CULVER — Two candidates are vying for a seat on the Marshall County Council - District 2: Democratic candidate Chris Kline and Republican candidate John Benedict.
Seeking his first term on the Marshall County Council, Benedict is currently on the Union Township Advisory Board.
This 1962 Culver High School graduate majored in economics in college, teaching government and economics at Plymouth High School. He is an Army veteran of the Viet Nam war and lives on the family farm just east of Lake Maxinkuckee. There, he helped raise three grown children. He attends Poplar Grove Church.
Benedict says, “Outside of five years just out of college, I am a lifelong resident of Marshall County. I have been fortunate enough to be able to represent my friends and neighbors in public service.”
Benedict notes that in these tough economic times, unemployment is still rather high in this area.
“Economic growth is too slow nationwide,” he said. “Spending nationally continues at runaway levels. Predictions for the future indicate rising interest rates and increased inflation.”
Local government, however, must still function in an effective manner, he said.
“My philosophy for local government is simple: Determine the institutions and activities that best serve the citizens of the county; of these, fund the necessities and prioritize the optionals; then be responsible to the taxpayers by always remembering it is their money that elected officials have been entrusted to take sparingly and spend wisely.”
Born and raised in a community where Kline’s roots go deep, this Culver Academies graduate, husband and father of four has been a member of the Culver Community School board since 2002 (and President from 2004 to 2006). Since 2004, Kline has been with JFNew, an ecological consulting and restoration firm where today he is Regional Director. He also has been a non-voting member since 2009 of the Culver Redevelopment Commission, as well as member in the Lake Maxinkuckee Environmental Council from 1998 through 2002 (he was Chair in 2000).
Kline said decreasing county revenues mean council members must learn to “do more with less. That’s one of the key attributes of a councilman, to know where your dollars are going and how they’re being spent. I think I have that background.”
“I’m experienced in writing federal grants,” Kline explains. “We all pay taxes to the federal government. Let’s bring more of that money in than we’re sending out.”
Though he says he feels Marshall County’s government operates well in general, and has good public servants and services, he suggests improvement could be made in the area of identifying a common mission and goal for the county, and making sure all its agencies are aligned with that mission.
“I have experience with that,” he adds. “I would try and put that in place.”