Software developer, incumbent face off Aug. 2 in Republican primary for Kent County’s 1st District

Susan R. Jones

ALGOMA TOWNSHIP, MI – A software architect and developer is looking to unseat an incumbent Kent County commissioner in the Aug. 2 Republican primary for the county board’s 1st District.

Mark Jordan is taking on fellow Republican and Kent County Commissioner Ben Greene in the primary for the county seat representing all of Algoma Township and portions of Plainfield Township.

The winner will go on to the November general election and face Democrat Jerry D. Berta, who is running uncontested in his primary Aug. 2.

Greene, 33, has served on the Board of Commissioners since 2021 and is the director of marketing and engagement at the Grand Rapids Civic Theatre. Before serving on the county board, he was a Plainfield Township trustee from 2016 to 2020. He attended Central Michigan University.

Jordan, 54, is a software architect and developer and team lead. He lists his experience and qualifications as leadership at church; project, employee and resource management; and experience in industries including finance, healthcare, energy, housing and more. He holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science from Western Michigan University.

MLive/The Grand Rapids Press partnered with the nonpartisan League of Women Voters of Michigan to provide candidate information for readers. Each candidate was asked to outline their stances on a variety of public policy issues listed below.

All responses in the voter guide were submitted directly by the candidate and have not been edited by the League of Women Voters, except for necessary cuts if a reply exceeded character limitations. Spelling and grammar were not corrected. Publication of candidate statements and opinions is solely in the interest of public service and should NOT be considered as an endorsement. The League never supports or opposes any candidates or political parties.

Information on other state, county and local primary races can be found at Vote411.org.

Why are you running for office?

Mark Jordan:

I am concerned about the ballooning size, cost, and reach of government bureaucracy. I want to provide oversight to our Kent County budget to ensure that we are meeting the needs of our community as efficiently as possible, and not taking a penny more than necessary from our citizens’ wallets.

I am dedicated to protecting the constitutional rights of our citizens, and I will work to make sure that law abiding citizens are not forced to relinquish any of their freedoms.

I want to get back to citizen government versus career politicians. We need office bearers that are sensical, that serve the public, that have no hidden or personal agendas, and that are responsible to We The People.

I believe we need to return to the principles that this country was founded on if we are to function well and restore trust in our government.

Ben Greene:

I’m running for office because I feel strongly that it’s time for a new generation of conservative leadership in Kent County. The old ways of governance aren’t working, and we need leaders who will stand up and be a voice for their residents, not any particular political agenda or special interest group.

My wife and I are raising our daughter in this community, and she is my primary motivation to be involved in public service. If we don’t have thoughtful, dedicated, and honest public servants representing our friends and neighbors, we will never meet the challenges that face our community, our state, and our nation.

My approach is simple: I serve with integrity, transparency, and open and honest communication. I work for my constituents. I work hard on their behalf — and I am committed to delivering results for them.

What is the greatest challenge facing the office you seek? How will you address it?

Ben Greene:

Kent County is facing an important crossroads. We have enjoyed tremendous economic growth in the last decade: there is an abundance of good-paying jobs, our population has grown while some places in Michigan remain stagnant, and we have continued to invest in critical infrastructure and resources that promote a quality of life which rivals that of any community in the nation.

The “crossroads” question comes down to this: will we continue along this path of economic prosperity and quality of life, or will we move down a path of unsustainable spending, unmanageable debt, and lack of investment in critical services like police and fire? I have a strong preference for the former, and I will continue to do everything I can to move us further down the path of prosperity.

Mark Jordan:

Getting the residents of Kent County to realize that they have a voice, that they can attend all meetings, and they can give public comment.

Gaining back the trust that their commissioner will stand up for the people in a timely basis.

Having the people feel comfortable approaching their commissioner for things related to the county, and feel confident that their communication is not falling on deaf ears.

What strategies would you use to remain responsive and accountable to the public between elections?

Mark Jordan:

I believe it is essential to be available to the public I am serving. I would be a direct avenue through which they can influence and direct the board of commissioners for the county. While I would always be generally available via phone, texting, Facebook, and email, I would also schedule bi-monthly forums at which anyone can discuss subjects in person. And of course, I can always connect with private meetings by appointment.

Monitoring of local townships is key to keeping a pulse of township happenings and concerns. I will attend board meetings to keep current of Kent County’s local communities.

At the county level, communication of agendas, resolutions, and times and locations of board and committee meetings will remind everyone that they are welcome to join those publicly open meetings.

Lastly, I would explain my actions as commissioner, indicating my votes, and more importantly, WHY my votes were as such.

I will remember that this office serves the people.

Ben Greene:

Transparency and open and honest communication are two of the most important parts of my job. I will continue with my current practices to support that effort:

– Regular communication of County activity (including meeting agendas, my votes, and other County news) through social media and other forms of communication – Providing my personal cell phone number and email address to residents and encouraging them to contact me any time – Meeting one-on-one or with groups of residents at their request – Holding quarterly “office hours” meetings which are open to the public – Responding to/addressing residents’ concerns and needs in a timely manner. – Attending township and city meetings in my district

I work for my constituents, and my first priority is serving them and assisting them with their challenges. I will always be available to meet with them and work on their behalf.

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