Economy is Menge’s primary issue for term No. 5

“This would be my fifth run,” Baraga County Commissioner William “Bill” Menge said.

Menge is running in the Nov. 6 election unopposed for the Fourth District in Baraga County, representing Arvon Township and parts of L’Anse Township.

“We need economic growth in Baraga County,” he said.

He has learned that reaching out to businesses in person works better than an email or phone call. He has worked person-to-person to get businesses like Burger King and Family Dollar to move into the area.

Menge said he hopes to grow economic opportunity, so that young people don’t have to move away to find work.

Despite the challenges, he said he’s enjoyed being a county commissioner.

“You never have enough money to go around,” he said of the biggest challenge.

Menge is also on the board for the Upper Peninsula Commission for Area Progress and their U.P. Energy Board and brand-new U.P. Legislative Consortium, a group of 15 county commissioners from the Upper Peninsula working to influence state-level legislation.

He serves on the BHK Child Development Board, Baraga County Economic Development Board, Rural Conservation District Board, Northwoods Rail Board and 911 Board.

He is the county board liaison to the Department of Human and Health Services and the alternate for the Prison Advisory Board and the Michigan Works Board.

He said he is also particularly proud of his work on the Escanaba State Fair Board.

Menge has lived in Baraga County his entire life. For most of it he worked at gas stations in L’Anse.

“One summer I worked in a sawmill when I was in high school, and I learned there are better places to work,” he said.

He eventually retired from the gas stations, which were sold on the last day of 1999.

He and his wife were married 57 years ago, and they have four kids and seven grandchildren spread across Michigan and Ohio.