Gwen Markham’s family and friends weren’t surprised when she told them she was running for Oakland County Commissioner.
“I was born and raised in Pontiac in a political family. This is my dad,” she said, pointing to a black and white photo of her father, Daniel T. Murphy. “He was Oakland County’s first County Executive. He had the job before Brooks Patterson.”
The current Novi resident grew up making the necessary political rounds – chicken dinners, pancake breakfasts, parades. Now, to promote her own campaign, the Democratic candidate has been knocking on doors and getting out to meet voters. She is vying to unseat incumbent Kathy Crawford in the to serve as Oakland County Commissioner in the 9th District, which includes a portion of Northville and the city of Novi.
“I think we need to make things happen so we can put people to work right here in Oakland County who are here wanting to work – veterans, young adults,” she said. “Those are the two groups that are struggling very much right now to be employed with the skills that they have.”
Markham said she’s running because she feels the current administration falls short of delivering on the county’s potential.
“I think Oakland County’s current leadership has been somewhat complacent. They have rested on their reputation. They’re comfortable with an idea that says we’re the best but they’re not looking forward like they should be,” she said. “Oakland County was the leading county in terms of technology, community support, quality of life.”
One of her big goals, if elected, aside from helping to stimulate job creation, is to improve transportation within the county.
“Our communities should be more easily linked for the residents, the businesses, the tourists, the employees and employers. I’m not talking about light rail or something. I’m talking about a comprehensive plan.”
She’s hoping that means better roads, bike paths, buses, senior vans and maybe even light rail. Oakland County has the potential to generate jobs by improving its transportation system, Markham said.
Markham also said that if elected, she’d like to create more opportunities for investors, prospective businesses and employees.
She is a graduate of Western Michigan University, a chemistry major. She has worked in the auto and defense industry. Markham moved back to Michigan and has lived in Novi for the past 17 years with her husband, Dr. Bruce Markham. She has two children.
She is a former volunteer in Northville Public Schools, where her children attended school. She also previously served on Novi’s Planning Commission. She has been endorsed by the .
“I also have, I believe a unique and varied background,” she said. “I want to change things.”