Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson Announces Cancer Diagnosis
(Crystal A. Proxmire, March 26, 2019)
Waterford, MI- Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson announced Tuesday afternoon that he has been diagnosed with stage 4 Pancreatic Cancer.
Patterson will not be resigning from his position, but will instead take time off for treatment and to be with his family. “There is an 11% chance that we’ll walk away,” he said. “I intend to be part of that 11%… I’m strong enough to go into the fight.” Patterson praised his administrative team and noted that Deputy Executive Director Gerald D. Poisson had his cell number if he needed it.
“My family, obviously, is standing by me,” he said.
The 80-year-old Oakland Township resident served as Oakland County Prosecutor for 16 years before being elected County Executive in 1992.
He is not planning on running again. “I’d be silly to speak for another four years, given what I’m going through,” he said.
Patterson said he does plan on finishing his term. “This is not goodbye. This is just the announcement of a shitty card I’ve been dealt, and intended to play out,” Patterson said. “I have every intention of coming back.”
With the 2020 election still over a year away, only one candidate has announced their intent to run. Oakland County Treasurer Andy Meisner, a Democrat, made his official announcement on March 5.
“I am saddened to hear about Brooks’ health,” Meisner said. “He has made serving Oakland County his life’s work, and his leadership has impacted nearly every element of our region. I stand ready to help him steward the County in the coming months and wish him peace and comfort.”
Democrat Dave Woodward is the Chair of the Oakland County Board of Commissioners, and a rumored potential candidate for the Executive position. He released a statement Tuesday afternoon, saying”My thoughts and prayers are with Brooks and his family as he faces this new challenge. Despite political differences over the years, like just about everyone in Oakland County, I respect L. Brooks Patterson’s tremendous capacity to hang tough and give back as good as he gets. There’s no doubt he will bring that trademark Brooks tenacity to this fight, and we are all with him on this one. As Brooks said, we are going to keep Oakland County the leader in the nation that we are.”
Michael Gingell, Chair of the Republican Caucus, stated “I am saddened by the news today. My thoughts and prayers go out to the Patterson family. I have known Brooks for many years and know that he is a fighter and a great leader. I am confident he will continue to lead Oakland County in an exemplary manner and I am committed to working through this situation with him and his leadership team.”
If a vacancy were to occur in the county executive office, Chief Deputy County Executive Poisson would take the constitutional oath of office and serve as county executive until the Oakland County Board of Commissioners appoints a successor or until a special election is held as provided by law (see Public Act 139 of 1973, Section 45.559a).
If the board of commissioners elects to appoint a successor, the appointment shall be made no later than 30 days from the date of the vacancy. A county executive appointed by the board of commissioners shall serve until the next general election. If the board of commissioners does not make an appointment within 30 days, a special election shall be held at the earliest possible date allowed by the law.