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Politics & Government

Twelve-year resident of Kalkaska announces run against notorious village president

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Harley Wales for Kalkaska Village President

A candidate has come forward to challenge Kalkaska's controversial village president Jeff Sieting at the ballot box.

Sieting's violent anti-Muslim and racist Facebook posts brought national attention to the village.

Kalkaska is expected to hold a recall election in May.

The necessary number of signatures have been collected for the recall, and Sieting has until February 26 to challenge the signatures. But it looks like he won't.

Harley Wales, 45 years old, announced this week that he will run against Sieting.  

Wales said he has registered as a candidate for the November election. And he plans to run in the May recall election but cannot register until after February 26.

Wales said he has worked for 12 years at the long-term care center at Kalkaska Memorial Health Center. He said before that he worked as a manager for Regis Corporation, where he specialized in turning around troubled small businesses and developed team-building and marketing skills.

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Credit Kaye LaFond / Michigan Radio

According to Wales, Sieting's Facebook posts and the ensuing discord and notoriety have hurt Kalkaska economically.

"I have a great background for bringing teams together, promoting stores, getting PR," said Wales. "Those are all things that Kalkaska really needs right now."

Wales says his positive attitude can help bring the village back together.

"I work very well with others," said Wales.     

Sieting said it didn't matter to him whether the election is in May or November.

He says an election could go either way.

"I'm fairly confident I'll survive it. But truthfully I'm not really that concerned about it either way," said Sieting. "You know if the people want somebody new, I'd say let them have it. I don't own the position." 

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