Cathy Albro - MDP Rural Caucus Chair
As a graduate of MSU, Cathy taught elementary students and later worked with teachers to develop engaging curriculum and teaching methods. Working for the HighScope Foundation, Cathy’s work took her to many schools where she observed the huge inequities in education for children living in poverty, including many Native American reservations.
Cathy was also an entrepreneur; founding an accredited child care center and assisting businesses in opening on-site centers for their employees. Cathy also owned a “learning store” in Grand Rapids for 30 years.
Due to her life experiences and the state of our country, Cathy decided to run for Congress and was the Democratic nominee for Michigan’s 3rd District in 2018. She lost to incumbent, Justin Amash with 44% of the vote.
Cathy and her husband, Rick, live on a small farm in Bellaire in northern Michigan. Cathy is happy to continue her political career to help strengthen democracy in rural Michigan.
Mark Ludwig - MDP Rural Caucus Vice Chair
Mark was born and raised in Michigan. His youth was spent assisting his father during the early days of the environmental movement, studying Great Lakes water birds affected by industrial pollution. He settled in Allegan County, founding a small beef farm in Clyde Township in 2005 with his wife Kim. Mark served on the Fennville Public School Board, Clyde Township Planning Commission and currently serves on the Allegan Conservation District Board of Directors. He is also Vice Chair of the Michigan Democratic Party Rural Caucus and is an alternate to the MDP State Central Committee. Mark graduated from Michigan State with a degree in Environmental Issues and has a Short Course Degree from UW Madison in Grass Based Dairy.
Peggy Raddatz - MDP Rural Caucus Treasurer
I have been on the Executive Board of the Manistee County Democratic Party, in some capacity, for the past 25 years. I no longer serve on the Executive Board, but remain a member of the Leadership Team. In addition, I currently serve as an Officer of the MDP Senior Caucus, the MDP Rural Caucus, the MI Rural PAC, the Rural Michigan Action Alliance, and the Lakeside Club of Manistee County.
I served this last campaign cycle as Treasurer for four State Representative Candidates. I’d like to say here that this State needs to train more people in Campaign Finance so they can
be Treasurers for candidates. Such people are few and far between and we need many more!
My husband and I reside in rural Mason County, but associate ourselves with the City of Manistee in Manistee County. My husband, a retired school superintendent, raises heritage turkeys for his business, Bourbon Red Heritage Farms. I keep the books for the business.
Brian Hoduski - Region 1 Vice Chair
Gogebic, Ontonagon, Houghton, Keweenaw, and Iron Counties
Brian Hoduski is a lifelong Democrat and has been active with the Houghton County Democratic Party since moving there from Grand Marais in 1999. He has served as co-chair of the HCDP since 2006. He learned from boyhood about rural issues helping on his Grandfather’s farm in Menominee County. He trained as a fishery biologist and geographer and has worked in conservation and museum curation since 1986. He enjoys cooking, gardening, hunting, traveling, and his grandkids.
Robert Anderson - Region 2 Vice Chair
Baraga, Marquette, Dickinson and Alger
Robert Anderson is a lifelong Democratic and has been active with the Marquette County Democratic Party for many years. Robert graduated from MSU College of Law and his first law job was serving as an attorney for the US Dept.of Housing and Urban Development in the Carter Administration.
He practices Elder Law and Disability Rights throughout the UP and has taught law courses for MTU and NMU. In 1986 Robert ran for US Congress as a Democratic in the UP and Northern Michigan against an incumbent Republican. Robert and his wife live in Marquette, and enjoy biking, cross country skiing and their grandchildren.
Tim Dowd - Region 5 Vice Chair
Leelanau, Grand Traverse, Antrim, Kalkaska and Benzie Counties
Born in Detroit. Lifelong Michigan Democrat. 50 year member of the United Brotherhood of Carpenters and Joiners. Treasurer of the Leelanau County Democratic Party. Trail Ambassador for the Friends of Sleeping Bear Heritage Trail. Lives in Cedar, Mi with wife Kathy, dog(Winnie) and cat(Ozzie). Former trustee of Carpenters local #202 Traverse City. Four children Ryan business agent for the Operating Engineers International, Dr. Sarah Greene MD, anesthesiologist at University of Chicago hospital, Grace Splude, manager Roadside B&G Bloomfield Hills, MI. Hollie Dowd MPH for Deloitte US New York.
Richard Douglass - Region 7 Vice Chair
Oscoda, Alcona and Iosco Counties
Richard Douglass is an academic having served on the faculties of The University of Michigan, Wayne State University, Eastern Michigan University and also The University of Ghana and Ashesi University in Ghana. His career began as a field contact tracing specialist assigned to the Chicago Board of Health by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) in 1968. He is a social epidemiologist and has conducted research affecting public health, gerontology, substance abuse, highway safety, and homelessness in Michigan since 1972. He is an Emeritus Professor of Health Administration in retirement from Eastern Michigan University. Upon moving full time from Ann Arbor to Tawas City in 2020 he has become engaged in revitalizing the Iosco County Democratic Party and energized a progressive response to conservative excesses in the print media and by many elected officials. He has turned his professional eyes on the dismal state of healthcare availability in rural Northern Michigan and the apparent passive acceptance of inadequate healthcare services by the general population throughout the N.E. Michigan region. His book, The Evolution of the U.S. Healthcare System: A Legacy of Opportunism and Greed that is due to be published in the Spring of 2023 (Cambridge Scholars Publishing) is a bare knuckle assessment of corporate exploitation, discrimination by race and gender, political disregard of populations of greatest need, profiteering and mistreatment of the most vulnerable in our society. His focus on improving rural health status and services reflects his passion for
justice and believes that the Rural Caucus is a vehicle for overdue change.
John Helge - Region 8 Vice Chair
Wexford, Mason, Lake, Oceana and Manistee Counties
I am excited to have the opportunity to serve as the new Region 8 Vice Chair of the Michigan Rural Caucus. I am currently the Chair of the Manistee Dems.
I have lived in Manistee County for over 22 years. I recently retired from Nalco Water an Ecolab Company after a 40-year career leading field technical sales teams. During my first ten years in Manistee, I was responsible for our operations in Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana. Then, during my final 12 years, I was responsible for my company’s business relationship with major clients, first in North America and then globally. I had a very fulfilling career focused on water-related challenges and environmental sustainability.
I look forward to hearing from you anytime you have a question or idea to improve our Rural Caucus.
Tim Prosch - Region 9 Vice Chair
Muskegon and Kent Counties
My name is TP and I’ve spent the better part of my life in Montague which is in White River Township which is in Muskegon County. Born and raised in Chicago, I spent all of my summers in the White Lake area, courted my wife here, my daughter had her wedding in the backyard. This place is the Heart of our Family! 3 years ago, when I retired from a career in Marketing and Advertising. My wife, Pam, and I moved here full-time. We love the Rural Life.
1. First foray into MI Politics (25 years ago)
Working with the WRT Board and DEQ (now, EGLE) to protect our dune and beach from a Developer who wanted to build a road through the dunes so he could get trucks in to erect a McMansion near the beach. We finally raised $1 million locally to buy him out.
2. Second Experience in Politics
Strategist and fund raiser for Rob Davidson, who ran for Congress a few years ago. I also did the same more recently for Brian Hostika who ran for State Rep in the (old) 91st district.
3. Currently, I’m a Board Member for ROAD (which stands for: Reviving Our American Democracy). It’s a local non-partisan collection of citizens in Muskegon County. We’ve worked closely with VNP (Voters, not Politicians) on the recent re-districting maps.
Jessie Iliff List - Region 10 Vice Chair
Newayo, Isabella and Mecosta Counties
Jessie Iliff List has been a member of the Mecosta County Democratic Party for the last 15 years. She has also volunteered for Volunteers Not Politicians and actively participated in getting signatures, educating, and promoting the passage of Proposal Two- a proposal to create an Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. Later on, for the 2022 election cycle, she actively campaigned for two other proposals: Proposal Two, the Voting Rights Act, an amendment to change voting procedures to make voting more accessible, and Proposal 3, the Right to Reproductive Freedom.
Elspeth Inglis - Region 11 Vice Chair
Barry, Ionia, Montcalm and Gratiot Counties
Elspeth is retired from her career as a history educator in classrooms and museums where she also focused her work on community collaborations. Designing museum programs and projects brought her in close partnership with marginalized communities in rural and urban areas of Southwest Michigan. Ensuring a public platform in which these communities had opportunities to tell their own stories was one of Elspeth’s most satisfying aspects of her work.
She is a “dyed-in-the-wool” Democrat, a third generation American whose grandparents experienced the hardships of war, genocide and poverty. Without the aid of U.S. government programs afforded her grandparents, and her parents’ hard work, she may not have enjoyed the opportunities for a good education, healthcare and employment that she has been fortunate to have.
Elspeth is committed to working for humanitarian, democratic and Democratic ideals that are grounded in equity and compassion for all people and for good stewardship of the earth.
Michael Fields - Region 12 Vice Chair
Clare, Gladwin, Osceola, Roscommon, Ogemaw and Arenac Counties
Michael retired from Au Gres-Sims Schools after 25 years of service as an elementary teacher. Michael spent 23 years as the local MEA chair at Au Gres and 10 years as a Coordinating Chair of District 12. Currently he is the chair of Gladwin County Democratic Party where he has been living with his wife Cathryn since 2016.
Deb Wilder - Region 13 Vice Chair
Ottawa, Allegan, Van Buren and Kalamazoo Counties
I grew up in Center Line Michigan in Macomb county just a few miles from Detroit. After high school, I attended Eastern Michigan University and graduated with a BS in Special Education. I returned to EMU for my MA in Special Education. My first teaching job took me and my first husband to Sanilac County. The plan to “get tenure” and return to metro Detroit resulted in a 31 year long career for me in Sanilac ISD. During my time in Sanilac County, I learned a lot about small rural towns. We become foster parents and adopted sisters followed by the birth of our sons. I went from being a special education teacher, to consultant, to a Principal of the Sanilac Career Center and eventually the Director of Career Technical Education and Interim Superintendent for Sanilac ISD. In 1997 I married my second husband.
After our youngest son went off to MSU in 2010, we moved to the lake where my husband's family has lived for many generations in Lawrence, Michigan. Once we relocated to Van Buren county, I was hired by Kalamazoo RESA as the Principal of the special education transition Young Adult Program and eventually a part-time position as a Special Education Administrator with Heritage Southwest ISD in Cass county until I retired in 2019. During 2016, my husband and I joined a group from Berrien County protesting in front of Fred Upton’s office in St. Joseph every Tuesday for one hour. We did this for four years until the election of Joe Biden. I believe in standing up for your core beliefs and for the rights of others. This experience led me to the Van Buren Democratic Party and being elected a Precinct Delegate for Lawrence Township. I currently serve on the Van Buren County Democratic Party Executive Board as a Trustee and Co Chair of the Organization Committee. My husband and I enjoy lake living and spend countless hours hosting family and friends at our home. We also love spending time with our children and grandchildren and our two pups!
Karen Kemp - Region 14 Vice Chair
Berrien, Cass, St. Joseph and Branch
Karen started life on the family dairy farm in Mississippi, and grew up in Memphis, TN. She attended the University of Mississippi and the University of Memphis and graduated with a BS in Biology/Pre-Med. She worked for the Federal Government in Diabetes Research until marriage transplanted her to Niles, MI.
Now a 46 year resident of Berrien County, except for a 3 year period when she was a hay producer in Kentucky, she raised two daughters here and started and ran SCI Alarm, a local security company, for 33 years.
She has raised, trained, and shown American Quarter Horses in NRHA and ARHA; trained and shown American Blue Tick Coon Hounds on the bench and in them field, run 3D Archery Courses, and placed in the IBO World Championship shoot.
Presently “retired” she manages 640 acres of timberland in Mississippi, and owns a local airbnb house. She is the Chair of the South County Democratic Club, a member of the Berrien County Democratic County Committee, and 6th District, and serves on Berrien County Farm Bureau's Policy Committee, and as a state delegate.
Kristine Squiers - Region 15 Vice Chair
Calhoun, Jackson, Hillsdale, Lenawee and Monroe Counties
Hello my name is Kristine Squiers and I have a Master of Science in Psychology specializing in Industrial Organizational Psychology, a Graduate Certificate in Business Management, and a Graduate Certificate in Diversity Studies. I have lived in rural areas of Michigan much of my life.
I am the mother of an adult son with Asperger's Syndrome, a form of autism spectrum disorder, who is also a member of the MDP. During his childhood I was a single mother working in the construction industry for the flexibility of being self-employed through a contractor. I managed my son’s behavioral disorders, medications, appointments, and school IEP’s. Eventually, I withdrew him from school. I transitioned careers in 2008 back to marketing. I home schooled my son from fifth grade until he
graduated in 2016. He is a great success.
I am a small business owner, a self-employed digital marketing and social media expert, contracted out to a global company that serves healthcare providers. I have worked with a variety of industries over the years and have familiarity with industrial and agricultural markets as well as healthcare.
I have created a Certified Wildlife Habitat in my yard which provides food, water and shelter for wildlife. My entire half acre yard is in a small subdivision inspiring the neighborhood. This also includes a Monarch Way Station and a variety of blue bird houses.
I am a member of these organizations:
Michigan Alliance of Environmental and Outdoor Education
Michigan Sierra Club
Xerces Society for Invertebrate Conservation
Arbor Day Foundation
National Wildlife Federation
Curt Hamilton - Region 16 Vice Chair
Eaton, Ingham, Livingston, Clinton and Shiawassee Counties
Curt grew up in rural Washtenaw County on a small family farm that sold chicken eggs to the organic food store in Ann Arbor, way back in the 1970s. And the Ann Arbor police department would often buy a few of our German Shepard puppies for public service.
The isolation of dirt road living taught independence and responsibility. Curt’s dad always said that ‘when you borrow something from your neighbor always return it in better condition than when it was given to you’. This lesson applies to the earth that we live on for the short ‘borrowed’ time that we have been given here.
Sustainability and environmental protection are important, and Curt is involved with the Sierra Club Crossroads Group and with the Livingston County Democrats. Renewable energy (solar and wind) is important to grow in Michigan in order to maintain our healthy environment.
Curt currently lives in Howell Township, Livingston County.
Joe Gutowski - Region 18 Vice Chair
St. Clair, Lapeer, Sanilac, Tuscola and HuronCounties
Joe Gutowski is 68 years old and has spent the last 23 years of his life living in Hadley Township in Lapeer County. He was born and raised in Livonia, Michigan, at the age of 16
he began serving an electrical apprenticeship, as did his father and his grandfather. He and his wife of 43 years moved to Los Angeles shortly after marrying in 1980, and they
returned to Michigan in 2000 so Joe could take a senior management position with the worldwide corporation where he worked the last 34 years of his career, he retired in 2019.
While attending Wayne State University, Joe interned between 1974 and 1976 as a legislative agent for Common Cause, and after Common Cause announced a pioneering effort on November 5th, 1975, to introduce more truth and honesty into political campaigning by setting a code of standards for presidential candidates, he was assigned to travel with presidential candidate Morris Udall to his campaign activities to monitor his campaign’s compliance in the 1976 Presidential Election.
Since retiring, Joe has spent a great deal of time advocating for his neighbors in disputes with utilities, he has brought and continues to bring high-speed internet to the residents of Lapeer County, and personally provides aid to elderly members of his community.
Joe decided to join the Michigan Democratic Party Rural Caucus to provide assistance where needed to the many rural Democratic Party officials who work tirelessly every day
to bring meaningful change to the residents of rural Michigan.