2010-10-30 / News

Candidates in their own words

LAKE AREA _ To help readers make their choices on Nov. 2, The Beacon surveyed candidates in contested lake-area races.

We asked four different versions of our first question based on the office being sought. Responses were limited to 150 words. All candidates were asked the same second question; 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.

In the race for the 18th Congressional District that includes parts of Licking and Perry counties, the candidates were asked if our country is headed in the right direction.

18th Congressional District

(two year term)

Bob Gibbs

1. Unfortunately, our country is not headed in the right direction. We need to get our economy going and create private sector jobs. We need policies that provide certainty and restores confidence for private sector investment and job growth. Massive deficit spending and debt, higher taxes and bigger government are stifling economic growth and mortgaging our future as well as putting our national security and freedoms at risk. We can’t spend and borrow our way to prosperity, I oppose policies like cap and trade – the national energy tax that increases costs for energy and kills jobs. We need to institute policies that make both commonsense and economic sense that provides confidence so our employers and entrepreneurs will make investments and create jobs. We need to repeal the recently passed healthcare and make reforms that addresses escalating costs and protect patient driven care and doesn’t bankrupt the country. My goal is to cut deficit spending, cut taxes and reform our burdensome regulatory environment all which are making us uncompetitive in the global economy and killing jobs.

2. I have been self-employed as a farmer and small businessman since 1978, married to Jody for 34 years and we raised three grown children. I am a former President of the Ohio Farm Bureau, the Loudonville Farmer’s Equity and former Supervisor of the Holmes County Soil & Water Conservation District. I am a State Senator with eight years experience in the Legislature. I have the experience needed and values to effectively represent you in Congress.

Zack Space (incumbent)

Did not respond.


Candidates for the state legislature were asked – Ohio faces an up to $8 billion deficit in the next biennial budget. In 175 words or less, please explain how you would begin to address that deficit as state senator or state legislator.

State Senate

District 31 (including Fairfield, Licking and Perry counties; four year term)

Dennis Lupher

1. Balancing the budget certainly appears to be a daunting task. Budget reductions will be required, some areas will no longer be funded, and additional sources of revenue may be necessary. I can assure the voters that I will approach this challenge without commitments to any special group; my only allegiance will be to the citizens of the 31st District. My main concern will be to reduce unemployment and provide a thorough and efficient education for our youth.

Economic growth is the real answer to balancing budgets; I am committed to the premise that a strong educational system is the foundation for a growing, dynamic economy. Many times the Ohio Supreme Court has ruled that we need a “thorough and efficient” public education system for all Ohio’s students, a system not heavily dependent on property taxes. It’s time we support Governor Strickland’s leadership and fulfill the Court’s mandate. All of our children deserve the opportunity to pursue their dreams; education is one of the best places to invest our tax dollars.

2. Unemployment is over 10 percent. When the 21% tax cut was passed and touted as a way to stimulate Ohio’s economy, unemployment was about 6 percent. Haven’t we learned! Prior to the income tax cut, our legislators had increased the sales tax and established the Commercial activity Tax; both of these tax increases discourage business expansion. It’s time for a change in the State Senate.

Tim Schaffer (incumbent)

1. I will oppose all tax increases and pledge to continue cutting taxes and red tape, which have run jobs out of Ohio. Ohio’s entrepreneurs will flourish in an improved business environment. The more money we keep in the hands of working families and small business the better for our economy. I opposed the Governor’s budget because he avoided making difficult decisions about spending and he relied heavily upon federal stimulus money. Instead, I favor a “zero-based” budgeting process. All state agencies should justify why their programs deserve a share of the limited state resources.

I sponsored Senate Bill 4, which will require performance audits of state agencies so that we can find the fat to cut. Right now, we don’t have information we need to make decisions because so many politicians cling to the status quo. Taxpayers can no longer afford this old way of thinking.

I will also oppose all new, shortsighted expenses like the Governor’s proposed 3-C train, which will require substantial taxpayer support. Ohio taxpayers cannot afford to subsidize another underused service.

2. I am focused on our communities’ future – cutting taxes, creating jobs, fighting government corruption and building the best schools in America. We face many challenges, but larger government is not the answer. I want to shape a smaller, smarter state government. I have the knowledge and experience needed to make those tough decisions. Finally, I have the energy and passion for serving all of the constituents of the 31st Senate district with creativity and action.

Ohio House of Representatives

91st District (part of Licking County and all of Perry County; two year term)

Dan Dodd (incumbent)

1. Ohio must address its deficit by looking at the budget and figuring out how we can live within our means while investing in what matters.

Public education must be first in line for funding and last in line for cuts because school districts across this state, especially Lakewood, cannot afford to lose more support because of misguided tax policies like those passed by the Taft administration.

We need to take a strong look at how we fund our public pensions to make sure retirees get what they are entitled to while also making sure taxpayers don’t have to bailout the systems. Pension reform must take on “double dipping” and our state needs to prevent this practice from being abused, if it is to stay legal at all.

Finally, any decision made by the General Assembly needs to be final. Too often, we have politicians passing the buck by putting plans on the ballot so they can rescue themselves from accountability for raising taxes. We need leaders who will take responsibility for their actions.

2. Voters should support me because I am a consistent, independent voice for the Buckeye Lake region. As an area resident, I have led the fight to protect our natural resources because we know Buckeye Lake is not only a natural resource but an economic resource as well. We need one of us to fight for our values in Columbus and I am the only candidate in the race willing and able to do that.

Bill Hayes

1. Everything in the budget must to be scrutinized during the budget process; Ohio cannot afford to have any “sacred cows” that are specifically protected. Instead of saying, “We need to cut $8 billion” we need to start at $0 and say “what do we have to have?” We need to look at the role of government and what the state can provide for its citizens. There are tough decisions ahead for the legislature and I hope to provide the leadership and judgment necessary to make those decisions.

2. I am the candidate who will make the tough decisions so all of Ohio can prosper in these difficult times. Ohio has budget deficit, double-digit unemployment and education irregularity. I am ready to cut government spending, create an environment that will bring and keep jobs in Ohio, and educate all of our children equally. I will be a leader you can trust.

Local, non-judicial 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.

Fairfield County Commissioner

(four year term)

George C. Hallarn

1. My name is George C. Hallarn. I am running for Fairfield County Commissioner. There are a lot of issues facing Fairfield County. The two I feel are important are keeping and trying to get more jobs. I will work with county department heads and state departments to do this.

I will try to work to get a new jail because the one we have is over crowded. We pay a lot of money to other counties to house these prisoners so we need to work together to stop this from continuing.

2. I have been a Greenfield Township Trustee for 12 years. I have worked with Company Wrench to get a tax break to help get more jobs in our township. My experience in working with our fire and road departments, and our budget would help me to fit into this job. I will work with Democrats and Republicans to try to make Fairfield County a better place for all.

Mike Kiger (incumbent)

1. Hello, I’m Mike Kiger, your Fairfield County Commissioner. Top 2 priorities for Fairfield County are: 1. Keep spending in line with revenues without increasing taxes while maintaining the level of public services. 2. Create a governmental climate that is supportive of existing business and will encourage growth and formation of new business and industry within the county. As commissioner I will support measures to improve the economic climate in Fairfield County so as to attract business growth while at the same time keeping spending within budget so that additional taxes will not be required. There is clearly a need for a new jail in Fairfield County. The courts have already given us that message and recent events involving the jail show that the present facilities are not adequate. The real question facing the county is the issue of how to pay for such a facility and for that there is no clear answer at this time. Given the present financial situation in the county, state, and nation, this is not the time to consider asking the public to increase taxes to provide for a new jail, even though the facility is needed.

2. My dedication to the job over the past eight years has shown that I am qualified for the job. I am in the office every day attending to the needs and concerns of the citizens of Fairfield County. Whether I am the best suited for this job I will leave to the voters in Fairfield County on November 2nd.

Licking County Commissioner

(four year term)

Noami Compton

Jobs are the most important issue we face in Licking County today. I’ve talked to voters and officials in our municipalities and townships-the #1 topic is loss of jobs due to the economic downturn. As your next County Commissioner, I will fight to stop the current trend of county “leakonomics” every time we buy something that’s made elsewhere, but could be made here, we leave money on the table and jobs at the door. I will visibly work with Licking County Economic Development, elected officials, and business leaders to recruit industries that make what we use most here in Licking County-industries that can be here for the long haul as integral parts of our local economy.

Another issue is getting back to basic requirements for delivery of Licking County government services. We must take a conservative approach so we meet required state-mandated services while reducing spending on extras. As your next Commissioner, I want to ensure county residents’ tax dollars are spent on their safety, health, and welfare, not additional administrative positions.

2. Please explain why you believe voters should support you.

Citizens deserve a full-time/ full term Licking County Commissioner for the $65,000 salary paid. My hands-on experience from village government, grant writing, and private business ownership and my established positive working relationships with elected township, municipal, county, and state officials will be beneficial when working on planned growth and economic development. Our people deserve a fiscally conservative, accountable and fully accessible commissioner – I will meet those qualities and more as your next Licking County Commissioner.

Doug Smith (incumbent)

1. Obviously, there are many important issues facing Licking County. In my opinion, the top two are: 1.) Jobs/Economic Development. We must maintain our coordinated, aggressive economic development program, geared toward attracting (and keeping) businesses with good paying jobs that will allow the current trend of lowering unemployment rates in the county to continue. It all takes vision and a team effort by officials, agencies and citizens, but it’s worth the effort for us all! 2.) Growth and its effect on our quality of life. We must continue to plan for the future, with managed, good growth and the infrastructure necessary to support that growth, including roadways, safe drinking water and sanitary sewer. All Licking Countians deserve a quality of life which includes affordable housing that meets the needs of our long-time and new residents, good schools, assured safety for all our citizens, and the resources required to sustain a vibrant community.

2. Arguably I’m the most experienced, knowledgeable, intelligent, unselfish and focused candidate for Commissioner, with unquestioned integrity and an impeccable reputation as an ethical businessman and public servant. I’m not afraid to make tough decisions. Moreover, I’m committed to do what is in the best interest of our citizens and for Licking County. I was elected Commissioner to help properly manage county government - not to allow it to fail. I’ve accomplished all that and more!

James Snedden Jr.

1. Issues facing county commissioners, by groups. The fallout created by NAFTA, GRAFTA, and S&L bailouts of the1980’s, and all the latest bailouts. Bad management by our government official has created the economic brake down as well as job losses. What powers do county commissioners have in this type of meltdown? How would I address these issues, please vote.

2. I will provide the public an easy approach on how to handle our counties’ affairs sensibly. I don’t want to sell you a Large screen TV when you can’t afford it or raise taxes without you having the right to vote on these types of issues. I am not afraid of making large decisions or rocking the political boat. Please vote responsibly in this election.

Perry County Commissioner

(four year term)

B. Jane Van Horn

1. The first issue is jobs. I would work to bring computer, call center and data-based jobs here. We have empty buildings available. Residents could be trained to answer technical questions and to take orders. We could process claims/rebates. New jobs would bring in additional revenue.

We need better communication between county departments and residents. Commissioners should work closely with groups to find more efficient ways to spend our limited resources. I would listen to your ideas. Public forums could be held to discuss ideas before decisions are made. I would be available by email, phone and in the office to listen to your questions and suggestions. We need to work together to find solutions to the county’s problems.

2. Through my education (Bachelor and Masters degrees from Ohio University, I have the knowledge and ability to work with others to analyze and solve problems. I am motivated to create job opportunities for residents. I understand how to use technology to network and promote Perry County. As a former Perry County teacher, I understand your concerns and needs. I would work full time to help bring progress to the county.

Lonnie Wood (incumbent)

1. Perry County is a great place to live and raise a family. As your Perry County Commissioner for the past eight years, I have worked hard to address two major concerns in our county, infrastructure and employment.

Improvements to the sanitary water and sewer infrastructure in northern Perry County, Buckeye Lake area have allowed small businesses to open and thrive. After being under EPA findings and orders on the south side of the Buckeye Lake area since the 1970’s, we have successfully completed 99.9% of public sewer and water infrastructure since the beginning of my first term as Commissioner.

The completion of this infrastructure has opened the door to new business establishments, created full-time as well as parttime jobs, increased our tax base, as well as making the area more attractive to tourism and home ownership. Although we may never be in a position to accommodate anything as large as an automotive plant, these small businesses add up to better services for residents as well as increased job opportunities.

2. I ask for your support to continue as your Perry County Commissioner. I have13 years prior experience as a township trustee and have proudly served as your Commissioner for 8 years. This is my full time job. I am accessible, caring, knowledgeable hard working and experienced. My door is always open and my phone is never turned off. Judy and I have been married for 41 years and have four children and nine grandchildren.

Perry County Auditor

(four year term)

Dick Bowman

1. As I have traveled Perry County and attended all fourteen township meetings, many concerns regarding the auditor’s office have been voiced. Attempting to group them into two sections is difficult. One would have to be not utilizing modern technology which has resulted in missed township levy deadlines which cost the townships to spend extra funds and county businesses not being notified of the sales tax increase. Using computer software would eliminate those mistakes for citizens. Two, there seems to be a mistrust or misunderstanding of property evaluation, how it is done, who evaluates, what formula is utilized to obtain a tax rate, and how and when one can appeal the evaluation. I have always believed in face to face communication when applicable. An open door policy does not work unless you get out of the office and to the people. Each time a county-wide evaluation occurs, I would take the staff to four town hall meetings--one at each county high school--where citizens could obtain answers to their questions.

2. I have lived in Perry County for forty years and been employed by three of the county’s high schools as a mathematics teacher. I have also been a mathematician in the space program, a dean of student housing, and an instructor at OUZ. Having a variety of experiences in leadership plus my knowledge of mathematics and the fact that I can work well with the commissioners gives me a great background for this position.

Teresa Stevenson


1. When I was sworn into office as Perry County Auditor on March 12, 2007 there were serious issues, which needed to be addressed immediately. We corrected numerous real estate errors and resolved several Board of Revision cases from 2006. There were also months of real estate transfers, which had not been completed. This problem could have resulted in potential lawsuits if it had not been taken care of in a timely manner. Perry County also had numerous findings from the 2006 audit that I have eliminated. In December of 2007 I placed the Perry County Auditor’s office online where any piece of property can be viewed by name, parcel number or address. Various forms can also be downloaded from the site, such as homestead, vendors license, Board of Revision and dog tag applications. At this time I am working on the 2011 reappraisal and GIS (Geographical Information Systems) for our office which will greatly enhance our software system. The Perry County Auditor’s office is constantly moving forward and I welcome any questions you may have.

2. I welcome your support because I have proven through my hard work and determination that I am dedicated to the people of Perry County. Being Auditor has been the most rewarding and challenging job I have ever had. My 20 years experience covers every aspect of the office to keep it running efficiently and effectively. I believe I have the integrity, knowledge, and motivation to remain your Perry County Auditor.

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.

Licking County Court of Common Pleas

David Branstool


1. The most important qualifications for Common Pleas Court Judge are experience and fairness; and I believe that is why voters should support my candidacy. I was first elected judge in November 2003. Since then, I have had the pleasure of serving as a trial court judge on both the Licking County Municipal Court and the Licking County Common Pleas Court. I have over 16 years experience as a practicing attorney and trial judge working in the justice system. I have presided over thousands of civil and criminal cases and have the experience and knowledge to preside over a complex caseload.

I also believe I have a solid record of fairness and independence. I have developed and expanded a number of initiatives designed to reduce recidivism. Recently, the Central Ohio Association for Justice issued its Judicial Screening Results for Licking County, and I earned the highest rating of “Highly Recommended”.

2. For seven years I have served as a judge in Licking County. I have established a solid record of fairness, integrity and independence. I have taken a proactive approach to deal with offenders who suffer from mental health and substance abuse issues in the criminal justice system. I started the LIFT Program to improve treatment options for offenders who suffer from mental health and substance abuse problems to reduce recidivism and make our communities safer.

Robert Morris

1. I believe the most important qualifications for Common Pleas Judge include the demeanor and temperament to listen to the facts of a particular matter and impartially and consistently apply the applicable law.

2. I believe voters should support my candidacy because of my legal and business background. I have the necessary demeanor and temperament to listen to opposing views, analyze the facts presented and applicable law, and render a decision consistent therewith.

Licking County Common Pleas Court – Domestic Relations Division

Craig Baldwin


1. I believe the most important qualification for Licking County, Common Pleas Court Domestic Relations Division, Judge is that the person who holds the job cares about the people who come before them. It is important that a Judge see the families and children in the cases before them not just as case numbers and files. Intelligence, experience and a positive demeanor are also important. The courts are very busy so a Judge must have a strong work ethic and a purposeful attitude toward moving the cases along in a meaningful manner. I also believe that you must have the courage to do the right thing, even when it is not popular. A Judge must also understand that they are responsible for ensuring that everyone who enters the courthouse and their court room is treated with dignity and respect. Finally a judge must respect and uphold the law.

2. I treat the people before me with dignity and respect and create a courtroom environment that allows people to tell their side of the story. I render meaningful decisions in a timely manner and manage the court professionally, with fiscal integrity. I have been endorsed by the Licking County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #127 and have been rated as “Highly Recommended” by the Central Ohio Association for Justice, a trial lawyer association.

Vicky Christiansen

Did not respond.

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