After months of saying he plans to seek a seventh, and final, term as Oakland County executive, L. Brooks Patterson formally announced his campaign Thursday, April 7.

Patterson, 77, was first elected in 1992 after a long stint as Oakland County Prosecutor.

“I think Oakland County residents know how much I have enjoyed representing and fighting for them over the years and I look forward to fighting for them for four more years,” he said in a press release announcing his campaign.

Democrats Vicki Barnett, the former mayor of Farmington Hills and state representative; and Mark Danowski, of Davisburg, are also seeking the office. They will face off in a May primary election.

Republican candidates besides Patterson have filed to seek the county’s highest elected office. The filing deadline is April 19.

In recent years, Patterson has won reelection by a wide margin, claiming nearly 60 percent of the vote in 2008 and 2012, months after he was severely injured in an automobile crash which limits his mobility today.

Patterson oversees an annual county budget of more than $826 million and a county workforce of nearly 4,300 full- and part-time employees.

Since 2004, Patterson’s Emerging Sectors initiative has transitioned the county’s economy from a reliance on manufacturing-based employment to a knowledge-based economy, which has generated nearly $3.5 billion of total investment and retained a total of 62,000 jobs.

The county has maintained a AAA bond rating since 1998 and has also been credited as the nation’s best-run county by Moody’s Investor Services.

Oakland County has implemented the nation’s first rolling three-year budgeting practice at the county level.

“Our excellence in budgeting and our embracing of the knowledge-based economy has placed us in a national leadership role,” Patterson said.

The county also has a fully funded employee pension and health care for its retirees, issues which have caused financial strain on governments across the country.

Patterson has also launched a number of health-related initiatives and events, including the annual Brooksie Way, named after his late son.

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