving.
“I am there as I see it to protect the service and also protect our employees from a cut or wage drop,” Swaney said.
“This is the first year I don’t have opponents,” Swaney said. His two previous elections he had people running against him.
Swaney said he spent very little money from his pocket on the campaign this year because of that reason. He said he used yard signs from the last year, because he said he thought it would be more appropriate and effective if people donate to other campaigns.
Swaney expects to win these elections.
“I feel that I am the best fit because my desire for the people’s side of the county commission,” Swaney said.