Farmington Voice sent questionnaires to candidates running on November 3 for Oakland County commission seats representing Farmington and Farmington Hills. Responses are published in the order they were received. Read all of our election coverage here: farmingtonvoice.com/f2h-votes-2020/.
Marcia Gershenson (District 13 – northwest Farmington Hills)
I was born in Detroit and graduated from University of Michigan with a teaching credential. I have been a substitute teacher in many subjects and grades, including special education. I am a community activist, have worked with many non-profits and am a co-founder of Gildas Club/Metro Detroit. I have lived in Oakland County for 40 years. I am married and have one son and daughter-in-law.
What is the greatest strength you would bring to the table as a county commissioner?
During these unprecedented times, experience does matter. I have worked hard to understand the needs of residents and am very active and accessible in the communities I represent. I have used my experience to dispense the financial assistance available to residents and businesses during this Pandemic. I have a proven record of reaching across the aisle to work on many projects such as gun safety, advancing women’s and family issues and local road funding and animal welfare.
COVID-19 is likely to affect the county’s budget over the next few years. What are your priorities as commissioners look at spending and/or budget cuts?
I recently heard our Economic Forecast and the projections were reassuring and positive. Because of our County’s strong fundamentals we are positioned well for an economic recovery. Of course, our Economic recovery is dependent on how well we are able to control Covid numbers. We are anticipating some revenue losses and have implemented a hiring freeze and other measures to adjust revenues shortfalls. We currently have a 3 year rolling budget that addresses our anticipated lost revenues. We are looking to diversify our economy, strengthen our workforce and manufacturing base. Oakland 80 is an initiative to expand our skilled work force. We are offering many new manufacturing trainings for workers looking to start new careers or retrain. Some local companies have reported difficulty finding trained workers and by offering training, we can fill those gaps.
What do you see as the top three issues facing county officials, and how would you address them?
Keeping our residents safe and reducing our COVID numbers is our number one priority. To address this we have started a large expansion of our public health department. I am committed to move beyond the traditional clinical approach and integrate new services that will include adding family medicine, mental health and dental services.
I have also worked on keeping our drinking and recreational waters clean. I supported replacing school drinking fountains in our schools with filtered bottle water refilling stations. And I am committed to replace aging lead service lines.
Our senior population is growing in Oakland County. It is imperative we fund the necessary resources to support seniors to lead independent and productive lives. I am committed to expand the services necessary for seniors.