Write-in County Board candidate focused on economy, broadband

ONTONAGON — After many years away, Marlene Broemer returned to the Copper Country in 2016. Now she’s running as a write-in for the Ontonagon County Board representing District Five.

“I decided to move back here, and since I’ve been back, I’ve been trying to use my skills in whatever way I can,” Broemer said. “…It’s a very dear place to me and it’s great to be back.”

The District Five seat does not have a candidate on the ballot, with both Broemer and current commissioner Bryan Hamilton running as write-ins this November. The situation arose when Gray Webber resigned due to health issues. Hamilton was appointed, but the resignation came too late in the year for candidates to appear on the ballot.

With a background in business and education, Broemer also serves on the Brownfield Authority and the Ontonagon County Land Bank Authority.

“I wanted to know what’s going on here, and those are both countywide seats, so I’ve spent a couple of years learning what’s going on in the whole county,” Broemer said.

She decided to run following the request of a few residents. Since that decision, she’s been touring the district and meeting voters.

“District Five is kind of interesting because it has the western part of Ontonagon Township and then all of Carp Lake Township. So I kind of tried to meet with people from all those different areas.”

The key issue for many residents is the economy.

“They want, I think, a sustainable industry, something that’s going to stay and not leave us,” she said.

Outside of potential new developments, tourism is a stable industry for the area, with year-round visitors increasing in number.

Broemer, who teaches online classes for community colleges, also sees broadband and mobile access as an important issue.

“I think I have a lot to offer the county because of the experience that I’ve had in the past,” she said. “I have an academic background, but that means I’m a researcher, so if a problem is presented, I think I can look into it from a non-biased perspective and try to find that answers that are good for us in our county.

“These positions are not really partisan positions, and we’re all working for the same thing, which is improving life in Ontonagon county.”