29 Apr County House candidate has late competition
By Amy Hubbell
Of The Enterprise staff
Leelanau County’s only homegrown candidate for the state House of Representatives is being challenged for her party’s nomination.
Democrat Kathy Wiejaczka of Empire will face Benzie County resident Ed Hoogterp in the August Primary election.
“I announced my candidacy in January and have been working very hard every day,” said Wiejaczka, who was not opposed for the Democratic nomination for the 101st House seat until Tuesday when Hoogterp filed paperwork to run.“I’m a tough competitor and will continue to work toward my goal of putting the people of the 101st first.”
Hoogterp, Benzie County drain commissioner and past president of the Crystal Lake & Watershed Association, is seeking the Democratic nomination to face Republican candidate Jack O’Malley in the November general election.
“I’m doing this because I want the state of Michigan to start passing laws that protect the environment and that helps people lead decent lives,” Hoogterp said.
Hoogterp is an environmental consultant and former journalist who worked on watershed plans for the Betsie and Little Manistee rivers.
He was editor of the Manistee News Advocate from 1975-78 and, for 26 years, was a writer and editor in Grand Rapids, Jackson and Lansing for the Booth Newspaper group, now MLIVE.com.
Wiejaczka’s priorities are health care and education.
She worked for years as a pediatric/ OB-GYM nurse, hospital nursing manager and as a nurse for the Traverse Bay Area Intermediate School District’s “new campus” for students with emotional impairment or behavioral concerns who require a more controlled, structured environment.
She is an online instructor in nursing at Ferris State University.
Wiejaczka is a 36-year resident of Empire where she lives with her husband, Kent.
Hoogterp lives just outside the village of Beulah with his wife, Millie.
The winner of the August primary will face northern Michigan radio personality Jack O’Malley, who is running unopposed as a Republican.
The state House seat represents Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties.
Curt Vanderwall, who current holds the seat, is a candidate for the 35th Senate seat which is held by veteran legislator Darwin Booher, who is term-limited.
A Republican from Ludington, Vanderwall is facing former state representative Ray Franz and two-term state Rep. Bruce Rendon of Lake City.