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Resident Bill Swift seeks election to Tecumseh City Council in November

By
JACKIE KOCH

Tecumseh resident Bill Swift is running for a seat on Tecumseh’s City Council and will be on the November 2 ballot along with council incumbents Austin See, Vicki Riddle and Gary Naugle. Swift, who works at a software development company in Dexter and ran for county commissioner in 2020, decided to run based on his concerns.

“My motivation is pretty much the same motivation that I had to run for county commissioner, and that is my concern about the health of our republic and the assault that it’s under by conservative Republicans in our community, in our county, in our state and in our nation,” he said.

He cited the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. on January 6 and spoke about “Trumpism,” stating that the support of former President Donald Trump continues to be a threat to the country. “And more so because the people here in our community continue to support somebody who I view as a traitor who would install himself as a dictator, and apparently that’s something that many people around here support. That’s terrifying to me as a person who loves my country and considers himself a patriot,” said Swift.

“I understand that the party affiliation of the people that serve on the city council will not be on the ballot, but that does not change the fact that the people that serve on that body are Republicans and have supported this man and this party, and continue to support people like (State Representative) Bronna Kahle and (U.S. Representative) Tim Walberg, who attempted to throw out my vote for president, and to throw out the votes of citizens of Tecumseh, and to completely obviate all of the work done by our city clerk, Tonya Miller,” he said. “Their support, by getting photo ops or getting awards from these people or even just working at the booth at the county fair, signals their continued support for a political party which in my view is an openly accepted domestic terrorist organization, and whose continued stoking of violent rhetoric and the like imperils the future of the republic. Until there are consequences and accountability for these people and the people that support them, we are, at least in my view, on the road to civil conflict and possibly civil war.”

Swift said he agrees with Mayor Jack Baker that city council has more impact on the day-to-day lives of Tecumseh’s residents than state and federal politicians and feels it’s crucial to address certain issues in the city. He related a time when he was with his former stepdaughter at a Tecumseh business when an older man behind the counter stuck his hand close to her face and made a comment about her shirt, which displayed a version of a U.S. flag. “He said, ‘Wearing a flag like that here in Tecumseh is a good way to get your ass kicked,’” Swift recounted. “That’s a quality-of-life issue.”

He is involved with the Lenawee County Chapter of the NAACP, after becoming aware of racism at a young age. “I didn’t want my kids to grow up thinking that was acceptable, so I tried my best to teach them those values, but I found that wasn’t sufficient,” he said.

His observations on the challenges facing minorities and those in the LGBTQ+ community who live in Tecumseh is another quality-of-life aspect, and he said council needs to address that from the point of view of economic development and the city’s ability to entice people to live and work here.

He spoke in favor of labor unions, ethical hiring practices, and allowing employees to take off all holidays instead of needing to choose paid holidays. As a city council member, he would raise issues that he feels are important to discuss and said council should put pressure on legislative representatives to address things such as maximum truck weight limits that are too heavy for the downtown streets and affect the buildings downtown.

He would be against tax abatements for industry and business. “I think those shift the tax burden onto the homeowner,” he said. He is pro-marijuana industry, and thinks the city is missing out on tax dollars from that industry. He has concerns about environmental issues, especially the poor state of the water quality in the River Raisin from the effects of farm runoff, and thinks the dams on the river could be generating electricity and creating revenue.

Swift feels city council, the mayor, and City Manager Dan Swallow, City Clerk Tonya Miller and the rest of the staff do their jobs very well and wants City Hall’s foundation to be more balanced. He again spoke about Representatives Kahle and Walberg and his disagreement with the Republican Party. “I tend to not worry about whether I’m going to work well with them, the people that support that. My primary focus would be on trying to get them and the people in the community at large to recognize that what they’re doing is wrong, what they’re supporting is wrong, and that by not addressing those things they’re embracing the future destruction of the republic. And I will do everything that I can to prevent that,” he said.

Editor’s note: The Herald is featuring a series on candidates to Tecumseh City Council. Bill Swift is the second candidate to be featured following Austin See. Two remaining candidates, Vicki Riddle and Gary Naugle, will be included in upcoming editions before the November 2, 2021 general election.

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