THREE OAKS — Four candidates are in the running for three four-year terms on the Three Oaks Village Council.
Incumbents Colleen Newquist and Becky Thomas face challengers Lois Jones and Jason Niemzyk. Richard Smith is unopposed in a reelection bid for a second term as village president.
From July 2014 until earlier this year, Jones served as the village treasurer. She said she believes the council relies too much on consultants, which has been a substantial cost to the village.
With her experience as the former treasurer, Jones said she is aware of the ins-and-outs of the daily operations, knows what questions to ask, and would have the ability to address issues and concerns.
"I always valued everyone’s suggestions and opinions shared with me as treasurer," she said. "The path ahead may not be easy, but I’ve never taken the easy way. I was passionate about my work when I was Treasurer and I am passionate about the Village. It is worth any and all efforts I can put forth; and I intend to put forth 110 percent.
Newquist has lived in the village for a decade and as a full-time resident since 2016. She has served on the DDA before being elected to the village council in 2018, and serving as the council liaison to the planning commission.
As a professional writer and communications consultant, she said she doesn't do anything halfway, and promises to continue studying the issues while giving them serious consideration. Newquist cited the need for fact-based discussions.
"While we often have different ideas of what is best for Three Oaks, we all want to see it continue to thrive, and I believe we can achieve that with open communication, consideration for one another, and compromise," she said.
Niemzyk said he would seek no immediate changes if elected, but would get himself acclamated with the nuances of position.”
He's worked as a local mechanical contractor for more than 15 years, and serves as the commander of the Randall Couchman Post 204 American Legion. If elected, Niemzyk said he would do his best to make decisions that will have the community’s best interest in mind.
"As a veteran, I served our country. As a local, I am ready to serve our community," he said. "The political sector is a new adventure for me. I believe being new will allow me to have a fresh set of eyes; to see things others may not. I won’t be afraid to ask questions or to make decisions."
Thomas, who moved to Three Oaks to manage the Acorn Theatre, is running for reelection as a village trustee.
If elected, Thomas said she would focus on the village's infrastructure and its parks. She touted her efforts that secured a 95 percent grant match to rebuild the bridge on Hickory.
"We’ve come a long way with our wastewater ponds and the village is ready to bring that saga to a close," she said. "I’ve set my sights on finding funding for repairing aged sidewalks throughout the village and collaborating with neighboring communities on affordable housing."