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Former commissioner's widow won't apply for Ottawa County seat

By Jordan Climie/Holland Sentinel • Jan 11, 2017 at 2:00 PM

The Ottawa County Board of Commissioners is one step closer to finding a new District 6 commissioner after the passing of Dennis Van Dam — but his widow, Sharon, can be ruled out.

"Were I to fill Denny's seat, as honored as I am, I do not feel that I would do it justice," Sharon wrote in a letter to the county board. "I will forever be proud of Denny and his work in our community, but feel this position should go to someone else who shares the same passion for politics as Denny did."

Dennis Van Dam died at the age of 64 on Dec. 6, 2016, creating the vacancy. He was battling cancer at the time.

Sharon Van Dam did recommend one name, however. Andy Meeusen, her nephew, is one of 11 candidates who have filled out applications for the vacant post.

"He is a strong candidate for the job and brings many qualifications," she said. "Andy would proudly represent the Georgetown Charter Township with the similar Christian values and conservative ideals that Denny would have and always did."

"It's just a shot in the dark," Ottawa County Administrator Alan Vanderberg said. "We might have gotten one to two, maybe 15. It's an active part of the county, like all of Ottawa County is. You never know what that translates to."

The other names that have applied as of Tuesday afternoon were: Timothy Cumings, Cynthia Davis, Dean Dykstra, Greg Honderd, Brent Huddleston, Kelly Kuiper, Thomas Mullaney, Colin Riddering, Jim Roskam and Curt Zondervan.

Beginning today, the other commissioners will rank the candidates in their preferred order, using all application materials to compare them.

"We will then review that (list) and see if any breaks happen," Vanderberg said.

Working with the chairman and vice chairman of the board, a short list of applicants will be compiled for interviews, and those candidates will be notified on Friday, Jan. 13.

The interviews will take place at a special board work session at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 17, with the vote coming a week later during the regular board meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 24.

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