BENTON TOWNSHIP — A longtime Benton Harbor Area School board member has announced his bid for a seat on the Berrien County Board of Commissioners.

Joseph Taylor will run in the Third District, which encompasses Benton, Sodus and Hagar townships. Don Meeks currently is the Third District commissioner, but Taylor said Meeks will retire this year.

“I know how to lead. I know how to follow, but most importantly, I’m experienced, and you can’t beat experience,” Taylor said.

Taylor served for 10 years on the BHAS board, sometimes acting as president. Additionally, he volunteers with the BHAS Robotics Team, was on the Benton Harbor Sunrise Rotary Club and recently got approval to start a 4-H class on coding for Benton Harbor and Benton Township young people.

Taylor said he decided to run last fall, wanting to build on what he called the good work Meeks had done in the seat. He said he’s passionate about making the county the best place in Michigan to work and live.

“How do we move our county forward with great values we already have?” Taylor said.

Financial and environmental issues motivate his campaign, he said. He wants to make housing more affordable and create more opportunities for business owners.

Taylor highlighted the work he did to save BHAS and how it required him to work with state officials.

A master technician at KitchenAid, teaching young people technical and career skills is important to him. Taylor said it would be worthwhile for the county to put American Rescue Plan Act funding into building a countywide tech center for students, so all districts would have access to the job training.

“We could engage robotics, we could engage welding, automotive ... all kinds of programming,” Taylor said.

Taylor announced his candidacy at a Benton Township board meeting earlier this month.

Contact: jknot@TheHP.com, 932-0360, Twitter: @knotjuliana