M and Ms Head Kent Board

    GRAND RAPIDS — Kent County commissioners selected David Morren to lead them this year, as they named Morren to succeed Steven Heacock as board chairman last week.

    Morren, who was re-elected in November to represent residents in the newly drawn 10th District, served as vice chairman during Heacock’s three terms as chairman. Morren also chaired the county’s finance committee during his tenure as vice chairman and has spent eight years on the commission.

    “Kent County is a wonderful place. A great place of economic diversity, public-private partnerships and quality of life,” said Morren.

    Heacock, who represented the county’s 5th District before it was re-drawn following the release of the 2000 Census, decided not to run for re-election. But Heacock will continue to represent the county on the Convention and Arena Authority. Currently he serves as the chairman of the CAA Finance Committee. He also served two years as CAA chair.

    Commissioners also chose Roger Morgan as the board’s new vice chairman. Morgan won re-election in the 3rd District.

    “I’ve always considered it a real honor to sit on the commission and I consider serving as vice chair another honor,” said Morgan, who will chair the county’s Finance Committee.

    Morren said the John Ball Zoo, urban sprawl, the county’s possible relocation from Calder Plaza for a new hotel, and finishing up construction of the new convention center were some the top issues board members would face this year. Morren is expected to give his first State-of-the-County address in mid-February.

    Both Morren and Morgan are Republicans. Republicans have 16 members on the county board. The remaining three are Democrats.

    Commissioners sworn in for the first time last week were Gary Rolls (4th), Arthur Tanis (6th), and Dick Bulkowski (15th). Also sworn in were Harold Voorhees Sr. (9th) and Richard Vander Molen (13th). Voorhees and Vander Molen had previously served on the board but weren’t incumbents in the last election. Only Bulkowski is a Democrat.

    Returning to the board last week for another term were Ted Vonk (1st), Fritz Wahifield (2nd), Jack Horton (5th), Marvin Hiddema (7th), Jack Boelema (8th), Dean Agee (11th), Harold Mast (12th), Tom Postmus (14th), Paul Mayhue (16th), James Vaughn (17th), Dan Koorndyk (18th), and Kenneth Kuipers (19th). Mayhue and Vaughn are Democrats.

    Elaine Buege, Paul McGuire, Katherine Kuhn and Michael Sak did not seek re-election to their commission seats, in addition to Heacock. Sak, however, won the state House race in the 76th District.           

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