Cheboygan County Farm Bureau President Greg Whittaker was appointed Mentor Township Supervisor June 8, filling a vacancy created when former supervisor Pete Cannistra resigned to become a fire chief.
Whittaker is a recent graduate of Michigan Farm Bureau’s Academy for Political Leadership, a program designed to groom members for increased governmental involvement and the gentle arts of political campaigning.
Whittaker hails from a long line of public servants. His mother’s side of the family settled in Mentor Township in 1883; both his grandfather and great-grandfather have previously served as township supervisor.
As supervisor, Whittaker’s to-do list includes road improvements and shoring up the municipality’s fiscal practices, the latter of which figures prominently in the Academy for Political Leadership curriculum.
“Probably the two biggest things I took away from the Academy for Political Leadership are municipal budgeting and diplomacy — how to work with people,” Whittaker said. “I think those two topics will help me most as supervisor.”
The Academy is a function of Farm Bureau’s priority on encouraging farmer members to play an active role in our nation’s participatory democracy, ideally by increasing their numbers in elected offices.
“We’re happy Greg has stood up and agreed to serve as township supervisor,” said Matt Kapp, MFB’s government relations specialist. “Michigan agriculture needs more farmers to do the same, to get involved in government and represent the betterment of the industry. MFB has maintained a longtime goal of increasing the number of farmers serving in government. That’s why we offer programs like the Academy.”