2008-11-01 / News

In their own words: Licking County candidates

To help readers make their choices on Nov. 4, the Beacon surveyed candidates in contested lake-area races. Last week, we published the responses from Fairfield County and the four Licking County candidates for county commissioner. This week we are finishing up the Licking County candidates and publishing all of the Perry County responses.

Candidates were asked to explain, in 150 words or less, what they believe are the two most important issues facing the office they are seeking and how they would address those issues. The second question asked candidates to explain in 75 words or less why they should receive your vote.

Judicial candidates were asked, in 150 words or less, to explain what they believe are the most important qualifications for the judgeship they are seeking. The second question asked them to explain in 75 words or less why they should receive your vote.

Word limits are strictly observed so some responses may have been edited to meet the limits.

Licking County County Recorder Dale Burns

Did not respond

Bryan A. Long

1. I believe that one of the most important issues facing the Recorders' Office is the balancing of access to documents vs. Privacy of the information contained in the document. This has and will be an ongoing issue that I have been involved with at the state level while serving on the Ohio Recorders' Association Legislative Committee. The answers will have to come through passage of new law that will work to protect a persons personal information while allowing those who need to see the documents the ability to have access.

Another main issue is that the Office remain up to date with current technology as it changes. I will continue to hold to this as I have in the past.

2. I believe that my track record over the past 8 years is proof of my future performance. I will continue to run a financially sound office. Over the past 7 plus years I have returned over 680,000 to the county treasury. I will also stay current with technology.

Clerk of Court of Common Pleas Gerald A. McLaughlin

Did not respond.

Gary R. Walters

1. The first important issue facing the Clerk of the Common Pleas Court is the lack of space to store records. The Courthouse was constructed in 1876 and is a historic landmark but badly needs repair. There are records in the Courthouse attic dating back to the early 1800's that are deteriorating rapidly that must be moved and housed in a Records Center for preservation and public accessibility. The Board of Commissioners is working on the Records Center/Courthouse Renovation Project. Other Courthouse problems include falling plaster, heating issues, and security concerns.

The second issue is the declining revenue in the Title Office. Since Ohio Senate Bill 59 passed in 2002, revenues have been falling. However, we have been able to balance our budget by reducing our full-time staff. If Ohio Title Offices are to maintain their current level of service, changes must be implemented at the State level.

2. Experience, Education, and Trust. I have managed the Common Pleas Clerk's Office since 2002. A Masters Degree in Administration and Supervision is an asset in performing my duties. I am a life-long resident of Licking County and have been involved with the public for over 40 years.

Judge Common Pleas Domestic Div. Vicky Christiansen

1. I believe the most importatnt qualifications for Domestic Relations Judge is someone who is caring of those involved in the system, capable to handle the tasks, and committed to this area of law. I have representted all sides of domestic relations cases, successfully argued cases before the Ohio Supreme Court, and am licensed to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court. I worked to establish the divorce mediation program in Licking County as committee chair. I've worked with the Battered Women's Advisory Board, Hospice Board, YWCA Board, and with the Pro Bono legal clinic. In my church I have been active as youth advisor, planning committee chair, teacher and secretary. Jeff, my husband of 32 years, and I have one daughter, who is a teacher. She and her husband have given us two wonderful grandchildren.

2. After being a family law attorney for 20 years, I understand the impact a domestic court judge has on the clients, the witnesses, the attorneys, and the schedule. I have worked hard for my clients to receive fair decisions from the court. I would bring to the court that work ethic, preparation, experience and knowledge. I believe I am the CARING, CAPABLE, COMMITTED choice for judge. christiansenforjudge.com

Paul Harmon

1. A judge must be independent and fair. A judge must be an expert in the law. A judge must be a good listener. A judge must be able to communicate with parties and attorneys who are sometimes at their worst. A judge must be compassionate but tough when necessary. Administratively, a judge must be able to supervise and motivate employees and to prepare and understand budgets. To develop an outstanding court, a judge must be creative and "think outside the box" and be willing to explore new and better ways to understand and assist families in crisis. A judge should put people first and always remember that the Court belongs to the people.

2. I am about people not politics. I've spent my professional life in the court system for 29 years fighting for justice, not in partisan politics like my opponents. I have demonstrated my independence and passion for justice in my career. I will bring new ideas. The best employees regardless of political affiliation will be hired and retained. All people who come to Court will be treated with dignity and respect. People not politics.

Richard Wright

1. I am seeking election to the Domestic Relations Court based on my 21 years experience as an attorney practicing in Domestic Court in Licking and surrounding counties. I have served as an Acting Judge in the Licking County Municipal Court as needed for over 10 years. My experience in many categories of law practice will be a benefit when deciding cases such as divorce, custody, and companionship.

I have been dedicated to my clients and their cases as their attorney for over 21 years. I am dedicated to my community through serving as a volunteer firefighter/EMT for 17 years. I have served as township trustee and also on various committees including the interfaith legal clinic, and belong to numerous community organizations.

2. I am endorsed by the Licking County Republican Party, Congressman Tiberi, Auditor Mary Taylor, Betty Montgomery and other Office holders. I received a rating of "Highly Recommended" by the Central Ohio Association for Justice in their Judicial Interviews.

Judge Common Pleas Juvenile-Probate Div. Robert H. Hoover

1. It is imperative that the judge be an individual who has relevant prior judicial experience and who has established positive working relationships with local schools, local youth and family serving agencies and other elected and appointed officials. Working with community stakeholders is a must!

It is imperative that the judge be an individual who has demonstrated judicial leadership including opening the courts to the media under appropriate circumstances. This leads to public accountability and to public education and awareness of the problems facing our community in terms of crime and delinquency.

It is imperative that the individual has a solid knowledge of probate law and juvenile law as demonstrated by his professional career and professional experiences. I am the only candidate who meets these qualifications.

2. I have 19 years of judicial experience. In pursuit of re-election, I submit that my training, education and experience establish that I be retained in office.have been effective, organized, energetic and committed. I am supported by other county elected officials. I have improved the Court over the last twelve years and have operated within our annual budget. We have procured hundreds of thousands of dollars of outside grant monies.

Geoff Judge

1. A judge better be honest, humane, intelligent, strong, principled, mature, knowledgeable, experienced, sincere, balanced, cooperative, open to ideas, insightful, self-aware and very interested in our futures together and as individuals. Judicial experience is valuable; judicial demeanor is more important.

Today's court is complex, but the judge's great role is still to ensure fairness and impartiality. A court action is never about the judge. He has power over others, but the judge is always there only to serve. People must be confident of being heard fairly in an even-tempered environment. A strong, effective court will earn respect by performing its work with dignity and fairness. In this way a court improves its effect in our communities. People treated with dignity and fairness are more likely to "buy in" and support the process, win or lose. Successes in our communities are built this way. The way a court treats people shapes justice.

2. I am well qualified, and I care greatly about the court's subject matter. I am well rated in peer ratings as an attorney and a judicial candidate. I am trusted for my fair and even temperament and balanced perspective when dealing with people, courts, and conflict. Vote for me to change the demeanor of the court. I have 29 years of professional experience and the personal background to serve you well. For more, see www.JUDGEforJUDGE.com.

State Representative (parts of Licking and all of Perry county)

Dan Dodd

1. Two important issues that we are facing in Ohio are both related to the economy. The first is addressing the best way to bring jobs to our state. My record of supporting common sense regulatory reforms reflects a willingness to cut down on the unnecessary red tape that businesses face while at the same time keeping the accountability that consumers and taxpayers deserve. The second important issue is the work we need to continue to do to lower taxes on Ohioans. Ohio needs representatives who will stand by their word when it comes to taxes. Rather than just talking about lowering taxes, I have a record of supporting the largest property tax cut in Ohio history and introducing other tax credit legislation. We need people serving in Columbus who do more than just talk tough on taxes without ever actually working to lower them.

2. I have a solid record of working to create jobs in Ohio while also fighting to lower taxes. As a resident of Buckeye Lake, I also value the lake as a resource and I have worked with ODNR to help maintain and preserve the lake for generations to come.

Bill Hayes

Did not respond.

Perry County County Commissioner (term starts 1/2/09)

Lloyd E. Harley

1. First and foremost we must address the issue of employment that is making local employment available. my plan is to spend several days a month recruiting companies to spend some time in our county to see the possibilities we have for industry. I believe that we have the location, the facilities and the work force that will appeal to various forms of industry. Secondly, I know that our law enforcement, EMS, and the fire department must have better funding. The state requirements that are placed on individuals who volunteer their services pay a large out of pocket expense not only on the department but also the individuals who want to maintain their certification. I believe in order to maintain the services that we have and to improve them, we must find inventive ways to provide funding.

2. I believe we can make a difference in our county. I retired early from my previous career in hopes that I might work full-time at promoting our counties assets. I have the time, energy, experience, and enthusiasm it will take to attract industry into our county.

Ed Keister

1. The lack of infrastructure and advanced technology throughout the county, our economic growth is on hold until it is completed. I will work with the Board of commissioners and other members of our district to get this accomplished in a timely manner. Developing small business and tourism thereby creating employment opportunities. I will work with the Board of Commissioners and all economic development organizations to create jobs for Perry County. As Commissioner, it will be my mission to promote and encourage the growth and development of small business while working to attract medium to large size employers to the county.

2. With over 25 years experience serving as Council Person and Mayor of the Village of Junctions City, I have a proven track record success. My experience, determination and "can do" attitude will promote cooperation as we work together to improve Perry County.

County Commissioner

(term starts 1/3/09)

Fred E. Shriner

1. A major challenge I see for Perry County is a revitalization of the community to attract small businesses thus creating jobs. I hope to accomplish this by staying in contact with state legislators and establishing a workable economic development team to create and retain jobs and expand productivity through innovation.

During my current term, I have served effectively on several boards; the Work Investment Board, Appalachian Development Board of Trustees, Hocking, Athens, Perry Community Action, Buckeye Hills Regional Development District and Coshocton, Fairfield, Licking, Perry Solid Waste District bring thousands of federal and state dollars to the county.

2. I will be honored to continue to serve as your county commissioner. I am committed to serving the people and have proven leadership. Your vote on Nov. 4 will be appreciated.

Charles W. Van Horn

1. The first issue is to help our economy by bringing jobs to Perry County. The second is to provide infrastructure improvements throughout the county.

I would aggressively seek new job opportunities for residents and work to retain current jobs. I would work extra hours promoting Perry County to businesses in the state and nationally. I would use the internet to help make contacts to attract businesses. Preserving our farm land while attracting jobs can be accomplished through computer related jobs. Perry County has a great work force. We need a county commissioner willing to work to bring jobs into the county.

I would work to improve the infrastructure throughout the county. This would not only improve the quality of life for residents, it would also help to attract industries to the county. Water and sewer lines need to be in place for businesses to locate in our area.

2. I am committed to helping improve our economy and the lives of county residents. Working for over 40 years at Van Horn Motors in New Lexington and as a county commissioner from 1999-2002, I understand the needs and concerns of our citizens. I will serve with honesty and integrity.

County Sheriff

William R. Barker

1. As Sheriff I feel that public safety should always be our number one concern making people feel safe, secure in their homes and protected as they travel about requires having adequate staff. Being a proactive agency requires staff levels which allow for a quick response to emergencies and available to patrol. I requested funds to increase the number of deputies to patrol our county; I requested funding for three additional deputies and one dispatcher for 2009.

Second, relative to the first is funding the requested positions. Economic growth impacts how commissioners fund offices. I think it is very important for the Sheriff to keep Commissioner's informed of office needs as well as criminal activities. My plan, to continue informing Commissioner's, the media, and citizens of activities that affect the citizen's daily lives. By sharing information keeping all informed priorities can be established and tough decisions made.

2. In my fourth term as Sheriff, I have the qualifications, experience, and understanding of the Sheriff's Office. The office, divided into three divisions, jail, civil, and law enforcement, requires understanding of all areas. I ask voters to please consider my experience and qualifications when voting for Perry County Sheriff.

Amy Nash English

1. I believe the two most important issues facing Perry County , from a peace officer's perspective, are better resource management and countywide protection. These two issues are interrelated in that by restructuring, reorganizing, and reallocating all available resources within the agency allows for complete coverage for all of Perry County ; thereby decreasing deputy response time, obtaining manageable patrol areas, and proactively deterring future criminal conduct. As Sheriff, I would work full time along side of the deputies to answer calls and serving court papers. In addition, I would aggressively search and apply for grants and subsidized funding that would allow for additional monies to enhance community awareness, juvenile interaction, and general law enforcement services. Finally, I would employ a more active use of auxiliary officers to increase county services and law enforcement visibility.

2. I ask the voters of Perry County to support me because I have eight years in law enforcement, a Bachelor of Criminal Justice, a family oriented foundation, life experience, and a positive attitude. This enables me the ability to effectively lead the office in an accountable, responsible, and ethical manner.

Judge Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile Div.

Luann Cooperrider

1. I believe the most important qualifications for the probate/juvenile court are judicial experience, knowledge of the people, a proven ability to lead and a genuine desire and passion for the work this court undertakes. I am currently in my eighteenth year of probate/juvenile court judicial experience; in that time, I have been able to secure over $2 million in grant money, significantly expanding programming offered by this court I serve. This programming, which has come about as a result of hard work, encompasses residential facilities, an alternative school, restitution recovery programming in which juveniles work off money owed to victims, and an innovative, intensive drug court program. The grant-funded programs have also created approximately 45 jobs. I sincerely believe in providing a positive message to the people and I will always lead the Perry County Probate/Juvenile Court in a positive direction.

2. When I first ran for this position, I said I'd do whatever I could to make a positive difference in the lives of Perry County people, especially youth. I've tried to do that each and every day. I have received many awards and honors, but nothing compares to the cards and 'thank you' notes from young people and their families, expressing their thanks to me for helping to turn their lives in a positive direction.

David L. Humphrey

1. I have a reputation for being fair, honest and ethical, and this is critical to being a judge. I have practiced law for 22 years, and have the highest rating possible from Martindale Hubbell® for professional and ethical standards. I have extensive experience in probate and juvenile law. I serve as guardian and attorney for juveniles and adults. I am certified by the Ohio State Bar Association as a specialist in probate law. I have been an adjunct professor of probate and estate planning law at Capital University Law School. I was in the top 10% of my law class, bachelor's program, and high school.

I have a strong academic background coupled with over 25 years experience in the legal and business world. I have a well-guided moral compass passed onto me by my parents, family, teachers, friends and colleagues that keeps me honest and ethical.

2. Our legal system needs experienced attorneys with a history of good character and high integrity. I will use my education, experience, ethics and honesty to improve our legal system. I will restore public confidence in the probate/juvenile court.

I was born and raised in Perry County. I will be a role model for the youth of our County by demonstrating high ethical and moral values. I will protect our elderly from exploitation.

Judge Common Pleas General Div. (term runs 7/6/10 - 7/5/16)

Tina M. Boyer

1. I believe some of the most important qualifications for a Common Pleas Judge

are to be fair and impartial. The public would not have confidence in the Justice System if we did not have fair and impartial Judges. A Common Pleas Judge should also be trustworthy, respected and hardworking. If a Judge cannot be trusted, it would be difficult to trust the entire judicial process. A Judge should earn respect by working hard and being trustworthy, fair and impartial. A Judge must treat the people who appear in Court with dignity. A Judge must have a proper Judicial temperament. It is the Judge's ethical duty to be patient and dignified with whom he or she deals in his or her official capacity as a Judge. Finally, a Common Pleas Judge should have experience.

2. I have been the Magistrate in the Common Pleas Court for nine years and in the Juvenile Division for 13 years. I am fair and impartial and work hard in every aspect of my life. I treat the people who come before me with dignity. I am currently hearing many of the cases I would be hearing if elected Judge. I have the experience and knowledge to be the Common Pleas Court Judge.

Dean L. Wilson

1. I believe that the most important qualifications for Perry County Common Pleas Judge would be that of someone who has trial and judicial experience, judicial knowledge as well as a passion for Perry County. I believe that you must be fair and open minded as a Judge, which is why the Supreme Court named me to mentor 10 new judges. I believe that we will see a huge influx of foreclosure lawsuits as well as additional issues stemming from the new child support guideline of the cash medical support which will affect virtually all domestic cases. Furthermore, legislation is currently pending that will cause more local incarceration of felons thus requiring us to use more innovative and alternative mechanisms in sentencing. With all the changes that this County as well as Ohioans will be facing, a Judge with judicial experience will be necessary.

2. I am proud of the roots I have in Perry County, serving in Perry County and being able to help the county. I believe that my efforts and operation of the Perry County Court have saved the county resources in tough economic times while making the citizens who come through the doors feel as though they have been treated fairly and impartially. I will exude the same characteristics in the Common Pleas Court if elected.

Clerk of Courts

Chad Wilkins

1. I am running for Clerk of Courts because I believe local government is very important to the community, and I am a strong believer in community first. I also believe that long-term officials can sometimes cause the community to become stagnant.

My number one priority if elected is to modernize the office. I will find ways to implement new office technology in the form of software, computers, filing systems and other ways I feel may be beneficial to Perry County.

2. I am running for Perry County Clerk of Courts because I want to serve the people of Perry County. I believe government at the grassroots level is very important.. I believe change, growth and development are what people desire in Perry County and I believe I can make Perry County Government better.

Timothy J. Wollenberg

1. The two most important issues facing the Clerk of Courts office - legal division are the budget and upgrading the computer system. We are currently upgrading our computer system which was originally installed in March of 1996. The new system which should be up and running by the end of the year will make our work a lot easier. The other issue was have in the legal division is the budget. As with all the other offices our budget is tight. We run this office with limited staff and we try to do the best that we can. Our number one priority is keeping the paperwork flowing and taking care of our customers. In our title division our biggest issue is the cross-titling. When dealers take their titles out of our county for processing it takes money away from this county. As in our legal division this office strives to take good care of their customers.

2. I would like the voter's support on November 4th for the changes that I have made in these offices. Workloads have increased and we have kept up reasonably well. I have made these offices more user friendly and have the made the atmosphere a much nicer place to come to. Remember me when you vote on November 4th.

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