...Primary In Hand, Bob Mendham Looks To November
By N3 News Team
The recent primary decided which of the two candidates for Newaygo County Sheriff on the Republican side would carry the party banner into November and Bob Mendham emerged as the winner having pulled in nearly 75% of the votes.
While the mid-autumn election still looms, the Sheriff’s race has...
...likely been all but officially decided with no opposition from the Democratic Party and no unaffiliated candidates currently filed to run.
Mr. Mendham is obviously well known to many in the community having served our area in law enforcement for over two decades, most recently as police chief of White Cloud and Grant. In addition, over 6200 citizens of our county were familiar enough with him to cast their lot his way during primary polling.
N3 caught up with a busy Mr. Mendham to pose a few questions in the hope of giving readers a little glimpse into the next person to wear Newaygo County’s top badge should all go as expected November 8.
N3-With no challenge from the other party in November it looks as though come January you’ll be taking the oath to become Newaygo County Sheriff. What does it mean to you to win this election?
It meant a lot to win the primary, but I still have one more election to go. I am very thankful and humbled by the confidence and trust the residents of Newaygo County have given me.
N3-What do you believe was the key to your success?
People. The focus of my campaign was people-centric. It does not matter how much money you raise and spend, it is about the people because they are ultimately the ones who will decide. I had tremendous volunteer support and the amount of face to face contacts proved to be effective and appreciated. We are a small county when it comes to population and therefore face to face contacts and conversations are imperative and necessary in order to better understand the community.
N3-This election seemed to have a lot of emotion surrounding it with healthy dialogue between some supporters of candidates and some less kind acts by others. What will you do to reach out to the people in the community who may have not supported you?
Regardless of who voted for me and who didn't, each person will be given the same respect and dignity they deserve. By the time the general election rolls around, I hope they have enough trust to vote for me based on my actions and not my words. My purpose is to serve everyone in this county despite differences of opinion, views, and interpretations.
N3-You currently serve as police chief in White Cloud and Grant. What steps will you take to help those departments in their transition to new leadership? Is the plan to continue with one chief for the two cities?
Steps were already being taken prior to the election. If you have people working under you, you should be able to train them and educate them in the aspects of the job you perform. I have worked close with both leaders in White Cloud and Grant to make sure a foundation was in place in the event that I won the primary. The processes for both communities are well underway and both will be left in capable hands. Both cities are working together to ensure the most prudent, wise, and fiscally responsible decision is made.
N3-When you answered our pre election questions you stated that one of the department’s primary challenges was “Creating an environment that values trust, confidence, and transparency within the law enforcement community.’ What are the first steps you will take toward these goals?
On my first day in office, we will have a full department meeting. This meeting will lay out the goals, objectives, and needs of the office and the county. I will listen attentively to the concerns and needs of each member of the Newaygo County Sheriff's Office. Often times, people in elected positions forget to listen.
We will begin an open dialogue with the other first responders within the county. This will allow us to share information, resources, and start to develop relationships that didn't exist and work on the ones that need mending.
N3-Campaigns involve a lot of people and there are always a lot of people to thank but can you give us a top three or four of those who gave up time and provided support to help your initiative?
My wife Judy and our sons Brady and Rob were the greatest source of encouragement and love. Our campaign had so many dedicated volunteers who gave time, money, and advice. No one person exceeded another in their contribution. Each person that was involved has already been personally thanked and recognized.
N3-This has been a rather long and arduous journey from announcing your candidacy, to finding out you had won. Any plans to take a bit of time off before taking office?
I do have a couple of activities planned, however my goal is to continue to be the Chief of White Cloud and Grant and help prepare each community for a seamless transition.
N3-Anything more you would like to say to the people of Newaygo County?
I am confident I can work with Sheriff Hedlund to provide a comfortable transition of office. I would also like to say to those who may be skeptical or who did not vote for me, I will work hard to earn your trust and continue to meet your needs.