A 31-year resident of Macomb Township, Clifford W. Freitas is running for his first term as a township trustee.
Freitas, 39, is one of seven Republican candidates vying for the township's four trustee posts. He previously served on the Macomb Township Zoning Board of Appeals.
A project manager at Interek, Inc., Freitas is also the co-owner of Bouncin’ Kidz Moonwalk Rental & More.
Freitas is the father of two and an avid supporter of the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research.
Macomb Patch recently spoke with Freitas to learn more about the resident looking to become a first-term township trustee.
Patch: Why have you chosen to run for township trustee?
Freitas: I have always been interested in politics and political office and I would like very much to serve my community as trustee. I can tell you that I do not have a hidden agenda for running for Trustee. I am not involved in any lawsuit involving the township, nor am I a career politician. I truly want to represent my community and neighbors, and be a strong voice for all of us.
My high school government teacher and track coach at Eisenhower, Mr. Downs, provided me with my introduction to the political system. I have remained current and knowledgeable on national and local events. I would like very much to be involved with and be a part of decision-making at our local level as Trustee of Macomb Township.
Patch: Why do you feel you are qualified for the position of trustee?
Freitas: My qualifications for Trustee of Macomb Township include, but are not limited to, my volunteerism and activism within the Township, my service and love of my country, and my experience and education. I also feel that my place on the Macomb Township Zoning Board of Appeals has helped prepared me for the challenge.
My education background includes an Associate’s degree and a Bachelor’s degree in Business. I will have all coursework for my MBA completed and will graduate this December 2012. I have also completed the Citizen Planning Program from Michigan State University.
Patch: What changes or improvements would you make if elected?
Freitas: If elected, I intend to continue to move the Township forward in a positive direction, positive for the residents and positive for the businesses. I would like to improve upon offerings and opportunities for special needs children and adults.
My wife and I have been caregivers for four family members now, and as difficult as that is in all aspects, it has made me respect and understand the aging process. I feel it is important to continue to maintain and improve upon senior programs while they are young enough to enjoy them. I would like to begin by listening to this important constituency group about what is important to them and their needs are.
Patch: Of what personal and professional accomplishments are you most proud?
Freitas: I am most proud of my immediate family, including my wife of 17 years, Rayna, and our two sons, Chandler and Harmon. I am proud to have served my country in the United States Air Force during Operation Southern Watch. I am also proud of my education thus far, because my father always told me, “No one can take your education away from you.”
One of my goals has always been to own my own business, which I have accomplished this year! My wife and I recently purchased Bouncin’ Kidz, a Macomb Township small business providing moonwalks, inflatables, and concession items for party rental.
Patch: Is there one individual who has been most influential in your life?
Freitas: A number of people have been influential in my life, but my uncle Russell Schroeder was probably the most influential person, now that I think about it. After becoming unemployed in Michigan many years ago, he chose to take a risk and move his family to New Jersey, where he now owns several warehouses of a rental business and is very successful. When I was in high school, I was able to go to New Jersey and work for him and his company in the summers. I learned a lot about business, hard work, loyalty, and success. I also learned that one day I would like to own my own business, too.
Patch: What are key ways Macomb residents can make a difference locally?
Freitas: I would like to encourage each and every resident to get involved in our community! If we make volunteerism a family affair, we could get more people involved, thereby making more of a difference. During community clean-up efforts, even small children can be encouraged to help pick up litter or pull weeds to make theareas more beautiful for all.
Bringing more neighborhood watch involvement in our Township would make a difference in the safety of our citizens and our children.
The is one worthwhile organization that I have been involved with. I would like to see residents take time out of their busy schedules and reach out, become more involved.
Patch: What do you like most about the Macomb Township community? Do you have a favorite place in Macomb?
Freitas: Macomb Township is the community in which we have chosen to raise our young family. My parents raised us in one of the first subdivisions in the area, back when there were lots of farms and most of the roads were dirt! The community of Macomb Township is special to me because of the people. Township residents and neighbors are friendly, supportive of each other and share similar values.
While I enjoy spending time at the outdoor parks and the , the recent addition of the Macomb Township Veterans and First Responders Memorial Monument is my favorite spot in Macomb. We have made it a tradition to visit the Monument at least annually on Memorial Day with my own father and my sons to pay tribute to those who have lost their lives in the ultimate sacrifice. I believe it is important to instill the values of patriotism and service in today’s youth.
Patch: What are your hobbies, or interests?
Freitas: I have always been interested in woodworking and woodcarving. My two sons and I enjoy working together in my woodshop making items for friends, family, charity, and for sale. We have donated numerous hand painted retirement plaques, firefighter maltese crosses, military shadow boxes, Michigan (“mitten”)-shaped cutting boards, and other items to local charity causes.
Most people have a “favorite” charity or cause, and mine is the International Foundation for CDKL5 Research. My very dear niece is affected with this rare genetic disorder, characterized in part by seizures, developmental impairment, and inconsolable crying. Supporting this organization and just trying to get funding for this research is dear to my heart. I am very active in supporting CDKL5 as well as , in the Macomb Intermediate School District, when I can. The 4th Annual Walkathon for CDKL5 Research is being held at Richmond High School Track on Saturday, August 4, 2012.
Any time spent with my family is special time to me. I enjoy golfing with my father and brothers, swimming, weekend barbequing, and going up north to the family cottage in Lexington.
Macomb Patch intends to interview all candidates with ties to, or oversight of Macomb Township. Come back Friday as we profile another trustee candidate. All candidate interviews and election information is available in our Election 2012 guide.