Rolland Sizemore Jr., one of the longest-serving current members of the Washtenaw County board of commissioners, has announced that he’s not running for re-election in 2014. The Ypsilanti Township Democrat was elected to his first two-year term in November 2000 to represent District 5, for a term starting in January of 2001. The district covers southeast Washtenaw, including Augusta Township and much of Ypsilanti Township.
In an interview with The Chronicle on Feb. 26, Sizemore said he’d actually made the decision not to run again when he was elected in 2012. He said he’d wanted to continue to work on some projects during his current term, including the proposed recreation center for the eastern part of the county, to be located in Ypsilanti’s Water Street property. That project is being spearheaded by the Washtenaw County parks & recreation commission, on which Sizemore serves.
Sizemore also is the county board’s liaison to the Washtenaw County road commission and holds appointments to about a dozen other county boards, commissions and committees, including the community action board, the workforce development board, the Detroit Region Aerotropolis board, the River Raisin watershed council, and the county’s homeland security task force. He served as Washtenaw County board chair in 2009 and 2010.
During his tenure, Sizemore has been a vocal advocate for programs and services that support the county’s youth. He has worked with the Ypsilanti Regional Career Technical Center, which focuses on vocational training. Most recently, he’s been raising sponsorships – with companies like Farmer Underwood Trucking – for the center’s students to attend the upcoming AutoRama in Detroit. He also has prioritized projects related to jobs training, the county’s infrastructure, and affordable housing.
Sizemore said he intends to continue supporting programs for youth, and hopes to continue his service on the county’s parks & recreation commission. He also plans to pursue other projects, like his travel last November to Ecuador with a group that’s working to build clean water supplies for communities there.
Sizemore, 64, didn’t rule out seeking other elected office in the future, but not on the county board. Sizemore also said he doesn’t plan to support any candidates at this time for District 5. He said he does support the proposed 0.7 mill transit tax that will be put before voters on May 6. Ypsilanti Township became a member of the Ann Arbor Area Transportation Authority last year, joining the cities of Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor.
The only person who has publicly indicated an interest in the District 5 seat is Wilma Gold-Jones, a Democrat from Ypsilanti Township. She’s been attending board meetings for about a year, but hasn’t yet filed petitions for the August partisan primary. Gold-Jones serves on the board of Mentor2Youth, a nonprofit that provides programs for disadvantaged youth. She filed to create a campaign committee on Nov. 27, 2013.
The filing deadline for partisan candidates is April 22. For the office of county commissioner, candidates can file either
100 50 signatures from their district or pay a $100 fee to appear on the ballot.
The county board has nine seats. All commissioners serve two-year terms, and all seats are up for election in 2014. Commissioners elected in November will begin their new terms on Jan. 1, 2015.
As of Feb. 26, three candidates have filed petitions with the Washtenaw County clerk’s office to run for county commissioner in 2014, including two incumbents: Republican Dan Smith of District 2 and Democrat Kent Martinez-Kratz of District 1. Also running in District 1 is the third candidate to file – Republican Larry Murphy.
Sizemore and Ronnie Peterson (D-District 6) are the longest-serving current commissioners. Both were initially elected in November 2000, with their first terms beginning in January of 2001. Peterson’s district includes the city of Ypsilanti and small sections of Ypsilanti and Superior townships. Most other current commissioners were first elected in 2010 or 2012, with the exception of Conan Smith (D-District 9), who was elected to represent one of Ann Arbor’s districts in November 2004.
In addition to the three candidates who have formally filed, other candidates have indicated plans to run for county commissioner, including incumbents Democrats Andy LaBarre (D-District 7) and Yousef Rabhi (D-District 8), both of Ann Arbor. At the county board’s Jan. 22, 2014 meeting, Rabhi – the board’s current chair – restated his commitment to the county board, after considering but ultimately rejecting a bid for Ann Arbor mayor.