How long have you been a county commissioner?
From 1999-2008 and 2022 to present.
Can you tell me about yourself? What is your professional background? What other elected positions have you held? Why did you first run?
I was a Presidential appointee as USDA Federal Ohio Director of Rural Development and was elected to the position of State Representative for the Ohio House serving from 2009 through 2016. I first ran for County Commissioner because I wanted to help develop a master plan for Holmes County and to develop a master plan for infrastructure.
Why did you want to be a commissioner?
I felt the Commissioner position would allow me to make a difference in the community while being accessible to the constituents.
What are you most proud of for having achieved in your time as commissioner?
Infrastructure development with an emphasis on tourism and home-grown businesses. Holmes County is known for having years of strong economic development because of this.
What has been the biggest challenge you’ve dealt with as a county commissioner?
Changes in the way state and federal funding is allocated, which can vary from budget cycle to budget cycle. Unfunded mandates are also a challenge.
What was the biggest surprise or adjustment after taking office?
All the extra requirements of serving on various boards throughout the county and region.
One of the primary responsibilities of a commissioner is to develop a balanced budget and provide adequate resources to deliver county services. What has been one of the biggest challenges in that area?
IT is a challenge and changes almost monthly. Addressing the threat of cyber hacking and keeping our offices safe from that and finding the funding for that is a challenge.
How have you or what has your county been doing to participate in the state-county partnership?
Many of Holmes County elected officials including myself serve on state commissions and/or boards and are in close contact with each other and our state leaders.
We have more than 40 new CCAO members this year. What advice do you have for them as they take office?
Reach out to other fellow Commissioners within and outside your county if you aren’t sure what to do in a situation. The experiences of others can be of great value to you which you can then pass along to others.
Could you discuss your involvement with CCAO as well as the benefits of being an active member?
The CCAO staff helps educate us and address challenging issues we face. I’ve used this resource as a Commissioner and also as a State Representative.
What are your main priorities? Why?
To use my experiences at the local, state and federal level and the relationships I’ve formed in those past positions to help build a bridge between agencies for the betterment of Ohio.
What do you find are the most successful methods for reaching out to the residents of your county to communicate what your office is doing and why it’s doing it?
Social media has been an important tool for me in the past year to give the residents of my county real-time information about situations that are happening, i.e. weather, meetings, etc.