Baraga residents have two choices for county clerk
In the upcoming general election, Baraga County residents will have the choice between two candidates for county clerk. Wendy Goodreau has been the clerk since the beginning of 2001, and is running on the Republican ticket, and Tammy Magaraggia is challenging her on the Democratic ticket.
Goodreau is now in her 19th year of working as the Baraga County clerk.
“I think my experience speaks for itself,” she said. “I’ve worked very, very hard.”
She said she looks forward to continuing in the role for another four years.
As the experienced candidate, Goodreau feels she’s the clerk ready to take on the new challenges of election processes.
“With ever changing election technology and processes it is critically important to have a county clerk, who serves as the chief election officer, with a deep well of experience and competence to ensure the election process is conducted seamlessly and with integrity,” Goodreau said.
While she is on the Republican ticket, Goodreau doesn’t see the clerks role as political.
“I really do reach out to both parties, and I think both parties in Baraga county could and would attest to that,” she said.
Because everyone needs to be served by her office, she feels it is important to keep politics out of her role.
Over the last several terms, Goodreau has implemented technology in the office to keep enhancing the efficiency of service, and intends to continue doing that. Because of restrictions surrounding COVID-19, she thinks it is likely more digital services will be coming to the clerk’s office soon.
“I’ve always said the county clerk’s office is here to serve the public and serve it well,” she said.
There are proponents of both industrial and tourism-focused futures for Baraga County, which have recently been at odds surrounding local issues like the proposed wind turbine project in L’Anse township which was canceled in 2019. Goodreau thinks making a choice between the two futures is unnecessary.
“I think it can be both, and I think it can be done well with the right planning and the right leadership,” she said.
She said falling revenues and rising costs were the biggest problem in Baraga County. With much of the property there qualified for tax exemptions and state revenue-sharing slowly shrinking, rising costs are tough to budget for. Goodreau expects the COVID-19 pandemic will only compound the issue.
There is also a lot of grant money on the table due to the pandemic, and Goodreau says experience in harnessing that money is vitally important to the success and recovery of the county. Goodreau has that experience, working on securing matching funds and grants for projects like the Pointe Abbaye park improvements, entering Phase II this fall.
“I love seeing people out there taking advantage of that property,” she said.
When she isn’t working, Goodreau likes to ride the ATV trails, hunt for waterfalls, and enjoy the outdoors any other way she can with her family.
“We really do love the natural resources that we have right here at our fingertips in Baraga County,” she said.
Goodreau is “at least” a third-generation Baraga County resident and has three adult children.
“Baraga county has been my home for most of my life, my family roots run deep,” she said.
Magaraggia, despite officially running as a Democrat, says she looks at candidates as individuals first, and would be willing to support a candidate of any party who shares her values.
“Personally, I see myself as a bridge between the gap,” she said in an email. “And I believe in helping people for the greater good and helping and advocating for those with little or no voice at all.”
A major goal of Magaraggia’s, if she is elected, is to work on increasing the local voter percentage, especially by reaching out to younger generations.
“I think that when you are younger, you feel intimidated when you don’t have all the information to form an opinion,” she said. “And you may feel ‘dumb’ by asking too many questions.”
Magaraggia grew up on the Huron Bay in Aura, a student of Arvon and L’Anse schools. She continued on to Northern Michigan University, where she earned an Associate’s degree in business. She then attended Madonna University and earned a Bachelor’s of Science in paralegal studies. She worked in the field for a law firm for about three years.
She is married to Peter Magaraggia, who is L’Anse Township Supervisor.
“We have four children and I was fortunate enough to have been a stay-at-home mom for about 16 years,” Tammy said.
She also worked as a substitute teacher. Her hobbies include fishing with her kids and painting.
“I love to do anything outside,” she said.