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Letter: Jurgens impresses, Slaten disappoints

To the editor,

Tony Jurgens and Don Slaten are running against each other for the Representative 54B seat recently vacated from a retiring Dennis McNamara. I have had the opportunity to experience each of these individuals and ask you to support Tony in his bid.

I first came to know Tony while flipping pancakes with him at Hastings Knights of Columbus breakfasts. Normal small talk about our careers caused me to gain respect for him as when we started discussing whom I had my insurance with, Tony only had good things to say about my agent and he just encouraged me to keep him in mind if I ever needed anything. Years later, I did contact him and he was extremely professional in taking over my account and got right to work offering suggestions for my consideration to improve my policies. This summer Tony reinforced my opinion of him when he agreed to take the position of Grand Knight for our Council even though he had found himself quite unexpectedly running for political office. Even though he has been involved with this election, he has still taken the time to be available for various requests and bring his own ideas.

Don Slaten was on the Hastings Planning Commission when I went before it requesting a variance to do work on my home. Though my proposal would have brought my garage into compliance with one setback and increase another from what is the current situation, I was turned down as staff had an unrealistic option and the commission just went along with it even when presented with a petition from the neighborhood in support of the variance.

Some would say that this letter is just sour grapes towards Mr. Slaten. However, to strengthen my case, last summer, I happened to have Don stop by when he was out starting his campaign against Mr. McNamara. I reminded him of my situation and the role he had played. Don could hardly remember it, even though the request had been before the commission for two meetings with significant discussion. I expressed my frustration with his lack of recall. My feeling is that when individuals are part of these commissions and start to turn down requests, they need to remember them and realize that they affect lives and have consequences to the homeowner. I also told Mr. Slaten that politicians like to tell you that they care about the people and yet no one came to me afterwards to help find a resolution. When I turned around to look at him again, he was two doors away, he had just walked away with no comment. I guess Don Slaten did not want my vote. I need someone with the conviction to hold his own in a tough discussion.

With Denny McNamara’s endorsement for Tony Jurgens and my experience with his integrity, ethics of hard work and dedication, I have no hesitation in casting my vote for State Representative District 54B to Tony Jurgens.

I ask you to join me.