Candidates in their own words: Licking County
To help readers make their choices on Nov. 6, the Beacon surveyed all candidates in contested lake-area races. Participation was voluntary. Surveys were sent to the addresses listed by the appropriate county board of elections. All surveys were ultimately delivered to each candidate.
Non-judical candidates were asked to explain, in 150 words or less, what they believe are the two most important issues facing the officethey are seeking and how they would address those issues. The second question asked candidates to explain in 50 words or less why they should receive your vote.
Word limits are strictly observed so some responses my have been edited to meet the limits. Not all candidates responded in the requested format. In those cases, we are reprinting their response up to the maximum 200 words. Candidates were asked not to specificallycomment about opponents and none did.
Judical candidates were asked about their qualificationsfor the bench and why voters should support them. Licking County
Municipal Court Judge (one to be elected)
Michael F. Higgins
1. My greatest qualificationsare experience and education. In my 17 years as your Municipal Court judge, I have presided over thousands of criminal, traffic and civil cases.In spite of everincreasing filings in the Court, my docket is current. I have been fiscally responsible in the administration of Municipal Court; there are fewer employees today than there were fiveyears ago. I am an innovative Judge, authoring the Licking County Municipal Court Diversion Program and the Freedom Program, offering in-jail alcohol education.
I have been a lawyer for 30 years, admitted to practice in all Ohio courts and the U.S Supreme Court. I was a Municipal Court prosecutor for 12 years and was Buckeye Lake's first Law Director. I take yearly continuing legal education courses at the Ohio Judicial College. You have elected me on three occasions and
respectfully ask for your vote on November 6th.
2. EXPERIENCE! I have many years of legal education and on-the-job training as Municipal Court Judge. In spite of mounting case loads and budget cuts, the court is functioning smoothly, in a fiscally responsible manner. I judge cases fairly and impartially and treat all in my courtroom with respect and dignity.
Richard P. Wright
1. I grew up and live on a family farm near Brownsville. I graduated from Sheridan in 1978, Ohio State 1982, and Capital Law School in 1987. I maintain a general practice of law with extensive experience in the types of cases that come before the Municipal Court, including OVI, DUS, evictions and civil cases. I served as an Acting Judge in the Municipal Court from 1996-2006. During my twenty years of trial practice in Licking and surrounding counties I have developed good working relationships with law enforcement and Court personnel. A judge needs to be fair but firm. He needs to be patient and listen to all sides of a case while keeping a crowded docket moving. I have managed a law practice for twenty years and I am used to multi tasking. I would bring the same attitude and work ethic to serving as your Municipal Court Judge.
2. I am asking the voters to support me because I believe we need to improve our Court system to keep up with the growth and changes in Licking County and I can bring a fresh perspective and new ideas to the Municipal Court. Make the Wright choice Nov. 6.
Clerk of Court (one to be elected)
1. Experience- I am the only candidate with hands on experience. I have served as Chief Deputy of the Municipal Court for over fiveyears. Prior to serving in this capacity, I was Chief Deputy Clerk of the Common Pleas Court for seven years. Over the years I have managed records in thousands of traffic, criminal, and civil cases. My constant communication with the public, judges and attorneys has been essential to ensure the quality service of the court.
Public Access- The Clerk is responsible for maintaining records and making those records available to the citizens. I have taken a lead role in making court information available to the public online. This service is used by a variety of people and organizations including parents, schools, churches, and employers. As my experience has shown I am committed to staying on the cutting edge of technology to better serve this community.
2. Voters should support me because I am the candidate with the experience and the knowledge required for the position. I am dedicated to provide the citizens of Licking County with unmatched professionalism and a sincere passion for the job. My years of experience make me uniquely qualified for the position.
Marcia J. Phelps
1. The clerk is responsible for maintaining the public records on all court cases, collecting and distributing fines, court costs and fees associated with these cases. Accurate record keeping is VITAL. I believe there is no excuse for delayed or lost filings. I will ensure all citizens are treated with respect. Each person will receive prompt, effective and professional service. My public and private professional experience as an officemanager and an administrator affords me the knowledge and hands on experience to be your Municipal Court Clerk. I will bring my business administration background to the officeof Clerk. My management expertise and can do attitude will revitalize the officeoperations. I have listed more than two issues, however they are the issues that are important to managing the officeof Municipal Court Clerk, and issues important to you, the citizens. Thank you for voting for Marcia J. Phelps.
2. I have a proven record as a full-time elected officeholder. As your County Commissioner for eleven years, I have a proven record of serving you the citizens. I will continue working full time, bringing my officemanagement and business administrative expertise to the officeof Municipal Clerk.
Village of Buckeye Lake
(four to be elected)
Saundra Kay Allen
Withdrew, but name will still appear on the ballot
Drew A. Bourne Did not respond
Charlene C. Hayden
1. The most important issue for any village officialin Buckeye Lake is to determine the best-case scenario (Village owned, Millersport, or Hebron) for bringing a public water system into our community. As soon as all the data needed to make that decision is available, I will weigh the cost of the systems and the time needed to build each system. Time is an important factor to consider in view of the costs associated with inflation. The second most important issue for the Village is planning for development. I attend as many Planning Commission meetings as possible to keep up to date with regards to potential new development. I also try to educate myself on ways to make sure development becomes a positive experience for a community by attending workshops and seminars and by going to meetings held by the Buckeye Lake Regional Planning and Information Exchange.
2. In addition to the background knowledge and experience I have gained over the past few years on council, I also bring a positive influence to council and the village. I look at all sides of an issue or concern and decisions based on data and common sense.
Hilde E. Hildebrandt
1. The biggest issue facing Buckeye Lake Village is providing water for all residents. Some people feel that we don't need this but there are many people in the community who do not have good water. As a council member and Chair of the Village Finance Committee, I look at the bottom line for bringing water into the village. We are trying very hard to provide this water for the most inexpensive way. I will press for the most economical, fastest way to provide for this great need.
We are in the midst of a growth boom and we need to look at what the safety issues are within the village, for example, the needs for EMS, firecoverage, and police protection. I am consistently looking at the expenditures of these departments to insure that
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Hilde E. Hildebrandt cont.
the village is getting full value of the protection coverage.
2. With many years in the financial field, I have the knowledge and experience to insure that the villagers are getting the most coverage for their tax dollars. care about the village, having lived here for 23 years. I want growth to be an asset to this great community.
Jeryne A. Peterson
Water is something that we are all tired of hearing about and not seeing many results. I too, would like to see our Village have water. Affordable water, I feel is the key issue. I am currently working on this enormous project along with the other Council members and our mayor. It all sounds so easy--why not just run a pipe from one of our neighbors, Hebron or Millersport or supply our own water? I wish it were that simple for everyone concerned. However, this is not an easy task. First, we have to build a distribution system regardless of where we get our water source from. assure you that we are working on supplying affordable water to our community. Increasing communication between the elected officials of The Village and the people of Buckeye Lake is extremely important, which I will address if re-elected.
A quarterly newsletter (similar to Baltimores) with updates from the Mayor, Police, and Fire Dept., Council, and other commissions of the Village would be helpful in keeping communications open and would help dispel rumors. This will be top priority if re-elected to the Buckeye Lake Village Council.
My name is Donna Thompson. I've been here since 1947. I would like you to support me in the Nov. election for Council. I do not have
crystal ball or do I have a magic wand. I do listen to you folks. And, I will work hard for you. hear you loud and clear.
I want to get good clean water for us as soon as possible. We need a full-time police department, more activities for our kids, good streets, and a better Village. But most of all, I want to keep our cost down.
But folks, this is a two-way street. We also need for you to get involved. We need you to help with all projects.
Let's all work together. I can't promise you everything, but I promise you one thing. I will keep my word, and work for you.
Village of Hebron Council (two to be elected)
Robert Dale Burns Did not respond
John M. Fry 1. I believe it is essential to keep in mind the future growth
John M. Fry of Hebron. I believe it is important to be ready for the inevitable and Hebron is well on its way in preparing for economic growth. It is imperative to make sure the village has a viable source of water and waste water treatment. Also, the village must have the necessary fireand police coverage. Finally, the village must have adequate zoning regulations to guide residential and commercial development. Currently, village council members, village employees, and some citizens of Hebron are working on a comprehensive plan for Hebron. The comprehensive planning will be based on the community's input and I believe an elected official's voice should represent the people. I look forward to the future of Hebron. However, I never want to see the village loose the small town look and personality that I love so much.
2. I have a deep desire to serve. Humility and servitude are important characteristics for officials. Upon returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom, I was appointed to village council following a vacancy. I believe officials should make sound decisions, taking an account of all perspectives and keeping constituent's best interests in mind.
Robert T. Gilbert
Did not respond
Village of Kirkersville
Terry W. Ashcraft
1. It is my strong opinion that many of the financial spending issues for the Village of Kirkersville are being made without consideration of it's residents. For example, the recent water proposal seems to be an uninformed and unorganized project that is being pushed through regardless of cost to tax payers in monthly fees, connection costs and other expenses that may be incurred. This project could be a financial burden to many of Kirkersville's citizens. I feel that a fair and anonymous survey should be conducted that does not include unreturned or unanswered surveys as a yes vote for the water project.
Secondly, is the condition of the Village streets. All streets and drainage problems, not just a select few, should be improved for the betterment of the entire Village and it's citizens. Why not extend that service to all tax paying residents instead of making improvements near select town officials?
2. It is very important to me that all decisions made as mayor are not for personal benefit but rather to benefit the Village and it's residents. This includes reckless spending and poor financial choices that have little or no positive impact on the Village of Kirkersville or it's townspeople.
Bennie J. Evans, Jr. Did not respond
(two to be elected) Steve Martin Did not respond
Erika N. Mudd Did not respond
Gary L. Raines
1. I think city water is one of the biggest issues facing our village, as of now, and it is imperative that all the residents of the Village have a voice in the choices that we make.
The second issue would be better communication between the village residents, and the town officials.
2. Voters can expect me to give the concerns of the village my honest, and unbiased opinion, and I will always work for the best interest of the Village.
Licking Township Trustee (one to be elected)
Ronald S. Acord Ron Acord would like to be your township trustee for the term of 2008 thru 2012. My campaign will be keeping my commitment to serve the people with quality of processing and steadfastly adhering to high moral principles and professional standards.
Issues of the past twenty-six years are maintaining the roads of Licking Township and supporting the Licking Township firedepartment. Forty-three miles of Licking Township roads maintained, I have been able to keep within the budget. As a trustee I have never ask for increase of road taxes and have not any plans of asking for an increase. Being the road supervisor for twenty some years I work along with the employees.
Budgetary issues need special attention to keep within the township budget. For the allowance, I have to work with.
I would be a good candidate for Licking Township Trustee because of experience. I attend township state conference every year. Do my best to solve problems by consulting with township legal adviser. Always available on week ends and holidays to keep Licking Township roads clean. Keep experience working.
John D. Freas Did not respond
Joseph E. Hart
1. Fire Protection and Road Maintenance: Licking Township has excellent fireand emergency personnel. I am voting for the 1mill replacement firelevy November 6. Please vote for this replacement. As trustee, I will support their efforts toward continuous improvement.
I will pursue a survey defining the conditions and use of our township roads. I will encourage the trustees to determine planned road improvements based on the survey. I will improve writing specificationsfor bidding road repairs and improvements.
Comprehensive Zoning Rewrite being developed: Proposed regulations go far beyond what is necessary to correct known problems and I am opposed to much of it's content. I believe in protecting individual property rights.
As trustee, I will suggest amendments to reduce proposed greenspace requirements, grandfather and protect existing businesses, and honor previously approved zoning map land uses. I will support timely documenting and recording of approved changes to zoning regulations.
2. I worked in labor and management, encounters experienced during my career and 8 years serving Lakewood School Board provide me the ability to understand and deal effectively with people and issues. I will use my skills to the best of my ability and make decisions from a common sense approach.
Union Township Trustee (one to be elected)
1. First, we must get the focus back on serving you. We need to be spending your taxes on you. That means cutting back on health insurance costs and making sure township salaries are in-line with neighboring townships and villages. We need a new attitude
township government - one that we're here to serve you, not ourselves.
That attitude affects everything we do - from making sure you are consulted on major zoning changes to making our roads safer for you and your families. Once that attitude is in place, becomes natural to take the next steps and address specific issues. Those steps include joining efforts to reduce flooding in the Buckeye Lake area, improving police protection, and doing a better job on road resurfacing. Our focus must be on how we can make Union Township a better place for everyone. We can and must do better.
2. Union Township needs new blood and leadership. I'm not part of the group that has run Union Township for years, nor wedded to how things have been done in the past. I have an open mind. I'm committed to ending 'who you know' township government. We can do better.
John W. Slater
1. The paramount issue for Union Township is providing and maintaining emergency services to the area. Union Township residents are extremely blessed by the cooperative effort now providing service, but due to continued development and traffic congestion added challenges are foreseeable. The solution may well be additional facilities near the geographic center of the township. This will enable even greater service and reduce response time.
Another issue is financial responsibility. Historically, this has been a virtue of leadership and continues still. The concern is with the expectations levied on the leadership by the township. This coincides with a reduction of revenue due to phasing out the allocation from tangible personal property tax. The impact on Union Township is moderate compared to other governmental entities but still is significant. There will need to be a serious belt tightening while trying to do more with less. 2. I certainly do not claim the most qualified individual, am strongly committed to the cause
Union Township, this coming from family, friends and heritage.
believe there is hardly a better place to live, work and engage recreation.
Lakewood Board of Education
(two to be elected)
Forrest O. Cooperrider 1. I believe the number one issue for Lakewood today is
Forrest O. Cooperrider cont. passing both the property tax levy and the earned income tax levy. One won't cover things, we do need both. Like any business we must operate with the money we have and would have to drastically reduce programs without them. We must know what our resources are to plan for the 2008-2009 school year. The property tax is a renewal and should not change things much. If you are over 65 and apply for the homestead reduction your tax bill should be less. The income tax will be only on earned income so should not affect retired people. As a current board member I am working to make this happen.
2. I have children in the school system and want to make their education the best it can be for them and all district students. I believe my four years on the board equips me to better understand where we are now and where we want to go in the future.
Trisha A. Good
1. Although great strides have been made in recent years, there is still room for improvement in the Ohio Achievement Test Scores. Lakewood should aspire to be "the best" school in the area and work to achieve an "excellence" in the rating system. I will work with the school board members and administration to put the proper policies and procedures in place to allow Lakewood to continue to advance to an excellence rating.
In November 2007, there are two key levy issues on the ballot for Lakewood. Together these two issues total more than $4 million. We must finda way to fund our schools, including replacing lost revenue, reducing expenses or both in a method that will not do harm to the school's strategic direction. I will work with the school board members and administration to be sure that the district finances are being used in a fiscally responsible manner.
2. I am committed to education: employed by OTTA (CollegeAdvantage) since 1996 and a member of Lakewood's Citizen's Advisory Committee since 2005 (elected chairperson in January 2007). I have a strong finance and investment background with nearly 25 years experience. A Lakewood resident since 1994 with two kids in the district.
Robert A. Large
1. One of the key issues is sustaining momentum which the Lakewood district has achieved in educational excellence according to its mission statement and state educational standards. As a board member, I will build on that success by first supporting the current replacement levy and income tax issues that are before area voters. I believe in a quality education and will endorse and support the review of current curriculums to ensure they offer opportunities for a well-rounded education; meaning subjects that include English and literature, mathematics and sciences, performing arts and physical education, health and wellness.
Beyond educational excellence and sound operating budgets comes focus on fiscal responsibility. I would ensure we administer your and my tax dollars prudently with resident's and student's best interests in mind. It includes reviewing contracts to ensure they benefit the school system and students. I will be aggressive to pursue any grants and aid to augment our budget and enhance programs we provide.
2. I understand the value of establishing the desire to learn in each child. Life-long learning is paramount to success. I can relate to district residents as well as to students and their needs and understand the balance of the costs. I have experience in the school system which keeps me in contact with facilities, students, parents and staff. I also believe the school should be a resource for all residents.
Village of Thornville
1. I'm Beth Patrick and I'm currently the Mayor of Thornville. I grew up in the Thornville area and graduated from Sheridan High School. I am married to Bob and we have two daughters. Upon Bob's retirement from the military in 2002, we moved back to Thornville. We could think of no better place to live.
Two issues I believe are the most pressing are: 1) Continue Fiscal Responsibility: In 2005, when I was elected to Village Council, Thornville had five funds with a negative balance. Today, I'm proud to say that all of the village's funds will be positive by the end of 2007. 2) Increasing police protection and presence in Thornville: I am currently seeking grants and looking for other funding that will allow the village to hire a full-time police officer.It is important that Thornville remains a safe place to raise our families.
2. I will continue to work diligently, and in the best interest
Beth Patrick cont. of the Village and act in a fiscally responsible manner. I am asking for your vote on November 6th.
Richard T. Daniels
Did not respond
Thorn Township Trustee (one to be elected)
I have always lived in Thorn Township. I have farmed all my adult life and I ran my own trucking business for ten years. I have worked for the Shelly Company for 25 years, the last 15 years as a road foreman. This business experience makes me a good candidate for trustee. Two key issues are zoning and fire/EMT. We must have zoning. Can we have better and more rights under zoning? Yes. There has to be participation from people in the township.There should be cross section of all people in the township on these boards.
Our Fire/EMT department is an excellent volunteer organization. They are now experiencing growing pains. In a few years, we will be looking at some paid part time personnel. I can help this become a reality, but it must be done as we grow. The first order of business is to build a new fire/EMT station. It should be built to grow with the township, not before the township. The station needs to be one we can all be proud of but one we can afford. would appreciate your support on election day Tuesday, Nov. 6th.
1. Great individuals on the Thorn Township EMS and Fire Departments serve our community. They are dedicated to working hard and doing their best to get the trucks out the door. Most of our volunteers work full time and it is challenging at times to have full crew during certain hours of the day. I believe the Trustees can findcreative solutions to fillthese gaps while limiting the financial impact on the residents.
Growth is inevitable in Thorn Township with an attractive rural community, easy access to I-70 and the near completion of sewer on the South Bank of Buckeye Lake. Planning for this growth is an absolute necessity to prevent overwhelming our roads and emergency services. Developers can assist in improvements impacted by this growth. Managed growth can be positive for our township if planned for and by keeping the best interests of the residents in mind.
2. Working as Zoning Inspector has given me the opportunity to be exposed to the township's issues. I'm aware of actions taken and the concerns and opportunities for the future. I make well-informed decisions. I will speak the truth even when it may not be what an individual wants to hear.
David L. McPherson Did not respond
(two to be elected) Dale R. DeRolph Did not respond
1. Academics are the most important issue. College standards increase yearly. In order for our students to be competitive in seeking higher education we must provide them with the best learning environment. We have offered our teachers additional training for the OGT and Achievement Test. I will continue to make this top priority.
Our school is financially stable. We prioritize our budget with academics at the top. The district looks for ways to reduce spending and save money when possible. Administration is aware of state funding changes and notifies us as needed. Additions like our new track facility include monies from our continuous permanent improvement fund so not to infringe on the general fund. The track is a welcomed addition to our campus for students and the community. I take pride in our schools.
2. I have 8 years experience on the Northern Local School Board. I will continue to work with parents and the district to make our schools a great place to learn. My children are both receiving an excellent education at Northern Local. I ask for your vote on November 6th.
Patrick Joseph Hogan
1. The most important duty of a school board member is to ensure a high-quality education to all students of all abilities. My goal as a member of the next board will focus on providing all students with an education that prepares them to succeed in life. We have a strong system now. I want to contribute to taking the district to the next level and enable all of our students to achieve their best in college and to obtain high paying skilled jobs in the workforce. I will do so by working in partnership with the other members of the board to set high goals for the board, educators, all students and their parents. This work must be accomplished while maintaining a stable and secure financial framework. My focus will be on driving funding to support the districts' core educational goals while minimizing operational costs.
2. You have three very good candidates to choose from for two seats on the board. Please vote for me if you agree that the board should continue to focus on building a high-quality education for all students, of all abilities, not only today but well into the future.