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Ruth Brown will seek a fifth term on the Hillsdale County Board of Com­mis­sioners. Courtesy | Ruth Brown

Ruth Brown announced Jan. 16 that she will seek a fifth term on the Hillsdale County Board of Com­mis­sioners, rep­re­senting the 1st Dis­trict. Using the cam­paign slogan “Retain Ruth for Results,” she said she is proud of what she has accom­plished for her con­stituents and hopes to con­tinue serving them with ded­i­cation. 

Brown said she is seeking a fifth term because of pos­itive feedback she has received from her col­leagues and con­stituents. She said she is proud of what she has accom­plished for Hilldale res­i­dents, but knows there is still work to do.

“What drives me is my con­stituents,” she said. “As long as I have a passion for my con­stituents and can do the job, I want to keep going.” 

For the second time, Brown faces a con­tender for the office. In 2016, she defeated Sam Nutter, who cur­rently serves as the City of Hillsdale’s planning com­mis­sioner. Now Doug Ingles, former mayor of Hillsdale, chal­lenges Brown. 

Brown and Ingles both emphasize their con­sid­erable expe­rience in public service and their passion for their con­stituents. Both Repub­lican can­di­dates, they appre­ciate the impor­tance of man­aging the county budget respon­sibly. 

“It’s a big election. The com­munity is changing in great ways,” said Ingles, owner of Stadium Roller Rink. “What it comes down to is, voters will have to decide who’s going to do a better job.”

Hillsdale Mayor Adam Stockford, who is running for the 58th Dis­trict seat in the Michigan House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives, agreed that the results of the Aug. 4 primary elec­tions will be inter­esting.

“It’s exciting to see so many seats being con­tested,” he said. “However the races turn out, we’ll have better rep­re­sen­ta­tives, because we’re all forced to do better when we have to compete,” he said. 

Although she hopes her past suc­cesses will be an advantage to her as she cam­paigns, Brown said she knows she must con­tinue working hard for the people of Hillsdale. 

“I’m con­fident, but not com­placent,” she said. “I don’t sit back, I fight back.” 

Born in the Chicago area, Brown moved to Hillsdale as a girl and grad­uated from Hillsdale High School. Her father taught history at Hillsdale College, and she said she has always believed in what the college stands for. 

After grad­u­ating from Eastern Michigan Uni­versity, she taught for nine years before working at a travel agency in Jackson. Since 2006, she has operated her own travel agency from home. 

Brown served for a time as the Great Lakes regional director of the American Asso­ci­ation of Uni­versity Women, a non-profit orga­ni­zation that pro­motes women’s equality. While there, she helped coor­dinate an ini­tiative called “Women in Pol­itics,” which encouraged women to par­tic­ipate in pol­itics. 

“Women should have a seat at the table when deci­sions are made because these deci­sions impact their finances and futures,” Brown said. 

When a Ward 2 city council seat opened up in 2009, Brown decided to “put [her] money where [her] mouth was.”  She ran unop­posed, and was elected to the Hillsdale City Council. After serving two terms on the city council, she was elected to the Board of County Com­mis­sioners in 2013, on which she has since served four terms. 

In her past terms, she helped improve the county offices by moving them from the Cour­t­house Annex to the former Hillsdale Daily News’ building, which she said has increased employee morale and pro­duc­tivity. She also co-founded the Hillsdale County Suicide Pre­vention Coalition. 

Brown said she con­siders eco­nomic devel­opment and drug abuse to be the biggest chal­lenges to Hillsdale County. 

“Every­thing with a person starts with a job,” she said, and explained that drug users “need a helping hand up and out.”

She said she plans to attract employers that will pay a “living wage” to ensure that Hillsdale County res­i­dents have access to jobs that will support the best quality of life. 

In addition, she hopes to help former drug addicts become respon­sible cit­izens by pro­viding them access to job training and coun­seling. 

“I’m not a good old boy,” she said. “I’m just a hometown girl who grew up in Hillsdale and cares about the place, and I know how to get results around here.”