Tag Archives: Ionia County Board of Commissioners

Husband and Wife vying for political seats

Frank and Lynn Mason run for political seats in Ionia County on different party tickets

By Emma Palova

Belding, MI – Frank and Lynn Mason not only share the same apples at Mason Orchards, but also the same passion for people and the place where they live. They’ve been married for 40 years and they have two adult children and three grandchildren. Both worked for the Belding Area Schools. But Frank & Lynn also share their differences in politics.

They are both vying for political seats in Ionia County on different party tickets. Frank Mason is running as a Republican for the Otisco Township supervisor, Lynn Mason is running on the Democratic ticket for the Ionia County Commission, District 1. They are both running in the contested Aug. 4th primary; Frank Mason is running against newcomer Republican Desmond Pike (R) and Lynn against incumbent board chair, Dave Hodges (R).

Frank Mason, Republican candidate for Otisco Township supervisor

“I am not going to make any promises that I cannot keep, or say anything that I can’t back up.”

Frank Mason

Frank Mason

While no rookie to the Otisco Township politics, Frank Mason is running for an elected position on the board for the first time. Since the incumbent supervisor Joseph Daller is not running again, Frank Mason decided to throw his hat in the ring in April.

“People asked me to run for supervisor,” Frank said in a recent interview. “We have a good situation here, and I want to it keep that way.”

Frank Mason has 24 years of training experience for the top post in the township; he has served on the Board of Review, Zoning Board of Appeals and on the planning commission.

“It’s taught me how a township needs to be run,” he said. “Since, I’ve retired I have time to put into the supervisor position.”

Otisco Township with the city of Belding in its center and the newly rebuilt Whites Bridge as its focal point, is a rural township with amber waves of grain, apple orchards, soybeans and cornfields.

“I want to make sure we keep the rural integrity of the township,” Frank said.

With potentially three to four new members on the township board, this may take some leadership and cohesiveness to work on the same page, according to Frank.

Some of the township issues include the maintenance of roads. However, there is a dedicated millage for the roads.

Frank considers the following among the top priorities for the township:

Improving coordination between all staff and elected officials, following the township Master Plan, promoting and preserving the rural character of the township.

He will also make himself available to the citizens by having regular hours at the township hall.

“I think it’s important to keep our township a place where people are proud to live,” he said.

COVID-19 has made campaigning tougher. For a month, Frank knocked door to door keeping social distance, but when Gov. Whitmer issued the executive order to “Mask Up, Michigan,” on July 10, he stopped.

“I have covered most of the township and answered questions on the questionnaires for the papers,” he said.

The team also put up signs around the township in Belding schools’ colors.

Frank is familiar with most of the people in the township due to his involvement with the Belding schools. He worked as a bus driver for 15 years, and a game manager for 30 years.

“I am not going to make any promises I cannot keep, or say anything that I can’t back up.”

Lynn Mason, Democratic candidate for the Ionia County Board of Commissioners, District 1

“People consider me an advocate even though I am not there, so why not be there.”

Lynn Mason

Lynn Mason

Unlike her husband Frank, Lynn Mason is a veteran politician. She was surprised when Frank announced his candidacy for the Otisco Township supervisor two weeks prior to her own filing.

She served four two-year terms on the Ionia County Board of Commissioners from 2006 to 2014.

In 2014, Lynn gave up the commissioner’s seat because she ran for the State House, she ran again for the State House in 2016.

“I came in second,” she laughed in a recent interview.

Lynn Mason, a retired educator from Belding Area Schools, was the president of the Belding Education Association (BEA) during her teaching career at BAS. She served on the negotiating team.

Lynn is running for the District 1 commissioner seat because she is tired of seeing what the current board is doing.

“There are no checks and balances,” she said. “They all have the same opinion.”

According to Lynn, due to the lack of check and balances, the Ionia County Board of Commissioners agreed to dissolve the Ionia County Road Commission last year.

“If I am elected, I have decided to build relationships first between the management and the employees,” Lynn said.

One of the purposes why Lynn is running is to protect the rights of the citizens.

Lynn cited as an example putting together a policy for expressing action on the county property.

She offers to the board her experience and advocacy.

“People know that I am a trustworthy source,” she said. “They consider me an advocate even though I am not there, so why not be there.”

Lynn said when she’s a commissioner, she’s always there. Based on her previous experience, she plans to use the following slogan in her campaign:

“What are we going to do with Lynn?’

Lynn supports both millages for seniors and for 911.

For a complete list of candidates go to:

Copyright © 2020. Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.

IW-Lynn Mason

Happy International Women’s Day to all women from the EW team on Emma Blogs, LLC.

The featured image is from SowHope.org whose mission is to help women of the Third World countries in order to fight poverty. Watch for a story on SowHope president Mary Dailey Brown of Grand Rapids. Brown travels to African countries to empower women to help themselves with provided funds and through education.

Inspiring Women at home and around the world

Orchids in full bloom
Enigmatic orchids

Note: This is the sixth installment in a feature series about Inspiring Women. It is dedicated to all women who are trying to make a difference and better other people’s lives, as well as their own.

 In putting together this feature series, I was inspired by several moments in life that in particular stand out.

No.1  A dedication of a Relax, mind, body & soul book by Barbara Heller from my son Jake: “I dedicate this to my inspiring and motivational mother.” Kuba

No. 2  While on a story before Mother’s Day, I dropped in at Ace Bernard Hardware to talk about the prizes with owner Charlie Bernard. We talked also about the Lowell Area Chamber and its director Liz Baker. “You know what I like about Liz, she keeps re-inventing herself,” Bernard said.

No. 3 Again on a story for the International Women’s Day I talked to Sow Hope president Mary Dailey Brown. “If you want to make a difference in this world, seriously consider helping impoverished women. Helping women is the key to unlocking poverty.”

No. 4  At a parents teacher conference at Cherry Creek Elementary in Lowell in mid 1990s: “Mrs. Pala, we do not give up,” teacher Karen Latva said.

Belding woman works to fix injustice  in education & in society

Name: Lynn Mason Occupation: retired teacher, former Ionia County commissioner, 2014 candidate for state representative

Residence: Otisco Township

Family: husband Frank, two grown sons Marty & Richard, two grandchildren Payton and Jackson, daughter-in-law Jamie

Hobbies & interests: reading, gardening, biking, walking, kayaking and other outdoor activities

By Emma Palova

EW Emma’s Writings

Belding, MI – As a retired teacher from a rural school, Lynn Mason has always been concerned about injustice, whether in education or social. But, Mason never left it to just being concerned. She got her handle on politics through her involvement with the Michigan Education Association (MEA) at both the  state and national levels while teaching at the Belding Area Schools. She bargained contracts for 20 years. “When I see injustice or need, I try to make it better,” she said. “It hasn’t always been easy.”

Lynn Mason 2014 candidate
Lynn Mason 2014 candidate

Ambitious, adventurous, people- oriented with leadership skills, Mason is mainly motivated if someone says you can’t do something. “That’s my number one motivation,” she said. As a former Ionia county commissioner with a majority of Republican population, Mason got involved in the Ionia County Democratic Party. She is now the chair of the Ionia County Democratic Party. Mason was still teaching when she got elected to the Ionia County Commission Board, and she was re-elected three times.

She served a total of eight years, until she had to give up her seat to run for the 86th District in the Michigan State House. “I ran unopposed for the third commissioner term,” she said. “I consider that a compliment.”

And even though she didn’t win the state representative seat, Mason gained a huge following.

“I got people interested in politics, they were positive for the cause,” she said. “We had great conversations. It doesn’t make me a loser. So many good things came out of it.” And nothing will stop her from running again for the state representative seat in 2016.

Candidate Lynn Mason knocking on doors in 2014
Candidate Lynn Mason knocking on doors in 2014

Mason is working on broadening her platform beyond education. “I don’t like boredom,” she said. “I need some sort of challenge and to have my hands in something.”

She most certainly does have her hands in a lot of things. Other than chairing the Ionia Democratic Party, building up the membership and raising money, Mason is the president of the local chapter of Delta, Kappa, and Gamma society of female professional educators who put on educational related events.

The most recent one was in Greenville and at the Ellis School in Belding. The group performed a play for first graders about friendship and diversity. Mason is also on the Belding Labor Day Committee and would like to get involved with the Belding Chamber of Commerce. She is the chairperson for Substance Use Disorder Advisory Committee known as SUDAC. “I have a community service focus,” she said.

2014 candidate Lynn Mason with student volunteer Dan Embedding
2014 candidate Lynn Mason with student volunteer Dan Embedding

In response to how does she approach large projects such as campaigning, Mason said, “I lay a foundation and everything comes through with what I have done. I needed a campaign manager and people with experience. So, I asked for a campaign manager, because I knew I wouldn’t be able to do it alone.”

Mason’s inspiration is her athletic background. She played tennis and golf on boy’s teams because there were no girl’s teams. Her role model is definitely Eleanor Roosevelt.

On the theme of challenges in life, Mason said the biggest challenge was parenting and overall family life. Growing up on three meals a day, Mason knew she wouldn’t be able to do that as a teacher, MEA negotiator, a wife and a mother.

Lynn Mason speaking during campaign
Lynn Mason speaking during campaign

“You can’t do it all,” she said. “It’s okay to have tuna or grilled cheese sandwich. You will survive on peanut butter. That way it’s less pressure.”

And even though Mason is very independent, there were three women in her life that played a big role. They were her mother, mother-in-law and mother equivalent,

“I’ve learned different things from each one of them,” she said. “My mother was proud of me and propelled me.” On the other hand, mother-in-law was a retired teacher and saw injustices in education.

“She used me as a conduit, but she pushed me and encouraged me,” Mason said. Mother equivalent (father’s second wife) taught her about violence encounters. Mason has always worked hard herself and taught the same to the students. “People notice if you work hard,” she said. “Good will always come to those who work hard, not always quickly but you have to take the high road.”

Lynn Mason speaks with veteran Juanita Woodward on her 2014 campaign trail
Lynn Mason speaks with veteran Juanita Woodward on her 2014 campaign trail.

 Her biggest fear is irrelevance. Her biggest pride is being a retired teacher of 30 years. “I never want to be irrelevant,” she said. “I am not scared of public speaking. I am pretty brave.” In face of adversity, Mason said she works through it with friends and through relationships, and biking. “I ride my bike hard until I have a solution,” she said.

On the issue of women’s equality with men in the USA. “No, we don’t have equality yet,” she said. “When you look at the wage difference and at the makeup of those in the state and federal legislature, it becomes obvious. However, I am hopeful that more women will gain the confidence to overcome the obstacles and start going for more positions typically presumed to be a man’s job. Then there will be more equity.”

 Lynn Mason, the woman behind the superwoman.

 1-What makes you feel good about yourself? Lynn: When I accomplish a project.

2-How about secrets, do you have any secrets? Lynn: I have secrets. Everybody has. If you reveal them, you must have a trust relationship. I approach it cautiously: how is it going to affect someone else?

3-Any tips and advice for other women? Lynn: Be true to yourself. You don’t have to be perfect. Try something new.

Copyright © 2015 Emma Blogs, LLC. All rights reserved.