Recent GV grad to appear on Plymouth ballot

By Samantha Butcher | 5/7/12 1:15am

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GVL / Sam Butcher
Andrew Justus

by Samantha Butcher / Lanthorn

When Andrew Justus was 18, what would have been a routine story about Hillsdale, Mich.’s mayoral race caught his eye — unlike
other elections, the mayor-elect was the same age.

“It made me realize there’s no age limit for these things — you can just run,” he said. And run he did. Although he’d had his election epiphany a month after the filing deadline for his hometown of Plymouth, Mich., he ran in for township clerk as a writein candidate. After utilizing his networking skills, Justus pulled in less than 2 percent of the vote.

Now, four years and one Grand Valley State University degree later, Justus is making another run for a position in Plymouth’s local government, this time with his name on the ballot.

Justus, who will be running as a Republican, submitted his petition for township trustee with 62 signatures — 50 are required to appear on the ballot — and was informed Sunday night that his name would indeed appear on the ballot in his second election attempt.
He spent eight hours gathering signatures and talking to his potential future constituents, whom he said reacted positively to his youth.

With four trustee seats available, four Republicans and four Democrats can run on the ballot. Justus filled the fourth Republican spot; no Democrats have filed. “It’s been a real lesson in how seeking elected office works, even on a small scale,” he said. His fledgling campaign has received lots of support from friends and family, with friends from GVSU running the Andrew Justus for Plymouth Trustee Facebook page and his dad serving as his “ad hoc campaign strategist.”

If elected in November, the position would be part-time, allowing Justus enough time to pursue law school at either Cooley Law School or Michigan State University. He graduated from GVSU with a broadcasting degree in April.

“Even though I’m far away, I like to think I’m still pretty well-informed about what goes on, and well-connected to what happens in the town,” he said. “I think it’ll be a good stepping stone for any future political endeavors… Plus, this will give me a good four years to get to know people in local politics and see how things work, if all goes according to plan. And if it doesn’t, I’ll be humbled by defeat.”

The filing deadline for Plymouth Township trustee is May 15.

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