Rochester Election Guide: It's Not Too Early To Get You Ready to Vote

Here are the candidates, incumbents and issues that will be affecting Rochester, Rochester Hills and Oakland County.

As we look ahead to August's primary and November's general elections, Rochester Patch is committed to bringing you the information you need about every race in town. 

Here's a look at the candidates and issues we'll be covering as the election days near.

As we gear up our election coverage, we're wondering: Which races are most important to you?


Because of Congressional redistricting after the 2010 Census, our Congressman, Democrat Gary Peters, will not be able to run again in the 9th District. In fact, Rochester and Rochester Hills are now broken into two Congressional districts.

  • District 8: Mike Rogers, a Republican from Brighton, will seek another term in the Congressional district that now stretches from Lansing to Rochester and Rochester Hills. Republicans Brian Hetrick of Brighton and Vernon Molnar of Holly will try to unseat him. Democrat Lance Enderle of Lansing is also a candidate.
  • District 11: This district covers the southwest corner of Rochester Hills. Kerry Bentivolio of Milford is the Republican candidate. Democrats William Roberts of Redford and Syed Taj of Canton will face each other in the primary. 

State leadership

  • District 45: Incumbent Tom McMillin of Rochester Hills is the only Republican candidate for the post. Democrats Ted Golden, Joanna VanRaaphorst and Douglas Wilson are also candidates for the position, which represents Rochester and Rochester Hills. See  for a closer look at those two candidates. Stay tuned to Rochester Patch for continuous coverage as the election approaches. 

County leadership

  • Oakland County Executive: L. Brooks Patterson will seek another term (See ). He will be challenged by Republican E. Wadsworth Sherrod III in the primary. is the Democratic candidate. 
  • Oakland County Sheriff: Mike Bouchard will seek another term. He will be challenged by Republican James Stevens of Rochester Hills in the primary. Jane Felice Boudreau is the Democratic candidate.
  • Oakland County Prosecutor: Mike Bishop, the Republican former Senate Majority Leader from Rochester, will challenge Democratic incumbent Jessica Cooper. 
  • Oakland County Clerk: Democrat Lisa Brown of West Bloomfield will challenge Bill Bullard, the Republican incumbent.
  • Oakland County Treasurer: Republican Marty Knollenberg will challenge Democrat Andy Meisner.
  • Oakland County Water Resources Commissioner: Republican John McCulloch will seek another term. Democrats Mark Danowski and Jim Nash will face off in the primary.

County commissioners

Because of redistricting, Rochester and Rochester Hills now fall into two different County Commission districts. 

  • District 11: This district covers the western half of Rochester Hills and Troy. Incumbent Robert Gosselin, a Republican from Troy, will face Democrat Louise Schilling of Troy.
  • District 15: This district covers all of Rochester and the eastern half of Rochester Hills. Republican Jeff Matis of Rochester, an incumbent, is the only candidate running for this position.

Ballot questions

  • Police funding: Voters in Rochester Hills will be asked to renew funding for police services. The ballot question specifically asks about a 1.2083 renewal and 2.5 additional mills for police services from the general fund. See .
  • County questions: Voters will be asked to support .2 mills for the Oakland County Art Institute Authority and to renew .59 mills for the Oakland County Transportation Millage. 

The president

We'll cover the presidential race when it makes sense, locally, to do so. We'll update this page with coverage as we go.

james.stevensforsheriff June 15, 2012 at 12:19 PM
Lets make our cities a safer place to live, i plan to do that. 7 days a week
james.stevensforsheriff June 15, 2012 at 12:21 PM
Also i stand for lower taxes. lets spend within our means.. james stevens for sheriff
Kristin Bull (Editor) June 15, 2012 at 12:49 PM
Hi, James. I think our readers would love to hear how you plan to do that ... can you share a few ideas?
Randy Buckman June 15, 2012 at 01:52 PM
I agree with Kristin. Generic political statements are very old to voters on all sides. Just to clarify, spending within our means does not mean lower taxes, it means the same taxes.
james.stevensforsheriff June 15, 2012 at 03:15 PM
Well as you know the county spends a lot of money on fuel and other items. When you save money on wasteful spending and jail cost results in lower taxes. I plan to run a Boot Camp to eliminate added jail cost with my own personal funds and private funding at no cost to the tax payer, so a savings is a tax cut for all.
dk June 15, 2012 at 08:47 PM
OMG - will somebody please put a stake in Bishop. For a man who hates government, he sure can't tear himself away from it. Guess government is only bad when it benefits others.
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 12:15 AM
Fiscal Responsibility, Rochester Hills Hats off to all those who worked on the police millage proposal: Don Cline, Dale Hetrick, Walter Johnson, Linda Raschke, LeAnne Rogers, Nancy Soisson and Thomas Stephens. (hundreds of hours of work NO compensation from the city) Because of the current economic condition the nation is currently in, a straight up renewal will be the only millage the residents of Rochester Hills will support. Do the math 1.2083 mills renewal, plus and up to 2.5 additional mills, for 10 years. Total 3.7083 mills, or if you own a $200,000 house that's up to $370.00, or if you own a business like Bill Fox Chevrolet its $5,532.00 just for police per year. Who's chain are we pulling here... do you really think Mayor Bryan Barnett or City Council going to ask Bill Fox for that kind of tax increase?
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 12:18 AM
Pouring Gasoline On The Fire, Rochester Hills Monday June 18th our RH City Council is going to vote on this idea: "Resolved that the Rochester Hills City Council hereby approves funding for an Educational Campaign in the amount not-to-exceed $25,000.00 to educate voters on the details of the police funding ballot proposal that will appear on the August 7, 2012 Primary Election ballot." Now according to state law the City can't say YES or NO... so I guess 1/2 the money spent on an education will be for a NO vote and 1/2 will be for a YES vote... Is this a good idea? Note: what will be fun to watch for is what friend of the Mayor will get the $25 grand... LOL
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 12:19 AM
Are They Really Worth It?... Rochester Hills Monday June 18th our RH City Council is going to vote on this idea: "Resolved that Council compensation in 2013 shall remain at the current rate of $7,850.48 for Council President, $6,577.43 for Council Members." I thought this town would make a good comparison... The City of Northville MI; Northville City Charter sets the pay for Council members at $500 per year. Or I thought also this town would make a good comparison... The City of Troy MI; $2,100 per year or $175 per month does not matter how many meetings the Troy City Council has... (they meet two or three times per month) RH City Council is down to about one meeting per month and with a few "workshops" about 15 meetings per year... or put it this way President Hopper makes about $500 per meeting not per year if he lived in Northville MI.
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Ribbon Cutting Gets More Expensive, Rochester Hills Monday June 18th our RH City Council is going to vote on this idea: "Resolved, the amount of 1% shall be added to Mayor’s salary for 2013, bringing the Mayor’s total base salary to $105,148.00." Base salary $105,148.00 is exactly that base salary we the taxpayers pay all the Mayor's benefits on top of that base salary, health care etc., also this also does not include our Mayor's car/gas allowance $600 per month last I checked, and a personal credit card to use to take friends to lunch... sorry forgot the word business lunch. Peace of ancient history heard a rumor Mayor Billie Ireland Rochester Hills used the credit card to buy her clothing with it. Note: Our City Charter requires a zero degree to be the Mayor of RH, not even a High School diploma or GED. Actually the only thing it takes to be a Mayor is residency and votes. It is also very sad the majority of residents in RH don't even care who the Mayor or City Council members are only 15% to 18% of RH votes in local elections. The $130,000+ question is... is a City Manager form of government better?
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 12:36 AM
Monday June 18th FY 2012 – 2nd Quarter Budget Amendment, Rochester Hills "The Budget Amendment proposes an increase in total revenues of $1,831,660 and an increase in total expenses of $419,290. The net increase in revenues less the increase in expenses will have a net positive impact on citywide fund balances and retained earnings of $1,412,370." Keith Sawdon, Director of Finance... We are getting an increase of $700,000 in State Shared Revenue... suggestion use some of the increase revenue and rehire the cops RH laid off a few years back. Recently my daughter was a victim in a "fender bender" no injury... hit and run auto accident. Oakland County Sheriff response time was over 1/2 hour. Would you not be pissed off if you found out your daughter in her mid twenties had to wait in the dark over 1/2 hour for a cop... the system is broken in RH.
John Farnwell June 16, 2012 at 01:03 AM
With Bishop $70,000 from Matty gets a blocked bridge vote. Talk about profiting from government. How much for dropped charges?
Dee Kay June 16, 2012 at 02:51 AM
I posted this on the police millage issue and Scot informed me to post at this more current issue. Thank you for the heads up Scot. I would opine that it is long past time to go to a city manager form of running RH. We need a professional running the day to day business of the city, not just someone who draws the most votes, whether they have any knowledge or not. We have had some vindictive former mayors, who were answerable to no one to do as they please. Come election time they would tone down a little bit but they were still less that what should have been expected of a city leader. The council would still set the guidelines with a CM while the CM ran the day to day business of making this city a better place to live in. As the council would still have the ability to fire the CM at any time, whether it was election time or not, what would be so bad about having a professional run the day to day business of the city? Time for this issue to be brought back up before the citizens, showing both the pros and cons of both a CM style and a mayor style of running the city.
Dee Kay June 16, 2012 at 03:07 AM
Where are the comp stats that the city uses when they are negotiating with the employee unions? What do those cities show as comp pay for the council members? What do the MML stats show as comparable? Where is the "lead by example" from the council on pay? They demand that the employees take cuts while they end up with more money for less work. I don't want a McD reject checking the safety of my water because some people can't see how fubar'ed the demonizing of the public employee is, while not holding the politicians to the same standard. I feel that the everyday employee is a lot more important than what most people think, and what most politicians show. Time to bring the politicians back to reality and remind them that public office is supposed to be an honor and about service, not about power and enrichment.
Scot Beaton June 16, 2012 at 03:33 AM
Dee, Suggestion for city council compensation... since the real estate crash; property values have dropped about 33% and so has the tax revenue of the city. Cut council compensation by 33% and then increase their pay annual based on improved home values. If the average price of a home in RH goes up 3% than council pay would go up 3% that year. If home values go down then their pay should also decrease. Good idea? P.S. I concur... RH has a lot of great full time employees... let's hope the "politicians" don't screw up their great service for votes or a newspaper headline.
Dee Kay June 16, 2012 at 12:20 PM
Scot, The idea of a comparable council pay increase to the average home value sounds like an equitable arrangement. I would want to make sure that the FT employees were also able to share from that slice of pie before the council took it all first. Our FT employees in RH have made several sacrifices that seem to have gone unrecognized or unappreciated, by either the people or the politicians. We do ourselves no favor by cutting their pay to as low as possible and in effect, turning away well qualified people. Yes we can pay less, but at what loss of value to the city and/or the citizens? Racing to the bottom with wages and benefits does zero good, except for making political points. Our employees are what separate us from having a reputation that drives both citizens and businesses away, like so many other cities have, or people wanting to live here and shop here. We have to strive for the sweet spot of getting the best bang for our tax dollars, without cutting needed services. Too many people are too easily swayed or fooled by the partisan hyperbole instead of actually attempting to learn on their own what is true and what is false. With all the information available today between the internet or talking to politicians and city officials in person, there is little excuse for not learning something about government and the city. We all live here, and we all have a responsibility to make RH the best it can be, if not the best city in the state.
doug June 16, 2012 at 08:15 PM
Rochester Hill: This is a TAX INCREASE.....VOTE NO... They are raising the tax ceiling by moving 2.5 mills from the General Fund to the new Police millage. I fully support the police, but I have no trust that the City Council won't simply raise our taxes later, now that they would have the authority (WITHOUT a public vote) This is a dishonest proposal and a backdoor way of avoiding asking the taxpayers for an increase in the General Fund. VOTE NO
Phil Reid June 17, 2012 at 04:09 AM
Kristen Bull: Michael Magdich will not be on the ballot in the 8th Congressional District! He was removed for having insufficient valid petition signatures. Please print a correction! Lance Enderle will run unopposed at the Democrat on the ballot. http://miboecfr.nictusa.com/election/candlist/12PRI/12PRI_CL.HTM
Kristin Bull (Editor) June 18, 2012 at 11:57 AM
Thanks for pointing this out; we took our information from the Oakland County Elections site at OakGov.com.
doug June 18, 2012 at 05:29 PM
Kristin: A point on the Rochester Hills Police Millage. Your summary states they are simply asking for a renewal. That is not entirely accurate. They are asking for a NEW 2.5 mill increase in the dedicated police millage. They have promised not to use the the freed up funds in the General Fund, although the city attorney has told them that promise is non-binding. I think this is a very relevent point that taxpayers should be made aware of. If they are comfortable trusting their city leaders that they wont simply spend it, thats OK. I am not and will vote NO on this proposal. I juat think voters should be aware and make their own choices.
james.stevensforsheriff June 18, 2012 at 05:39 PM
Doug i can see that you follow whats going on here, City hall needs to be straight forward to the tax payers, i deciding to make changes at the county level and i lived in RH for over 25 years city hall hasnt changed much on the shell games.
Christopher June 27, 2012 at 03:00 PM
I agree, term limits has only forced him to move around a lot. How many state, county and local pensions is he working on?
Christopher June 27, 2012 at 03:10 PM
Pay linked to property values seems nice now, but 20 years from now it'll seem rediculous. Like the Headlee (sp) Amendment, creating property tax increases as our houses went down in value.
james.stevensforsheriff June 27, 2012 at 03:17 PM
My name is James Stevens I’m running for Oakland county Sheriff BUDGET- This is tough economic times, in the past governments spent money like Drunken Sailors I plan to cut cost and replace older vehicles with high fuel ratings to save tax dollars Incentives to our deputies will be paid Bonuses from my own personal Fund. TOP ISSUES 1. Let’s get tough on Crime and drugs. 2. I Plan to start a Boot Camp with my own money, no tax payers money. 3. More patrols in the neighborhoods 4. A plan to get guns off the streets and a new Crime hotline. 5. Reward deputies by catching the criminals’, bonuses to be paid out from the Sheriffs personnel fund and not the tax payers. JAIL OVER CROWDING – This will no longer be an issue, I plan to open a Boot Camp With my own Funds and inmates are going to perform work details, during the winter they will be shoveling sidewalks and I will pay for the shovels from my own pay. Many crimes cost tax payers money. Shoplifting is a large issue which makes prices Of goods cost us more, the current fine is just another fine in payment which causes the same people to just steal more to pay the fines, but my plan of a Boot Camp is braking concrete during the summer and shoveling snow in the winter for just a few task that they would perform. After one stay at the Sheriff’s Camp I don’t think anyone would want to revisit the county hotel. The Camp will cost tax payers no money Cut cost, let’s make Oakland County a nice place to live
Kathy July 17, 2012 at 10:32 PM
If inmates are doing Boot Camp, where do they stay when they are not on detail? They will still be in the jail, right? If they come in for duty on a daily basis from home, then don't show up for detail, they will be arrested and....be put in jail. The over crowding in jail will still be an issue. Also, If you pay for Boot Camp with your own funds, and next election you don't get re-elected, then what happens to Boot Camp? Will it rely on the future Sheriff funds? How can this be a long term solution to jail over-crowding?
james.stevensforsheriff July 18, 2012 at 04:36 PM
Well my plan is better than what is currently happening, which is sitting in a A/C County Hotel.


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