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Meet the candidates- Thomas Brennan

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Raymond Tucker Cordani

There is an old saying that says if you want something done ask a busy man to do it.  First-term township trustee Thomas Brennan is a busy guy.  He owns Brennan Racing and Performance, a snowmobile repair shop, and is co-owner of the Apple Creek Campground with his mother, Mary Ann Brennan, on Orban Road.  Brennan, 35, hopes that Grass Lake voters will elect him to a second term as a trustee.   

This profile begins a series of articles centering on the eleven candidates running for office in the Grass Lake Township primary election on the second of August.  Former township supervisor and former Grass Lake Village president Bruce Maxson wants to resume his former position as township supervisor and is running against three-term incumbent James Stormont.  Four incumbent members of the board of trustees—Scott Bray, Brennan, Danny Hart, and John Lesinski—are challenged by Gregory Cagney, Sr., William Lester, and James Warbritton.  While not exactly a cage match the outcome of the elections will determine the degree of direction of commercial and residential growth and prosperity in the community, a balance of preserving Grass Lake’s rural character and moving into the future responsibly.      

Township clerk Cathy Zenz and treasurer Thomas Loveland, both incumbents, are running unopposed.  All office seekers are running on the Republican ticket.  The Grass Lake Times published a primary election overview in its May 19 edition.  Between now and mid-summer the Times will publish individual features on each candidate.

Tom Brennan is a man of character, energy, and conviction.  You might think that he would be difficult to pin down, with his job of maintaining the 125-acre campground, his racing franchise, his family, wife Katie and their 11-year-old daughter Katrina.  When does a man who works 60-100 hours a week  in-season have time to grant an interview to a reporter?  We are next-door neighbors.  As I write this I hear the sound of his Boss machine buzz-sawing up and down the dirt road leading toward the campground. Brennan not only went on record but also offered a tour of the tidy campsite, a crown jewel in the area, no less than the lake north of the village from which Grass Lake derives its name.

Originally from the Land of Lincoln, Brennan moved to Michigan in 2001 where his family purchased the campground. Upon his father’s passing in 2005, Brennan inherited 50% ownership.

In college he studied mechanical engineering and he divides his time between his racing business and preparing the campground for Memorial Day and the summer season.  “I don’t think I could sit at a desk all day,” he says.  He describes the popular campground as “family friendly, not a party camp.  It’s kid-based with an ‘up north feeling’ but closer to home.”

Brennan is unassuming, doesn’t see incumbency as a guarantee for reelection.  “There are some pretty big names on the ballot,” he says.  “But I hope that everybody gets out and votes (in August).”

“You’re vote is powerful,” he continues.  “The smaller the town the more powerful the vote.”  Brennan also serves on the election commission with Zenz and fellow trustee Lesinski.

The campground owner ran for the position on the board of trustees in 2012 because it was “begging for fresh blood,” says the fiscal conservative.  “I don’t support raising taxes—I grit my teeth when I think of them,” though he did vote for the May 3rd ballot initiative to raise the surcharge increase to improve Jackson County’s 911 services.  The vote passed, enabling the sheriff to increase the number of 911 staffers and upgrade communication equipment.  Brennan wasn’t thinking so much with his wallet as he was the safety of his family and the welfare of Jackson County residents.     

In January of 2015 Brennan gained a new lease on life after suffering severe injuries from a snowmobile crash.  The accident, he says, “really laid me up.”  He suffered multiple fractures when his machine slammed into a tree at 99 mph.  “It was a pivotal moment in my life,” he says.  “I don’t take it for granted—I just about died.”   

As a trustee Brennan welcomes growth but says there must be a balance between commercial and residential development.  “I support people moving to Grass Lake and without new businesses we can only go so far.”

Brennan has a bright future as a business owner and a servant in the family friendly community of the Township of Grass Lake.

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