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3 of a kind: Three candidates vie for Republican nomination in Baraga County

Three candidates vie for Republican nomination in Baraga County

Joshua Vissers/Daily Mining Gazette The three candidates running for the Republican nomination in the Baraga County primary are (from left): Lyle Olsen, Burt Mason, and Cindy Larson. The seat was left open after current Commissioner Bill Menge chose not to seek reelection.

L’ANSE — Three primary candidates are ready and awaiting the results of Tuesday’s election in Baraga County. Burt Mason, Lyle Olsen and Cindy Larson are all running for the Republican nomination to the Baraga County Commissioner seat currently occupied by Bill Menge. Menge has decided not to run for reelection.

Larson, mother of six adult children and formerly of the Baraga County Equalization Department, is running on a platform of open communication and inter-deparmtental cooperation.

“People who live here love this county and they have good ideas,” Larson said in June. “I’d like to take them and find positive and fair solutions for the issues that need to be resolved.”

She would like to build diverse incomes not solely relating to tourism in the county, and build on children and youth programs.

“I believe in hard work, I believe that too much government isn’t good,” she said.

Olsen currently works with the L’Anse Department of Public Works and volunteers with local fire departments and event planning. He has background knowledge in construction that he thinks will serve him well working with the county.

“I’ve got good common sense when it comes to a lot of things and I can see both sides of an issue,” he said in June. “I want to see both sides of an issue before I make any decision.”

He would like to see greater economic opportunity in Baraga, better representation in Lansing, and more road funding.

“I would like to thank all the people that voted already and urge everyone to get out and vote on August 4,” Olsen said. “I am looking forward to the results and hopefully to serving the community and the county.”

Mason recently retired to Baraga County after an international career in business development. He said he’s been knocking on doors in the county, and that people have been saying they want things to change.

“I think I’m that change guy,” he said.

He wants to seek investment in Baraga County through opportunity zone fund managers, retain talent from nearby universities and build infrastructure to attract professionals who work from home.

“There’s no reason why we can’t provide the infrastructure for people to do that,” Mason said.

Mason said some people he’s talked to told him they’d prefer to vote for someone who has lived in the area longer than his roughly five years. Mason replies that he chose to live in this area, which he would like to see revitalized, and that in elections, a person’s skillset should be the determining factor.

“Especially if they want to see growth,” he said. “It doesn’t matter where you’re from.” 

The winner of this primary race will face Fran Whitman, who is running on the Democratic ticket, in November’s general election.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 4. If you don’t know where your local polling place is, call your county clerk.

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