State Rep. Ray Franz of Onekama was first elected in November 2010 to the Michigan House to represent the residents of Leelanau, Benzie, Manistee and Mason counties. He is currently serving his third term in the Michigan Legislature.
Franz chairs the House Committee on Regulatory Reform and is also a member of the committees on Communications and Technology, Agriculture and Insurance.
A graduate of Salesian High School in Detroit, Ray attended the University of Detroit until drafted into the United States Army. He served one tour of duty in Vietnam, 1968-1970, and was awarded the Bronze Star Award.
Moving his young family to Manistee County in 1978, Franz purchased Kenny’s Market in Onekama, later renaming it Franz Market. Ray operated that store for 30 years until it sold in 2008. In 1998, Franz, along with his partners, opened a second grocery store in Bear Lake. Franz operated that store for 11 years before selling it in 2009. Franz continues to own and operate a small business, Portage Lake Mini Storage, located in Onekama.
He was first appointed to the Onekama Village Council in 1979, and then served almost 30 years, including serving as village president from 2000 to 2006. Franz has also served his community as deputy township supervisor, chaired the local tax board of review, and was a licensed sewer lagoon operator. Additionally, Franz has served on the Onekama and Bear Lake Village Fire Departments for the past 30 years, including four as chief. He also is a charter member of the Medical First Responders. He continues his service on both the Onekama and Bear Lake Fire Departments and as a Medical First Responder, answering over 200 calls in 2009.
Franz raised two sons and was active in the local school district serving as the junior varsity football coach, and later as a five-sport official. He attends St. Joseph Catholic Church in Onekama. Franz is a lifetime member of the VFW and National Rifle Association. He also belongs to the Manistee County Chamber of Commerce.