A local man is now seeking election as a county commissioner after previously announcing a bid for a place in the state legislature.
John Gonta, a Monroe-based attorney, withdrew his candidacy for the newly formed 30th District representative position.
A Republican, Gonta will now seek a seat on the Monroe County Board of Commissioners. He is vying for the seat representing District 6.
“Although I went from state representative to running for county commissioner, my values haven’t changed,” Gonta said. “I continue to promote the ideas of smaller government, less red tape, and I refuse to accept donations for There is no outside influence here; what you see is what you get, and what you get is my commitment to reducing bureaucracy.”
District 6 represents portions of the City of Monroe and the Townships of Monroe and Frenchtown. He is currently represented by Democrat Sharon LeMasters, who defeated Gonta’s previous bid for the seat in 2020. LeMasters, a former Monroe County Deeds Clerk/Registrar, won by a narrow margin – just over a hundred votes.
Gonta said he made the decision in light of additional Republican candidates joining the race for District 30.
These candidates represent strong Republican values, he said, adding that the recent redistricting also factored into his choice.
In 2018, Michigan voters approved a ballot measure to create an independent Citizens Redistricting Commission. After the census is taken every ten years, legislative districts are redrawn to reflect changing demographic trends.
The ballot initiative shifted responsibility for redrawing those districts from the Legislature and Governor to the commission, which includes private citizens from both major parties and independents.
New maps were recently unveiled, creating new districts in the state and federal governments. In the Legislative Assembly, residents of Monroe County were previously represented by two districts.
The new maps now divide the county into four distinct districts, grouping the communities into districts comprising municipalities from neighboring Lenawee, Washtenaw and Wayne counties.
Gonta said when he initially launched his campaign for the Legislative Assembly, he did so with the idea that he would run in the former 17th District, which is currently represented by Republican Joe Bellino of Monroe. .
The former district included the city of Monroe and extended to communities just north of Monroe County in Wayne. The new 30th District is geographically very different, Gonta said.
“It is important to note that when I originally opened my campaign committee for state representative, it was for District 17, and it did not extend south of Jones Avenue in Monroe,” said he added. “Due to redistricting, the area now extends to the Ohio line. District 30 is a very different district than District 17.”
Gonta is an Army National Guard veteran. He served on active and reserve duty for over 14 years, including at the former Monroe Armory. He was awarded the Army Medal of Honor for his service as a recruiting sergeant.
He is a member of the Republican National Lawyers Association and a member of the Monroe County Republican Party Board of Directors. He is also a member of the Monroe Chamber of Commerce and serves as a defense attorney with the Monroe County Veterans Court.
Gonta holds a law degree from Michigan State University and master’s degrees from Wayne State and Eastern Michigan universities.
Gonta said he loves living and working in Monroe County and wants to bring his strong Republican voice to the county council. He will also advocate to make council meetings and decisions more accessible to the community.
“One of the first resolutions I will work on when elected is to broadcast the committee meeting on YouTube; that way the public can see from home exactly what the commission does or doesn’t do for them,” Gonta said. “People have the right to access these procedures to enable effective public oversight through modern technology.”