Primary Election Candidates for Northern Berrien County State Representative
By Annette Christie Five Republicans and two Democrats are seeking the seat that will be vacated by Kim LaSata as she runs for Senate.
Pauline Wendzel is a lifelong Watervliet resident from a 4th generation Bainbridge Township farming family. She attended both Watervliet High School and Michigan State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Anthropology and Food Industry Marketing.
Bruce Gorenflo of St. Joseph is a Senior Technical Writer & Product Communications Coordinator with 40 years of experience in the private sector. Gorenflo is a graduate of St. Joseph High School, attended Lake Michigan College, and earned his bachelor’s degree from Western Michigan University. He is a Republican Precinct Delegate in the City of St. Joseph and is also a member of the Berrien County Republican Party Executive Committee.
JoAnn DeMeulenaere of Bridgman holds a bachelor’s degree in political science from Purdue University and has served on the Bridgman Board of Education since 2009. She is also a member of the Bridgman Foundation of Educational Excellence. She is a medical malpractice defense paralegal, is married and has three children.
Maria Moen is not native to Southwest Michigan. She and her husband have two sons. She has served in the community including for the Curious Kids Museum, St. Joseph Public Schools Foundation, United Way, Catholic Community Education Commission, and at the Readiness Center. She has work experience as an International Destination Services Consultant and as a corporate high level manager.
Troy Rolling of Benton Harbor first became involved in politics when he studied the party system at Eau Claire High School. He selected the Republican Party after learning about the differences between the two parties and relating more to the beliefs of the Republican Party. Rolling believes in a government that should be limited to a decision making process and that business makes the world go around, not the government and he strongly opposes any programs that create generations of dependency.
The two Democrats on the August ballot are Joey Andrews and Marletta Seats.
Joey Andrews of St. Joseph graduated from Wayne State Law School and is an attorney.
Marletta Seats ran for this position against Kim LaSata in 2016 and was defeated. The Benton Harbor woman is a former Berrien County Commissioner and Benton Harbor School Board member. She is retired from Robert Bosch Corp. Seats has three sons, one of which is a Benton Harbor City Commissioner.
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