Longtime Hillsdale resident and former mayor Doug Ingles will challenge County Commissioner Ruth Brown for the District 1 County Commissioner seat in 2020.
Ingles moved from councilmember, to mayor pro tem, to mayor in the 1990s. Ingles said he missed public service after his term as mayor, but he did not have the time to commit to it until now.
“During that time as mayor, my business suffered, but things are healthy now. My son was young and then I had to take care of my dad,” Ingles said. “But my dad has passed away now and my son is grown. I have time, and I still have the fire, so this is a terrific opportunity and the timing is right.”
Ingles said he also considered running for state representative but decided to run as commissioner instead because he wanted to stay in Hillsdale near the people and his family.
Ingles runs and owns the Stadium Roller Rink in Hillsdale, Michigan. The rink has been a family business since 1956 when Ingles was 2 years old. Skating is an integral part of Ingles’ family, for his parents met at the Arena Gardens skating rink in Detroit.
“Back in those days, the rink was a place to go out,” Ingles said. “Guys would wear a suit coat and tie to the rink and the girls would wear dresses, it was like ballroom dancing on skates.”
Ingles began skating at the age of 2 and eventually purchased the rink from his retiring father in 1996.
Today, Ingles says roller skating is still his favorite thing to do.
“I get up in the morning, and I rub my hands together, and I put a big smile on my face because I get to go to the roller rink,” Ingles said.
Ingles says his habit of roller skating throughout the workday has helped him become more efficient in his other management work at the rink.
Additionally, the act of skating helped him recover from the loss of his father and even lose 30 pounds.
The roller skating rink is also where Ingles met his wife, Sherri Ingles, in the late 1980s. It wasn’t until about 15 years ago, however, that the two reunited and got married.
Sherri Ingles said she’s been encouraging her husband to return to public service for a while now.
“Doug has the time to devote to it, so I think he’ll do a fantastic job,” Ingles said. “He’s dedicated, honest, and hardworking. And he wants the best for his community.”
Ingles will be running against Brown, who has held the office since 2014.
Brown said she plans to run again and continue her efforts to improve government facilities and county employee pay.
“I’m a big proponent of department-head meetings and open communication with our employees,” Brown said. “We are also trying to be proactive instead of reactive with our budget, to look ahead and know what we’ll need in the next three or four years.”
On his campaign Facebook page, Ingles said his decision to run is nothing personal with Brown.
“It is unfortunate that we both live in the same district,” Ingles said. “My interest in public service is strong. Timing is everything; now is the time because I have the time.”