My name is Callie Melton and I’m a Democrat running to be your next Chester Township Trustee. I’m running because I believe I have the experience to lead in our township and I'm ready to serve. I’m not afraid to tackle the tough problems but I’m also ready to reach across the aisle for solutions that will work for all residents.
I live in Casnovia with my husband and my two children, Naomi and Connor. I was raised in Hudsonville and have lived in Ottawa County most of my life. I am currently attending Grand Valley State for a master’s degree in Public Administration with an emphasis in public management. I have previously worked as a non-profit and project management consultant, my clients have included now State Representative Rachel Hood, Guiding Light Ministes and the GVSU Women’s Center.
I also currently serve as a new member of the Ottawa Conservation District Board of Directors, as well as an alternate on the Chester Township Board of Review.
This past year I founded the Crockery Creek Watershed Council. This group is working to bring conservation funding to local farmers, protect local water resources and restore Crockery Lake to health. Watershed and farming issues became an area of interest for me after I worked with advocates across the state to bring the PFAS pollution crisis to light. Many things were discovered about the many unethical practices that took place, including that local farmers were in left the dark about the toxicity of the tannery sludge they were spreading on their fields.
Video - Crockery Lake
There are so many local issues that need our attention including our water issues, infrastructure challenges, problems with Crockery Lake and local zoning. I'm ready to roll up my sleeves and get to work for our community.
After observing our township government in action and talking to residents, I believe it's important that we examine our zoning laws to better enable residents to sell and build in Chester Township. I believe we can enable some growth in our township while maintaining our rural character.
I would like to see our local laws to better enable Chester Township farmers and business owners to utilize clean energies such as solar or wind power. I'm ready to listen to residents as the township begins to explore regulations around what clean energy options should look like in our township.
I believe that conservation of our natural resources is an important local issue that needs to be addressed in order protect our rural character and farming way of life upon which our township is built. That includes doing the work to help restore Crockery Lake back to health. Unfortunately, if we do nothing, the lake will eventually die.
This has been a difficult issue to address for quite some time, but it is a collective problem that needs to be fully answered. I hope you will let me do that by supporting me with your vote. The water we all use eventually makes its way from the ground to the drains, to Crockery Lake, then down Crockery Creek to the Grand River, and all the way out to Lake Michigan. Ignoring our local problems with water only serves to put all of our residents at risk to dangerous flooding, erosion and destruction of property.
There is no one reason why the lake is in the condition it's in. It's a man made problem and a natural problem. I have been working diligently toward finding solutions to this problem and want all Chester Township residents to have faith that I will find a solution, but I can't do it without you.
I have a plan...
I sense that many residents still have reservations about the proposed easement requests made from the drain commissioner. I have been looking into solutions to our lake problems and now have a multi-teired approach to the issue which I will explain in more detail.
EGLE Funding- Through my work with the Conservation District I hope to attain funding to address the problems with erosion and with the wetland of the lake. We won't be able to do that without all landowners on board.
Foundational Support- I would like to seek the support of local foundations to assist in the funding of this "work." Foundational support will ease the tax burden for residents and engage more organizations in supporting the lake.
Township Planning- Unfortunately, I believe that building around the lake was not planned in the best way to support the health of the lake. I would like for voters to give me the opportunity to examine how to best address septic system and development and infrastructure around the lake.
Don't see your issue here? Contact me and I'll be glad to weigh in.