Family matters in Ingham County sheriff election

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Scott Wriggelsworth

Scott Wriggelsworth

By Taylor Reid
MI First Election

While many kids dream about following in their parents’ footsteps, East Lansing police Det. Lt. Scott Wriggelsworth is ready to make his childhood aspiration a reality. His father, Gene Wriggelsworth, is retiring after 28 years as Ingham County sheriff, and he is endorsing Scott Wriggelsworth as his replacement.

“Obviously, I’m biased, but Scott has been in the police force for almost 25 years. He’s worked every position in Lansing, and he’s very qualified,” said the sheriff.

Scott Wriggelsworth’s run for office has been 10 years in the making. His first dabble in politics was sitting on a school board for six years. The experience taught him valuable lessons about working for a community. The 46-year-old is confident he has the qualities that will make for an effective sheriff.

“I’ve been dedicated to this community. I’m forward-thinking, and I have leadership skills,” said Scott Wriggelsworth. “I hold people accountable. I’m good at figuring out when they’re lying, and I have a lot of respect for people in general.”

What would Scott Wriggelsworth be like as sheriff? As it turns out, not much different from his father, he says.

“I’m not going to do things totally different from my dad,” said Scott Wriggelsworth. “It’s foolish to do things for the sake of change. I just think I can add a fresh perspective.”
Although Gene Wriggelsworth never pressured his son to pursue this career, he has been giving him advice.

Gene Wriggelsworth

Gene Wriggelsworth

“We talk about it daily,” said Gene Wriggelsworth. “Personally, I think the best thing I ever did in my career was hiring good people. It’s been great to see them succeed. Scott will have good people around him.”

“The best advice my dad told me is that this is a partisan position, so politics play a huge role,” said Scott Wriggelsworth. “I’m running as a Democrat. You can’t make everyone happy, or you’d drive yourself crazy.”

According to Marie Wicks, the city clerk of East Lansing, Scott Wriggelsworth currently has no competition.

“The filing deadline is April 19. I don’t know of anyone else planning to run,” said Wicks.
Nevertheless, Scott Wriggelsworth began campaigning in January 2015, and he has already raised $34,000.

“I braved a blizzard to go to two political fundraisers. My main strategy is communication. I’m working on television ads right now,” said Scott Wriggelsworth. “I’m married with four children. Plus, I’m a coach, and baseball season is flaring up. It’s a lot of work, but it’ll be worth it.”

Scott Wriggelsworth’s best advantage might be his father. The pair plan to knock on doors together to educate voters about Scott Wriggelsworth, and Gene Wriggelsworth handed over his list of supporters to his son.

Scott Wriggelsworth might sound like a shoo-in for the position, but Gene Wriggelsworth said that Republican candidates often join the race late. Democrats have held the sheriff’s office for almost three decades.

While Scott Wriggelsworth prepares for the Nov. 8 election, Gene Wriggelsworth is planning for his life in retirement.

“It’s coming at me like a freight train,” said Gene Wriggelsworth. “I look forward to more leisure time, but I’m not going to roll over. I’m going to do volunteer work, like Habitat for Humanity. Yeah, that sounds nice.”

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