Old Mission Peninsula resident Kelly J. Clark with his family | Clark Photo
Old Mission Peninsula resident Kelly J. Clark with his family | Clark Photo
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(Editor’s Note: As we head into this year’s election, I’ll be running a series of notes and Q&As from the candidates running for Peninsula Township office. If you’re running for office, feel free to send along a message to Township voters via the Gazette. Email me at [email protected], and I’d be happy to publish it. Also, look for an email from me with questions in the near future. Below is a note from Kelly Clark, who is running for Township Supervisor. A big thank-you to everyone who is running for office. -jb)

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Greetings OMP Friends and Neighbors,

As a lifelong resident of the Old Mission Peninsula and having grown up spending my summers on Marion Island (now Power Island) where my father was the ranger for 12 years, I developed a love and appreciation for the Old Mission Peninsula and the Great Lakes.

After graduating from Traverse City Central High School as a state champion, I earned my BA in Spanish from Hope College and my MA from CMU in Administration and Community Leadership. I served as an educator, administrator and board trustee for TCAPS (Traverse City Area Public Schools) for more than 25 years and was instrumental in helping the Old Mission community retain the Old Mission Peninsula Elementary School.

I earned my real estate license in 2017 and am currently an associate broker with The Mitten Real Estate Group and the principal broker at Lakefront Living.

I am an avid boater, scuba diver, and a lifetime member of the MLSA (Michigan Lakes and Streams Association). Through Lakefront Living, I established Lakefront Love, a 501c3 non-profit dedicated to the preservation and protection of the Great Lakes. I have also published a children’s book, “Sandy the Stone,” in which 50 percent of profits go to Lakefront Love. The Great Lakes are our greatest resource and need to be protected.

My wife of 29 years, Julie, and I are the proud parents of three children and one fur baby; Kennedy, currently studying to be a dermatological PA at Hope College; Kaden, currently studying video game design online; Cooper, currently in his sophomore year at Central High School; and Porter, an amazing five-year-old chocolate lab who spends as much time as possible swimming in East Bay.

Old Mission Peninsula resident Kelly J. Clark with his family | Clark Photo; Candidate for Peninsula Township Supervisor
Old Mission Peninsula resident Kelly J. Clark with his family | Clark Photo

While I appreciate the challenges and the work that the current Peninsula Township Board has done, there is a disconnect between the current board and many members of our Old Mission community. I have listened to countless stories from residents who tell me they feel unwelcome, unheard, and treated like they are a burden when they go to the Township offices.

As a candidate for Peninsula Township Supervisor, I commit to serve all of our residents, property owners, small business owners and farmers. I will lead a transparent and nurturing Township staff that welcomes and assists the public in the day-to-day operations.

As your Township Supervisor, I will base my decisions on the Constitution, public input, common sense, and the seemingly shelved Master Plan in order to seek win-win solutions.

In 2023, 184,000 Michigan property owners faced tax foreclosure. I refuse to add more families to that list by supporting the current board’s recommendation to roll back the Headlee Amendment. Nobody, especially the elderly and those on disability, should have to fear the government taking their homes away, just to turn around and give them away for pennies on the dollar to Blackrock, Vanguard and State Street.

I would encourage everyone to take a look at the Ax MI Tax ballot initiative at https://www.axmitax.org and vote to end property taxes in Michigan.

Thank you for your support. Together we will do great things!

Kelly J. Clark, Candidate for Peninsula Township Supervisor

Kelly J. Clark, resident of the Old Mission Peninsula and a realtor with The Mitten Group | Clark Photo
Kelly J. Clark, a resident of the Old Mission Peninsula who is running for Peninsula Township Supervisor | Clark Photo

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A NOTE FROM JANE: I started Old Mission Gazette in 2015 because I felt a calling to provide the Old Mission Peninsula community with local news. After decades of writing for newspapers and magazines like the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Family Circle and Ladies' Home Journal, I really just wanted to write about my own community where I grew up on a cherry farm and raised my own family. So I started my own newspaper.

Because Old Mission Gazette is a "Reader Supported Newspaper" -- meaning it exists because of your financial support -- I hope you'll consider tossing a few bucks our way if I mention your event, your business, your organization or your news item, or if you simply love reading about what's happening on the OMP. In a time when local news is becoming a thing of the past, supporting an independent community newspaper is more important now than ever.

To keep the Gazette going, click here to make a donation. Thank you so much for your support. -jb

Bay View Insurance of Traverse City Michigan


  1. Kelly
    I commend you for stating where you stand on the Headlee override issue. It is refreshing when a candidate for office tells us where they stand on important issues. It allows us to make informed decisions on who we support. It would be wonderful if every candidate for office would tell us where they stand on this and the charter township issue. That way we will not be blindsided when a person is elected.
    I will be following all the candidates closely to see if they are forthcoming with their positions or just offer platitudes.
    I think we know where the incumbents stand on the override issue since not one of them voiced opposition that I saw when it was discussed at the last Board meeting.

    • Louis and Kelly, many residents have asked the board for an expanded scope of service including faster turnaround in planning and zoning, road improvements, and park enhancements. The board has discussed adding a Headlee rollback to the ballot, as we have for every other millage request that the public has requested during my time on the board.

      Contrary to Kelly’s inaccurate and rather inflammatory analysis, this would lead to a .4 mills increase in taxes–it would not double or triple property taxes for anyone. The board will not and cannot undertake a Headlee rollback without a vote in favor of doing so by the public. Is it that you oppose the Headlee rollback as a voter, or do you oppose giving voters a choice in these matters? As a board member, I am indifferent about which way voters would want to choose in the matter, but their choices have consequences for the level of service that Peninsula Township is able to offer residents.

  2. Isiah
    I am against the override. All we ever hear is we need more money we are overworked we can’t provide services. Maybe some belt tightening should be tried first. Things like spending $17000 on spy cameras to follow us in and out of town was an extravagant and unnecessary expenditure.
    As for inflammatory it would seem you are the author of such statements. No where in his bio do I see any mention of doubling or tripling our taxes. That is an untrue characterization of what he said. Maybe in your haste to respond in a negative way to his goals which are an indictment of the current state of affairs you recklessly and inaccurately maligned his rather straight forward from the heart statement about his background family and goals if elected.I hope you can enjoy the weekend holiday with your family as will I.

    • So what you’re saying is that you are engaging in misinformation and hyperbole in order to prevent the voters from having a choice on an issue upon which you have already made up your mind?

      As for the traffic cameras, traffic enforcement is an issue that we hear a lot about from residents, and the cameras were recommended by the GT County Sheriff’s office. Do you believe that the board should be responsive to the majority of residents or just the loudest residents?

      Kelly had made the statement about doubling or tripling of taxes over on Nextdoor, and it shows either a lack of comprehension on real estate tax values or a willful misleading of the public.

  3. Point out the misinformation. I am merely stating facts and will let people make up their own mind. the cameras I am talking about are not speed cameras but cameras that record license plates of people coming in and out of town. Maybe when you voted for them you didn’t realize they were plate counters and not speed cameras. You should pay more attention when you vote to spend our money. Don’t they to cover up this wasteful spending by claiming g they have anything to do with speeders. Since you seem unaware of the purpose you bought these cameras go back and read the feb 21 2023 gazette. Jane does a good job of encapsulating the meeting where they were approved and even quotes the police that they are traffic counters and plate identifiers.
    Again enjoy the weekend.

    • I didn’t say that they were speed cameras. Traffic enforcement entails more than just speed reading. Again, do you think that we should ignore the requests of many residents and the recommendation of experts to assist with the cost of law enforcement tools? If we shouldn’t be making decisions based on resident input and expert advise, how would you recommend that we govern?

      I hope that you enjoy the weekend as well.

  4. Ok you referred to them as traffic enforcement tools. To my mind that is a far cry from plate counters especially as you say because of the outcry on the peninsula about traffic ie speeders.
    In any event since they are not radar type tools they have nothing to do with speeding and are a waste of our limited resources.
    I will be having hamburgers and hot dogs and of course cherry pie!

  5. You gentlemen should be ashamed of yourselves. Everywhere we look online these days it seems that Mr. Santucci and Supervisor Wunsch are engaged in a spitting match. Social media/online forums are not the place to be engaging in back and forth conversations between township officials and the public regarding what the Town Board’s possible position may be or has been on issues. Whether or not you agree with Mr. Kelly’s opinions – and whether or not his facts are accurate – the only thing to be done is to politely thank Mr. Kelly (or any candidate) for offering his written piece to the Gazette and then perhaps suggesting a personal get together to delve into your specific questions to him. The back and forth debates between Mr. Santucci and Supervisor Wunsch have obliterated the goal of Mr. Kelly’s piece, which is to let the general public know a little bit about him. Additionally, for the town Supervisor to engage in conversational debates such as this online or in forums such as Next Door does little to improve the image of the Town Board as a whole.

  6. Whoever you are since you don’t state your name you fail to understand that both next door and the gazette offer forums for lively debate. This is especially needed because most people do not go to town meetings and even if they do there is no opportunity for back and forth on issues important to us all.
    I commend Isiah for responding even though I don’t agree with him most of the time because I and others get an idea of his positions and an opportunity to respond.
    I suggest you not read these and other exchanges since it obviously bothers you.
    Read the story and skip the comments. By the way most major media provide for comments. You would have been horrified at the exchanges that took place in the early days of our country. The name calling was quite vicious and strong. My favorite word of the day was rascal.

  7. By the way you should avail yourself of the rules on these forums. Next door specifically allows for discussions of local interest. I am not ashamed of myself for taking the opportunity to express my views. Too often silence leads to a misunderstanding by public officials that their actions are supported. Again just read the article and skip the comments.


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