Allegan County News staff asked candidates for the seven county board of commission seats to provide 300-word profiles describing themselves, their experience and goals for office.
District 1 includes the cities of Douglas, Fennville and Saugatuck and the townships of Laketown, Manlius and Saugatuck. This is a two-year term.
Allen is a proud resident of Manlius Township where she lives with her husband, Doug, and their daughter, Olivia.
Beyond her career as a teacher, she is a dedicated community volunteer. Currently, she is the Membership Chair of the Friends of the Library for Saugatuck-Douglas District Library and a member of their Adult Programming Committee. She also volunteers at her church, All Saints’ Episcopal in Saugatuck, and Forever Curious Children’s Museum in Fennville.
After completing her B.A. in Political Science from University of Louisiana, Allen worked as a House Manager and Education Coordinator for a group foster home serving children. Seeing a need, she went back to school to become a Special Education teacher. She taught for 10 years in high risk/high need public schools.
An award-winning public-school teacher, Allen was recruited by state boards of education in Louisiana and Indiana to create better classroom instruction and testing standards for students served by special education.
“I have thoroughly enjoyed knocking on doors and meeting voters all across District 1 in Allegan County,” she said. “I have supporters who are Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Independents because they are excited someone — many say for the first time — knocked on their doors and listened to their concerns as residents.
“I will bring their desires for a more-transparent county government, broader economic development and more-expansive broadband internet services to the table.
“I have been a tireless advocate for others most of my career. I will proudly stand up for the people of Allegan County as your commissioner, ensuring our tax dollars are used efficiently and effectively.
“Active listening, honest communication, and a tireless work ethic are important assets I will bring to my service as a Commissioner. Thank you for your vote on Nov. 6.”
Kapenga started his career in Allegan County in 1975 as a deputy for the Sheriff’s Department. He served as road patrol deputy, detective sergeant, patrol sergeant, dive team/mounted division, and was also named Officer of the Year.
Retiring after 29 years in 2005, he worked for one year on the marine division before running for County Commissioner. Kapenga has served as a commissioner for the past eight years and been board chair since 2017.
He chairs committees including the 911 Policy Board, Local Emergency Planning and Finance; and on the board for Community Action Allegan County, the County Parks Committee, West Michigan Drug Enforcement Committee, ACSET, MAC Heath and Human Services Board, and the M40/M89 Corridor Committee.
He and his wife Jan have been married for 43 years. They have four children and 14 grandchildren.
He has been a member of Central Wesleyan Church of Holland for 33 years and has chaired the CWC elder board, Holland/Hamilton Young Life and Hamilton High School curriculum committees.
“I believe in keeping a balanced budget for Allegan County, providing help in keeping economic growth in agriculture and business,” said Kapenga.
“I will work with law enforcement to assure school safety and home safety and I strive for health and wellness.
“I have served the public my entire career. I want to continue to be of service to the community. I love the people of this county and I believe it is a privilege to be able to serve them.
“I’m pro-life for Allegan County and am endorsed by them.”