Richard Batchelder, 59, is a life-long resident of Shelby Township. He has never held public office and is retired. "However, I have devoted my life to public service, and feel it is time to give back to my community by serving as Shelby Township Clerk," he said. He volunteers at Marquette Elementary. He enjoys walking his dog, Roo, in River Bends Park, building things, road trips, public radio and TV, and movies. Batchelder and wife, Elaine, belong to Bethesda Christian Church in Sterling Heights.
1). What led you to try for the post of Clerk initially?
I love Shelby Township and I am not one who is quick to anger, but our current "board majority," which appointed our current Clerk, has its ownpolitical agenda that includes obvious ties to special interestgroups. I have watched this board majority make vicious attacks and threats against private citizens, long-time local businesses and dedicated public servants. Then after a sleepless night, I got up and said enough is enough we need to fix this. We need a Shelby Township Board that manages our tax dollars wisely and puts the wants of our citizens first over the the plans and financial goals of special interest. That same morning I felt the time was right for me to return to public service by running for the Clerk's position where I could work to right the so many wrongs the current board majority has created over the past four years.
2). What do you plan to change if elected?
I will work hard to restore the Clerk's office to a high standard of quality service. This standard will encompass a friendly service-centered atmosphere in which everyone is treated in a kind and respectful manner. I will also work to return the voice of the people to township matters by simply listening to the voice of the people and by basing every decision on the question of "How will this decision be beneficial to the people?" I will also restore integrity, respect, honor and professionalism back to the Shelby Township Board of Trustees by working hard to make honest and informed decisions. Decisions that will always be representative of as well as protective of the people, their basic rights and their properties here in Shelby Township.
3). If elected, what township issues would you like to focus on?
Retaining the 41A District Court in Shelby Township for many reasons that include: added safety for Shelby residents, cost savings to our police budget, the local revenue the court with its 500 plus clients a day will generate for local businesses, and ease of access to our court system by keeping the court local. Responsible development- which means not deviating from the township's master plan and being considerate of neighbor's quality of life issues and property values when considering zoning changes. Working to maintain current services thus making Shelby a welcoming and desirable place to live.
4). What personal and professional accomplishments are you most proud of?
At a personal level by far my greatest accomplishment is the success of our children. I cannot take complete credit and have to give most of the credit for their success to Elaine, my wife of 39 years. Elaine is an outstanding mother, mentor, judge and sometimes, referee. Elaine and I worked very hard to instill qualities in our children such as honesty, a hard work ethic and respect for others. In short, both children are married, have college degrees, have very good jobs, both are homeowners and are living successful lives on their own. Other life accomplishments include: 25 years of service with the Shelby Township Fire Department where I served as a Firefighter/Medicand Director of EMS. I also served as the Fire Chief for the City of Riverview where I updated the department's operations and upgraded the department's EMS system to a paramedic system. I am a graduate of Madonna University, where I received a Bachelor of Science degree. I was also a member of Madonna's Sigma Zeta Honor Society. I am also pleased with my 17 years of volunteer service to the Shelby Township sidewalk committee where I worked with other members to build additional sidewalks, overpasses, bike and hiking trails, in an effort to make Shelby a safer, better and more walkable community.
5. Is there one person who has been the most influential in your life?
My father, Richard Sr. My father is quiet, strong, gentle and kind. My father, even at 84 years old, has a good mind that can still recall and recite clearly things he has learned even as far back as high school. My father is a devoted Christian who not only professes his strong beliefs but leads an exemplary Christian life. As an adult I now see my father not only as my father but as a friend, a mentor and, someone I can always go to for council.
6). What are key ways you would have residents make a difference locally?
I would encourage the residents to get out and vote in the August 7th Primary Election. Your vote is so powerful at the local level. One vote has the potential to make a huge difference. Also, contact your local board member as to your needs or concerns viaphone, email, mail or in person. They are your elected public servants and as a voter and resident you are their employer.
7. What do you like most about Shelby Township? Do you have a favorite spot?
Shelby is a large community with many assets that provides residents many of the big city services such as: top services including outstanding police, fire/EMS services, parks and recreation, a library as well as outstanding school and educational services. Although Shelby is a large community it has not lost it's small town feel with many amenities such as many quiet tree lined neighborhoods, 1,000 acres plus of park land, the Clinton River watershed and 80 inland lakes and ponds. Do you have a favorite spot in Shelby? Yes, Riverbends Park.