County Candidates Night showcases candidates and issues
By Alberta Stojkovic –
An otherwise calm and peaceable candidates’ night came alive at the end of the evening Monday in a brief, heated questioning of U.S. Representative Pat Tiberi.
Tiberi was first asked if he agreed with candidate Romney on his position concerning trade with China. Tiberi answered that our U.S. manufacturers are often competing with China on unfair terms. He cited a concerned businessman in Marion, Ohio who told him about the many clean energy EPA regulations he has recently been forced to deal with. Tiberi noted that China does not have to deal with these same regulations. And furthermore, much more coal is now being shipped to China. Tiberi said the Marion businessman, who fears for the future of his business, is the employer of 250 workers.
One man in the crowd of about 70 at the candidates’ night stood up and questioned Tiberi’s arguments. He asked if Tiberi would have us go back to having dirty air with no regulations like China. Tiberi said no, he would not go back to having dirty air, but we can’t continue to close factories and not have fair competition. When asked what he would do, Tiberi said heatedly, “Stop. Stop the regulations.”
Several local issues got special attention. Superintendent, Brian Petrie of Cardington Lincoln Schools spoke with conviction about the importance of the Cardington Schools .75% Income Tax Levy for current expenses. He emphasized that the issue is only on earned income. The tax is not applied to retirement benefits, rental, interest, military or estate earnings. Petrie noted that the district has reduced spending four years in a row. The cuts from state and federal spending have brought a major challenge to the local districts.
“Schools and communities are tied together,” noted Petrie. If we let our schools slip away, our community will follow. Families will look outside of our district if the local school does not keep up in excellence.”
Fourteen candidates attended the program and had the opportunity to make a three minute statement about their qualifications and position on issues. Most were unopposed with the exception of County Commissioner Candidates Richard J. “Dick” Miller and Glenda G. Wilson for Term 1/02/13; John Gersper for Commissioner, unexpired term ending 12/31/14; Jeff McClain for State Representative and Pat Tiberi for U.S. Senate. Hollis Howland and Nelson Hack read from the positions of the candidates for Ohio Supreme Court.
Sheriff Steve Brenneman, who is running unopposed for his third term, asked the audience for support of the 1 mill levy for the Morrow County-All Precincts Sheriff Office for operating, maintenance and repair. He noted that the department has just three officers per shift with only two on the road. There are two vehicles that need replaced and the jail needs repairs. He appealed to the crowd that the safety and well-being of the county should be considered and asked them to vote for the sheriff’s levy.
Morrow County Engineer Randy Bush appealed to the crowd to support the Motor Vehicle License Tax which is only $10 per each vehicle. He approximated that this would bring in $300,000 to the county for roads and bridges. Bush noted that the amount from the county general fund for roads is limited to only $3,000. Most of their income is from gas tax, but that has decreased over the past few years by 7–10% due to people buying less gas. At the same time the cost of construction and materials has gone up significantly.
Bush gave the example of the bridge being built on Co. Rd. 9 by Edison. The cost of the bridge is $505,000. $261,000 is from a grant and the rest is from the county road funds.
“We don’t have the retail business like Delaware and other counties do to generate money.
This $10 license is a first step,” Bush said.
Bush got a chuckle from the crowd when he said, “I can’t print money like they do in Washington, D.C.”
Commissioner Candidate, Dick Miller noted his business experience in banking, real estate and at Consolidated Electric. He received his degree in business from Fisher Business College. When asked whether he would support the five levies in the county, he said he would because if all of them passed it would mean that money would not be taken out of the general fund.
Miller said that as the county continues to grow it is important to train leaders for the future. He would like to work to bring experts together and to study what the needs are to bring business in to the county. He would like to obtain scholarships to train leaders to understand economic, structural, and strategic needs for development.
Commissioner Candidate, John Gersper said he agreed with Tom Harden’s earlier point that the development of the county infrastructure is important.
“But we can’t sit and wait for the federal and national government to help us,” Gersper said. “The local government funds have been cut in half from the state. That is why we’re having to run all these local levies.”
Gersper said a major part of his plan is that we have to buy local first. He believes Commissioners must buy local first and not give contracts to vendors out of the county. Gersper wants the county to make a strategic plan, to encourage new business and to have local job referrals. He said he hopes to prevent landfills and eliminate immoral influences in the county.
Gersper is a U.S. Navy Veteran, a father of five and grandfather. He added that he is an ordained Christian minister and a jobs expert.
Glenda Wilson worked for nine years in the Morrow County Auditor’s office. She has attended the commissioner’s meetings over the past year and believes she understands the issues facing the Morrow County Budget. She had 12 years banking experience and is a former small business owner.
Wilson said she would like to see the various departments and offices in the county working together and would like to work toward that instead of having all the county offices competing with one another.
Wilson said when it comes to encouraging jobs and economic growth, she would start small. She has begun looking into small businesses that would sell shoes, clothing or other goods such as Wal-Mart.
“We should not have to leave the county for shoes and other basic goods,” Wilson said.
The program was planned by the Morrow County Tea Party. Committee members included: Nelson Hack, Annette Hack, Andy Katona, Duane Rasey, Carla O’Brien, and Charles Giauque. Moderator was Mills Poorman, prayer was given by Pastor Patrick Kelly and Pledge of Allegiance led by Duane Rasey.
Candidate for Recorder, Dixie Shinaberry drew enthusiastic applause when she thanked voters for taking the time to come out for the meeting.
“Look for the character and integrity of the candidates – whether they are Republican or Democrat and then vote what is in your heart,” Shinaberry said.