Long-time Farmington Hills resident Al Zaparackas has some work experience that he believes will help him bridge the political divide on the Oakland County Board of Commissioners.
The Republican candidate faces off against Democrat Marcia Gershenson to represent the county's 13th District seat, which includes portions of Bloomfield Township, Farmington Hills and West Bloomfield. Zaparackas said the redistricting, combined with Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's ties to the Bloomfield area, prompted him to run.
Zaparackas said he believes it's important to continue the Republican majority on the board. He has committed to county executive L. Brooks Patterson that he would support continuation of the county's three-year rolling budget with a line-item veto. He also supports economic development programs already in place.
"I think Brooks Patterson has a very good idea of bringing in businesses to Oakland County, such as Automation Alley and going out of the country and bringing in high-tech companies," he said.
At 72, Zaparackas said he would probably be the "senior member" of the board. He retired after 30 years with Ford Motor Co. and has a weekly radio program
He said he would bring more experience in dealing with diplomacy, because he currently serves as Honorary Consul for Lithuania in Michigan. His work involves connecting businesses in that nation with opportunities in Michigan.
"I'm trying to get them interested in growing blueberries, like Michigan is doing," he said. "It would be a viable industry for them to start."
Zaparackas believes his experience will help when it comes to working across the aisle with Democrats.