A group of local elected officials serving at the county and state level, as well as a candidate for the 51st District Court, are vowing to not put up campaign signs until a month before the Aug. 7 primary election.
State Rep. Gail Haines (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), who is spearheading the pledge initiative, said public displeasure over signage in Waterford Township led her to take the pledge.
“I have heard from countless community members and business owners about the barrage of yard signs so early in the campaign season and I wanted to address their concerns,” she said. “Many local ordinances previously prohibited putting up yard signs until one month prior to an election. Some ordinances allowed for even less time. Signs were then required to be removed within a week after the election date. We are making this voluntary pledge to respect the wishes of the local residents and honor the spirit of the previous ordinance.”
She said recent court rulings have allowed for campaign signs to be displayed at any time of the year, therefore overriding local rules regulating when candidates’ signs can go up before an election.
Others joining in on the pledge include state Sens. Mike Kowall (R-White Lake, Commerce, Milford, Highland, West Bloomfield, Orchard Lake, Wixom, Walled Lake and Wolverine Lake) and David Robertson (R-Waterford); state Rep. Eileen Kowall (R-White Lake, Highland); county Commissioners John Scott (R-Waterford, West Bloomfield), Jim Runestad (R-Waterford, White Lake), and Tom Middleton (R-Waterford); and Andrea Dean, who is running for the 51st District Court seat currently held by Judge Jodi Debbrecht, appointed to that position by former Gov. Jennifer Granholm.
“I understand that candidates use campaign signs for name recognition but one month before the election is more than adequate,” Rep. Kowall said. “Any longer than that and the signs become an eye-sore.”
“This is important to local residents,” Robertson said. “If a candidate wants to serve these communities, it should be important to the candidate, as well.”
All the officials currently signed onto the pledge except Runestad and Middleton have endorsed Dean in the race, according to Dean’s website, deanforjudge.com.
Debbrecht, whose campaign signage can be seen throughout Waterford months ahead of the Aug. 7 primary election, said her signs — some of which she said are disappearing — are up because of requests from area residents and business owners.
“I get calls every single day, or requests every single day for the big 2-by-8 signs and for lawn signs,” Debbrecht said. “I’m well in compliance with their ordinances. I obviously had checked those out early on. The attorney that drafted the ordinance is on my (campaign) committee.”
Any negative feedback she’s had about the signs has come from “only the individuals that one would expect to react negatively — people affiliated with my opponent or opponents, for that matter. I’m not going to feed that negativity. I’m going to run on my credentials,” Debbrecht said.
She added that she is grateful for the support she is receiving in the campaign.
“I really want to thank everyone for their support in everything I’m trying to do,” she said.