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Posted on Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 3:08 p.m.

Mark Ouimet promises to work across party lines if elected to 52nd District state House seat

By Ryan J. Stanton

Washtenaw County Commissioner Mark Ouimet today announced his candidacy for state representative in the 52nd District, vowing to work across party lines to help Michigan reclaim its position as a powerhouse.

“As a fifth-generation Washtenaw County resident, I feel a strong pull to public service,” the Scio Township resident said in a written statement.


Mark Ouimet

“The problems we face are Michigan’s problems, and we must act as citizens, not partisans, to solve them,” he said. “We have to be focused on results. We can no longer afford to be caught up in party politics.”

Ouimet, a Republican, has served as an Ann Arbor City Council member and as a board member of several community and philanthropic organizations.

He said the November election is critical for the future of the county and the state, and that Michigan’s revival requires someone with a proven ability to work with both Republicans and Democrats.

Michigan’s 52nd District includes Chelsea, Dexter, Manchester, Saline and northeast Ann Arbor. It also includes the townships of Ann Arbor, Bridgewater, Dexter, Freedom, Lima, Lodi, Lyndon, Manchester, Northfield, Scio, Sharon, Sylvan, and Webster.

Democrat Pam Byrnes currently holds the seat, but can’t run again because of term limits. Christine Green, a Democrat, also is running for the seat.

Ouimet currently serves as vice chairman of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners. He points out he's the first Republican to serve in a leadership position on the county board in more than 20 years.

“People who know my work see me as someone who stays focused on issues, not party politics,” said Ouimet, who was elected as county commissioner in 2004. “And they know of my strong background in the financial world and participation in organizations.”

After earning a master's degree in business and economics from LaSalle University, Ouimet returned to Michigan where he served as chancellor and chief operating officer at Northwood University.

He serves on the boards for the Ypsilanti Chamber of Commerce, the United Way of Washtenaw County, C.S. Mott Children's Hospital, Ann Arbor SPARK, American Red Cross Advisory Board, Success by Six and Ele’s Place.

Ouimet said jobs and education are top priorities.

“I’m concerned about the state’s education budget,” he said. “We need to go to a two-year budgeting system that would allow us to budget and fund our schools so we can get back to focusing on our kids’ education.”

Noting that Michigan’s economy has shed more than 1 million jobs over the last decade, Ouimet said the state needs to create a tax system that encourages reinvestment in the state instead of penalizing businesses.

“We need to create the environment for job creation,” said Ouimet. “The only way to increase our tax revenue is to grow the economy.”

He said getting Michigan back to work demands closer attention to entrepreneurship, agriscience, farming, alternative energy, biotechnology and tourism.

As county commissioner, Ouimet said he is particularly proud that the board has balanced the county budget — a difficult task considering the county faced a $30 million structural deficit heading into this year — and that affordable public safety has been maintained in the western part of the county.

Ouimet, the father of two adult children and grandfather of a 4-year-old boy, is married to Donna Hrozencik, an obstetrician/gynecologist.

For more information, go to

Ryan J. Stanton covers government for Reach him at or 734-623-2529.


Historic District

Thu, May 6, 2010 : 8:02 p.m.

I wonder if all of the area nonprofits to which he devotes countless hours are aware of his "right-wing Republican extremism" - quick, someone tell them before it's too late! Get a life. Mark truly is one of those candidates that shouldn't be judged by the capital letter in paretheses following his name.

Nosmo King

Tue, May 4, 2010 : 5:20 a.m.

"He points out he's the first Republican to serve in a leadership position on the county board in more than 20 years." Mark is a good guy, but needs to check his facts better. A little research would show that within the past 20 years, Republican Mike DuRussel was chair of the Board of Commissioners, having been elected vice-chair, then becoming chair upon the resignation of Mary Egnor, who moved from the area. The last Republican to be elected chair by the board was Marty Straub, who was twice elected chair in the early 1990s.


Mon, May 3, 2010 : 12:26 p.m.

The grammar and overall structure of some of these comments that just don't match most others leaves me to believe some of you work for his campaign and are posing.

Lets Get Real

Sun, May 2, 2010 : 9:57 p.m.

I'm guessing, but I'd bet that none of the people who think this candidate is disingenuous haven't met him. I saw an open invitation on LinkedIn to a meet and great on Monday, May 3, 2010 from 6-8 p.m., at the Chelsea House Victorian Inn on Middle Street in Chelsea. I would suggest if someone can't make a decision about this, or any candidate, based on what they currently know, that that person should make it their business to get to a meet and greet event and LISTEN to the views and positions of the candidate.


Sun, May 2, 2010 : 8:54 a.m.

I recently relocated here from a place where strict adherence to party lines caused political gridlock - as it does most places. I believe that Mark Ouimet truly will work against such a trend with his listening ear and open mind. So far, I've been deeply impressed both with Commissioner Ouimet's dedication and politics. He is someone who does not get lost in details, but views problems with a macroscopic lens and prioritizes the good of his constituents - exactly the kind of person I want representing me in Lansing.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 8:20 p.m.

Mark has been attending our local school board meetings. He doesn't speak. He just listens. It is refreshing...and I am a Democrat.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 7:15 p.m.

It is true that many make the claim to work across party lines because it is pleasing rhetoric. However, as highlighted above, Mr. Ouimet has a distinguished track record of accomplishment and service to his district. He is respected by liberals and conservatives and has had a positive impact on all of the organizations he has been involved with. Roll your eyes if you want, but a vote for Mark is a step in the right direction for Washtenaw and for Michigan.


Fri, Apr 30, 2010 : 3:31 p.m.

Oh, cool, he's going to work across party lines. ::eye roll::