Candidates in their own words
LAKE AREA – To help readers make their choices on Nov. 8, The Beacon surveyed candidates in contested lake-area races.
Each candidate was asked to explain in 150 words or less the two most important issues facing the office being sought and how they would address them if elected. Candidates were also asked to explain in 50 words or less why voters should support them. Word limits were strictly enforced and some responses may have been edited to meet the limit.
This week features lake area candidates in Fairfield and Licking counties.
Liberty Union Thurston
Board of Education
(vote for two)
Caryl N. Caito
Did not respond.
1. The educators of Liberty Union Thurston School District strive to provide the best possible educational experience for our children. This education is being enhanced by the development of new and engaging learning styles and techniques to better prepare our student for the world economy. The challenge to providing this level of education in an uncertain economic climate forces us to examine all ways to curtail budgetary increases while maintaining or increasing educational opportunities with less revenue. We cannot afford to let the academic standards fall in this world economy, nor can we expect the residents to carry a further tax burden. Planning and using innovative methods, collaboration, and thinking “outside the box” will be what is needed to achieve academic excellence and stay within our budgets.
2. I am a proud mother of three children that attend or will attend LU. I have a vested interest in making sure our decisions are the right choice for not only my children but all children in the district. My education and experience also gives me a valuable perspective for the challenges of the BOE.
1. I feel that all students should be treated equally. No child some be let to feel that he or she is a no one and that all sure be safe. Keep watch of all things that is going on at the school. On the bus or in the classroom. Anything that is not right should be addressed as soon as possible.
We should try to keep teachers working and not let them go just save money and spend it somewhere else. Check and see if all teachers are doing their job and if they are doing their job and not just half doing their job. The ones that are doing good keep them.
2. I will try to listen to all complaints and try to work them out and work with the people that have questions. I will try to be as honest as I can, not be for people just because they have money or any other influence.
Shawn D. Shook
Did not respond.
John A. Walter
1. The most important issues facing our district are 1) providing education given limited funding and budget constraints and 2) ensuring students are able to excel given the tools with which they are provided.
As a smaller district, we have fewer resources upon which to draw and must not only react to budget constraints but be proactive in our process. I support performance based programs as a means to accomplish both issues. By incentivizing excellence, we will attract and retain quality educators through a competitive but congenial environment allowing everyone to realize their potential, and enabling us to maintain an equitable reimbursement schedule with which the faculty, staff and administration all can thrive.
Students taught by motivated and excited teachers become excited and motivated students. Students see first hand how solid effort is rewarded, driving them to excel and grasp the importance and relevance of what they are being taught.
2. Several factors make me a solid candidate. As a physician, I have additional insight into education delivery. My experiences as a parent, coach and scout leader helps me recognize the issues facing students and drives me to foster civic responsibility in them and to give them the same opportunities I had.
Walnut Township Schools
Board of Education
(vote for three)
1. We have a great district and supportive community. People are concerned about our economy, and so am I. WTSD is on the frontier of changing and sharing School Administrators. It is creative problem solving in these tough economic times. I will be a board member who will think ‘out of the box’, and help move in this new direction at the same time preserving what policies are strong and working in our district. It is important for board members to pay attention to the large obvious issues and also small ones. Both, if unattended, will erode the strong foundation our district has been built on. I will pay attention to large and small issues of our district so the integrity of our district is not compromised and remains strong and viable. I am not afraid to make tough decisions and to stand for what is right and true.
2. I am willing to listen and show respect to others who have concerns, ideas, or questions and come to the board. I am willing to work hard and affect positive changes in our district and work with others to accomplish that. I am committed to all students and community.
William C. Lanning
1. The two most important issues are maintaining the small school atmosphere –assurance that the district continue to provide quality education while being fiscally conservative and promoting cohesiveness within the community with focus on what’s best for students.
2. Previous experience supporting community organized youth activities along with previous budgetary/legislative experience. Strong common sense approach to solving problems.
1. Our top issue and responsibility is our “kids” and to be a VOICE for the parents and students. Currently, parents and students feel they are not being heard. Our responsibility is to provide our students with the skills and knowledge to succeed. We must provide opportunities for each child to succeed and master all areas of learning. Extra curricular programs should be enhanced through music, clubs and sports.
The second top issue is the budget, particularly in these tough times. The current Board has been fiscally responsible with the taxpayers money. With all the state cutbacks, the school board members will have to continue to monitor this area closely.
2. We are now sharing a superintendent so it is critical that parents and kids have a representative on the board to VOICE their concerns. As a 28-year Millersport resident, mother, grandmother, former Village Council member and active community member, I’m ready to serve as your “voice.”
Vincent B. Popo
1. The two most important issues facing Walnut Township Schools are first, survive the state’s budget cuts and second, increase enrollment. Walnut Township Schools have been able to weather the state’s financial crisis by taking an active approach to finances. We
Vincent B. Popo cont.
have been able to cut overhead three ways. First, we are currently the second district in Ohio to share superintendents and treasurers. Second we have replaced retired teachers with younger teachers. Finally, we have restructured maintenance and bus routes. In order to increase enrollment and attract parents and students, we need to promote the strong academic programs we offer and expand the extracurricular programs in music and sports. Also, a partnership with local realtors will help promote and market the positive aspects of living in Walnut Township.
2. Even though all of the candidates are good choices, my background as an educator and fiscal officer allows me to see both sides of financial and curricular issues. The experience I have will allow me to continue and enhance the sound financial and educational policies that are currently in place.
V. Faye Whitaker
1. The obvious number one issue is trying to keep up with state budget cuts to education and still complying with unfunded mandates. We have been very proactive in saving tax dollars. A few examples are updating school facilities without any increase in taxes; a reduction in staff by assigning duties to to other employees when a staff member resigns or retires; and reducing the number of bus routes.
Our district is “ sharing” a superintendent and treasurer with Berne Union School District. This is a fairly new concept in the State of Ohio and we are hopeful that there are additional services that can be shared to help smaller districts like ours to save money and survive the budget cuts. Districts working together for purchases and services is the wave of the future and our district is at the forefront of this innovative idea. We must continue to think outside the box.
2. I have lived in Walnut Township for 26 years and been a member of the board of education for eight years. My children graduated from Millersport and my grandchildren attend school here. I own the Olde Canal Restaurant. I have experience, a proven record of good business practices and common sense.
Walnut Township Trustee
Douglas G. Leith
1. Obviously, the township’s financial situation is number one. Due to the reduced State support & constant mandates without financial backing, the Township needs conservative, common sense thinking in their budgets. Not just for the current year but a plan for future budgeting. If we want to maintain our current level of service our Trustees need to do some serious managing short & long range. For years Walnut Township has possessed an image of excellent roads & services. In order for this to continue, we must scrutinize our expenditures.
The second issue is our Fire Departments situation. I support the consolidation of our departments. This would eliminate some expensive duplicate equipment & stop the constant battle of individual department budgets. I do not support closing any of our departments. We must insure that ALL residents of the Township will adequately receive coverage when needed most.
2. I do not represent any department, group or council. I run without a grudge against any group or individual. The only endorsement I seek is from the voters. As a lifelong township resident & 30 year small business owner, I can bring professionalism & common sense thinking to the table.
William R. Yates
1. Budgeting of the township money is more important than ever with the loss of local government funding and zoning issues that are costing us thousands of tax dollars. We must look at the total budget and prioritize what will benefit the residents of all of Walnut Township. I will encourage volunteerism, cooperation and collaboration between all of the communities in the township. I will encourage the development of a cost effective plan to make the best possible use of our resources during this time of economic challenges.
Developing a needs-based written plan for all the roadways and drainage issues of the entire township is necessary. The implementation of a multi-year plan for road improvements will allow us to stay within our limited funding. We must improve on the atmosphere of respect. Disrespect toward any citizen of the township is totally unacceptable. The concerns of ALL citizens must be heard.
2. Having thirty years experience as maintenance/transportation supervisor of the Walnut Township Schools and my years of experience as a member of the Millersport Village Council, Board of Public Affairs, and as a volunteer and fire chief I feel I can be an effective leader in the business of the township.
Hebron Mayor Clifford L. Mason
Two of the most important issues facing Hebron are the funding cuts to local government in the State budget and the ability to continue to provide quality services with current staffing levels. Residents deserve and expect excellent services, delivered by well-trained and competent employees. These issues are intertwined, requiring attention from a mayor experienced in managing a large budget AND with the ability to ensure quality customer service.
One way to offset the budget cuts is to continue to be attractive to companies that are looking to build or expand their business in our community. We need to continue to be fiscally responsible and financially prudent to attract quality employees who deliver top-notch services to our residents.
I have EXPERIENCE in working with other local, state and federal officials; as well as local developers to encourage continued growth. We continue to attract successful businesses to locate/ relocate in our community.
Did not respond.
Licking Township Fiscal Officer
Jill S. Linn
1. It is the responsibility of the Fiscal Officer to manage the finances of the Township. I make sure that the Trustees have the financial information that they need to make the financial decisions for the township. I do accounts payable, the bank reconcilation, prepare payoll, prepare payroll taxes and accounts receivable. I have gone through 11 years of audits with no major findings. It is also my responsibility to maintain the township records in which I have been doing and will continue to do so.
2. Being the Licking Township Fiscal Officer for 13 years, I am more than qualified to continue to fill the position. I have 23 years of bookkeeping and payroll experience and 19 years in preparing individual, partnership and corporate tax returns. I look forward to continue being your Fiscal Officer.
Andrea Holman Lynch
1. Fiscal Responsibility & Business Continuity - With the over 3 million dollar estate tax payment intended for the township’s general fund and based on our township’s annual operating budget, it is crucial to the longterm goals of Licking Township that our Fiscal Officer demonstrate sound fiscal judgment and proactively provide support to the trustees to ensure informed decisions are made. For far too long, the dereliction of these duties has resulted in the disruption of the township business thus causing delays in road paving projects; maintaining equipment; establishing vendor contracts; township insurance being in jeopardy of lapsing; and missed opportunities for better interest rates on investments. I am committed to attending all meetings, providing current minutes for the benefit of the trustees and residents, and a top-to-bottom evaluation of all township liabilities and assets in effort to maximize usage of tax dollars, realize investment potentials, and ensure continuity of township business.
2. I am a 35-year resident of Licking Township, a graduate of Lakewood High School and The Ohio State University. As an Accounting Supervisor at State Farm Insurance, I gained extensive experience in auditing, accounting, managing personnel, and handling multi-million dollar transactions. I will demonstrate sound fiscal responsibility for our township.
Barbara M. Maresca
1. It is important that a financial statement be made available to the trustees each month. This information is necessary so the trustees can make informed decisions about projects to fund and also to keep them current on monthly expenses. If elected I will provide a monthly financial statement and make every effort to have it published on the township website.
The meeting minutes should be up to date for the trustees to reference at subsequent meetings and published on the township website for the public to read. The website is a valuable tool to keep voters informed about issues concerning Licking Township. If elected I will prepare the meeting minutes in a timely fashion and make them available for publication on the township website.
2. Voters should support my candidacy because of the many years of experience I have in preparing, managing, monitoring, and being accountable for a multi- million budget for a Fortune 500 company. I possess excellent organizational and time management skills and believe in conducting oneself with integrity and professionalism.
Licking Township Trustee
Joseph E. Hart
1. The first issue is Emergency Response/Fire Protection; and Road Safety/Maintenance. Licking Township has excellent fire and emergency personnel led by a cost conscious chief. I will continue to provide positive support toward continuous improvement to safety services provided by the Township.
I will continue objective review and input into evaluation of specifications and recommendations in our Board’s practice of annually evaluating and repairing / resurfacing sections of our township roadways.
The second is Conservative Stewardship of Licking Township Revenues. I am fiscally responsible and will continue to be a conservative voice in evaluating and approving routine operational and Capital expenditures. I value and spend taxpayer’s money as my own and I believe in staying within an annual operational budget. I will provide positive leadership toward setting up special accounts to preserve the significant one time lump sum estate taxes recently received.
It is a privilege to serve as one of your trustees.
2. I worked hard to meet the commitments I made to township voters. During my term I demonstrated my business/life skills toward improving our township through encouraging open communication, analyzing/evaluating legal issues, offering viable solutions based on common sense to problems/personnel issues as they have arisen.
John R. Loudermilk
Did not respond.
Union Township Trustee
Charles E. Prince
1. Our most important issue is maintaining and improving services as the state cuts financial support to townships. Increasing your taxes isn’t an option for me. I will NOT support any increase in township tax rates during my term.
The first step is to spend your taxes on you, rather than on extravagant benefits for elected officials and employees. Nearly $140,000 is being spent this year on 100% taxpayer paid, no deductible health insurance for four elected officials and four fulltime employees. I will insist on cost sharing AND a deductible.
We can stretch your taxes with better management and by paying attention to details like the starting times for the road crew and staffing. For example, the summer mower helper shouldn’t be working year round. We must also stop wasting your taxes – no more white elephant purchases like the $310,000 church for a couple offices and a meeting room.
2. I’m not running for the nearly $20,000 a year health insurance, nor will I take it. We can do a better job with your taxes; I want to make that happen. We need a change in attitude – trustees should be serving you, not themselves. You deserve better.
John W. Slater
1. Primary concern for Union Township is continued road improvement. This is vital to enable safe passage to and from our homes, businesses, industry, police, fire and EMS. This will be done by an annual selection of new paving and sealing based on condition and use. Safe roads goes beyond the obvious. It also includes employment of well trained employees to provide year around services. These services include mowing, clearing, draining, snow and ice removal and more.
Another concern facing Union Township is our continued improvement of Fire and EMS service. Union Township has and will continue to be well served by Fire and EMS service but as the township continues to grow “response time” becomes a concern. Professional consultation indicates the need to create a more centrally located satellite Fire and EMS station based on this concern. Further partnering with current service providers is needed to study the practicality.
2. I live, work, and pray in Union Township. Issues concerning roads and emergency services have been dealt with. Your township issues are important and I hope to be a part of their resolution; hoping to make the township one with safe roads, responsive emergency services, and continued maintenance.