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The Dawn of a New Day

Washington Township Clerk candidate Dawn Bartolomeo wants to “heal” the divide and take Township “to the next level”

Washington Township is regularly rated one of the most desirable places to live in Michigan and there is no shortage of reasons why the residents take pride in their community. Washington is a nearly ideal blend of rural and suburban living, the schools and the community programs are top notch and with rising property values and a budget surplus, there is a lot to like about the community. But there is also a growing sense of frustration among some with what they see as a lack of transparency within the Community and a lack of cooperation with neighboring Communities. Dawn Bartolomeo is running for Township Clerk with an eye on addressing and remedying those problems.

“I’m stepping up to serve because I want to take the Township to the next level.”

Bartolomeo says that includes updating the Township website, increasing civic participation through a more welcoming environment at board meetings and community forums and by creating an independent Human Resources Department to give residents a place to go with their concerns about ethics and fair practices within the Community. She says she wants to promote “independent thinkers” who represent the people's interests not just their own or those of the board as a whole. “No one else’s opinion (board members, contractors etc) will influence my opinion, I am an independent thinker...I want to see our board meetings run more efficiently with healthy debate and discussion and I want the community to feel they are welcome.”

Like many, Bartolomeo says she is tired of the fighting between the Tri-Communities (Romeo, Washington, Bruce) and that it is time to bring healing by focusing on the strengths of the communities and what they have in common instead of what divides them. “Everyone is tired of the fighting. I want to bring an element of healing, that’s what we need to do. Romeo and Bruce are struggling and we’re very comfortable, so we need to help our neighbors. When we needed help they were there for us.” Dawn points to the Parks and Recreation program as just one example of the communities being stronger together than on their own and says that it’s up to our elected officials to preserve those strengths.

“I don’t think our Parks and Rec programs are broken, I think the leadership is.”

Within Washington Township itself, Dawn hopes to improve transparency around bidding for contracts, “We can’t let builders and developers run our Township.”, address what she describes as “the shell shock” of getting your quarterly water bill (due to high rates) and put an end to the costs, financially and in terms of reputation, of the investigation and litigation that have been ongoing in recent year. “It’s not a warm, friendly and open environment, and that needs to be repaired.”

One of the issues most personal to Dawn is that of providing the best possible care to the Senior citizens of Washington Township, but her commitment doesn’t stop in her hometown. Bartolomeo has been working with Attorney general Dana Nessell and others on a statewide Elder Abuse Task Force aimed at addressing issues of abuse and neglect in senior care facilities. “I’ve been caring for ill parents for the last eight years. We have seen the abuse and mistreatment of seniors and they are not being treated with the respect they deserve (when they are ill).” She continued, “In (senior care facilities) the squeaky wheel too often gets hurt, not heard...we have to do a better job. I’d look to put in place a companion program (for Seniors who are on their own), where seniors whose families aren’t around or neglect them can feel some support.”

A resident of Washington Township for the last twelve years, Dawn is a proud mother of four including three sons in the armed services who she loves to visit in her spare time. She enjoys golf, scrapbooking, kayaking at Stoney Creek and spending time with her grand daughter. Bartolomeo told us, “you have to give to receive” and she believes that attitude can help heal the divide in Washington Township, the Tri-Community and the Country as a whole. She wants everyone to take a stand against cyberbullying and online attacks, especially those done anonymously. “I am disgusted by the Romeo Rambler. I have personally been a victim of cyberbullying and I can address this first hand. I think the Romeo Rambler should be eliminated and that cyberbullying should be governed. Romeo Rambler is toxic to our community and I feel it has helped cause this divide.” Bringing the community back from that divide and beginning the healing process is the central focus of Dawn Bartolomeos campaign for Washington Township Clerk.

Article Courtesy of Macomb Underground

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