Bryan Harrison – A little background
I have called Caledonia home since the day I was born, August 1, 1968.
My father, Bill Harrison, was the agriculture teacher and tennis coach at Caledonia High School. My mother, Judy (Burgess) was a Caledonia High graduate and built a successful insurance business here. I am their third child. We lived in a small apartment overlooking Emmons Lake and Caledonia Lakeside Park. My mother would push me in a stroller down Main Street after my baths and before my bedtime. I still enjoy an evening stroll down Main Street and into the par.
When I was about a year old, it became clear the Harrison family was outgrowing our apartment home and my parents bought 13 acres out on Morse Lake Road. Here my brother, sister and I raised and rode horses, bought and sold 4H beef steers, and wandered the surrounding farms, fields and forests looking for adventure. I ran a trap line along a few miles of the creek that ran through our property and made a pretty good living (for a kid) off of muskrat, mink, and raccoon hides.
As I grew older, I was able to work at neighbor’s farms baling hay, feeding animals and “mucking” stalls. Mucking stalls would prepare me for work in politics in more ways than you can imagine. Today, many of these farms are now subdivisions and neighborhoods. And while I may at times get nostalgic for the wide open spaces of the “good old days” I never forget that those farms were owned by the farmer and his family who had every right to sell their property and make a profit. No different than you and I hoping to sell our home.
Working on these farms, I saved nearly every dime I earned and still have my original “bank book” from the State Bank of Caledonia - now Chemical Bank- where I would watch my fortune grow. Years of working after school and summers would allow me to pay for my two years at Grand Rapids Community College without loans or debt. It was then on to Michigan State University, where I would earn my bachelor degree and learn to be a Spartan fan through good times and bad.
While away to college I met and married a girl. I always knew I wanted to come back home to Caledonia so when Kaitlin, my daughter, was born, we made an offer on a little piece of dirt here in the township and built our first home. And I mean we literally built it. We put a lot of sweat equity into that place. Not long after, my son Jake was born. Today we live on a bend on the Thornapple River a couple miles from our first home. You might say I never went very far. Caledonia is a great place to call home.
I have served my hometown as township supervisor since 2000.
From the moment that I became Supervisor I had a number of goals:
• Maintain a common sense, conservative approach to local government.
• Preserve our rural atmosphere and quality of life through a policy of controlled growth and wise land use decisions.
• Remember that every dollar we spend, we must first take from a local family or business.
• Represent the citizens of Caledonia Township professionally and with mutual respect.
What have you accomplished?
Before I list accomplishments made during my service, I want to give recognition to my fellow Board members, the Township staff and to the Township citizens. Without their support several of these projects probably would not have materialized. There are so many things that come to mind but I will only touch on a few items that I feel have had the most positive and long-lasting effect on the Township.
*Balanced Budgets and Conservative Fiscal Policy
*Trails, parks and open space
*New Library and Expanded Hours-
* Smarter Smaller Government and the Yellow Pages Test