By next Wednesday, Ingham County will have elected its first female prosecutor. Billie Jo O’Berry, a Republican, is running against Carol Siemon, a Democrat.

It will also be the first time since the mid-'90s that the seat won't be held by an elected incumbent, Stuart Dunnings III.

O’Berry, 61, is an assistant city attorney for Lansing. Siemon, 59, has worked in the offices of other Ingham County Prosecutors as well as in legal positions for various state agencies.

Siemon told City Pulse in August that she would work to expand specialty courts, like those serving persons struggling with addiction or veterans. O’Berry said she was interested in creating a public defender’s office for the county — a costly proposal at a time county commissioners are looking at cutting the budget.

Both candidates were critical of the state of Michigan’s current medical marijuana law and called for expediency in clarifying the role and legality of dispensaries in the state. O’Berry said that she believed the dispensaries were operating illegally and that if elected, she would likely move to shut them all down. (The state has since passed measures to regulate dispensaries.)


Siemon beat three Democrats for the nomination in August, while O’Berry bettered a sole challenger.

Whoever wins will oversee a budget of $5.9 million and supervise the prosecution of felonies in the county.

Siemon outpaced O’Berry in fundraising for the race, according to campaign finance reports filed Friday. Siemon raised $91,789 to O’Berry’s total of $15,870. O’Berry had $5,017 on hand, while Siemon had $18,165 on hand.

Dunnings resigned in disgrace after being arrested on numerous charges related to frequenting commercial sex workers. He is awaiting sentencing after agreeing to a plea bargain. Former state Senate Democratic Leader Gretchen Whitmer was selected to serve as the interim prosecutor until January, when her successor is sworn in.