The following candidates will appear on the 2016 General Election Ballot on Nov. 8.

Clark County Sheriff

Clark County Recorder

Clark County Commissioner

Clark County Commissioner

Clark County Clerk of Courts

Clark County Sheriff

Gene Kelly

Sheriff Gene Kelly is running for re-election on the November ballot as a Democrat. He completed an Associate Degree in Criminal Justice at Clark State, later completing a B. A. in Human Services Administration at Antioch McGregor. Kelly also completed an M. S. in Criminal Justice at Xavier University.

During his career in law enforcement, Kelly was selected to attend the first class of “Leadership for the 21st Century at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University. He has also completed a number of programs and courses in leadership in administration and law enforcement. He is actively involved in the required course work for Criminal Justice Administration.

Kelly has served as an Adjunct Professor of Criminal Justice for five years at Cedarville University. He has been his career field of Criminal Justice since 1972 when he served as a Springfield Police Cadet. His resume includes employment with the Xenia Police Department, Springfield Police Department where he served as a community officer walking patrol. He served as a Detective for Springfield working on burglaries. He began his career as an elected official in 1987 when he was appointed Sheriff of Clark County.

In addition to his work duties, Kelly has over the years served as President of the FOP, President of the Police Athletic League, Vice President of the Clark County Alcohol and Drug Council and Chair of the Finance Committee for Clark County Mental Health Board.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Sheriff?

I am seeking re-election to the office of Sheriff, because now more than ever we need a person with the experience, knowledge and proven record to deal with all of the challenges facing Clark County, the State of Ohio and the Nation. I have started so many programs and know that what we are doing is saving lives, helping people and making our community better, I would hate to see them curtailed, or eliminated. My work is not done, Clark County is better than when I first became Sheriff, but I want to see it even grow stronger.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office over the next four years?

One of the greatest Challenges in the next four years has to be staying ahead of the constant and ever changing technology. I strive to give members of the Sheriff’s Office the most current equipment and technology to serve Clark County. Our current 9-1-1 communications center will need to be moved if we are to serve all of Clark County. With the support of the Clark County Commissioners we have become leaders in service technology. Yet, constant training and new equipment to better protect Deputies and the community will require thoughtful selection. The role of the Deputy in Clark County is changing to that of a problem solver and we will seek those that share that vision.

Nationwide the problems faced by law enforcement and communities related to the cost of the heroin epidemic include affording treatment. How do you propose to find the funds needed to continue to meet the needs of inmates in Clark County?

No one agency can solve or combat the Heroin or other substance abuse issues. I have a long history of working with other service providers, and sharing resources to better serve and save tax dollars. Currently I serve on the Re-entry Coalition, have a grant with McKinley Hall for service in our jail, work with Mental Health Services, have grant with OIC for inmate counseling in the jail, just to name a few.

With dwindling income to counties and governmental subdivisions across Ohio and the decreasing number of federal grant opportunities, what can the Sheriff’s Office do to stretch taxpayer dollars without asking commissioners to increase local taxes?

During my tenure as the Sheriff of Clark County I have gone through layoffs, budget cuts and increasing cost. Yet, I have lived within my budget, and have continued to provide the highest level of service a law enforcement agency can provide. Last year in 2015 I returned to the County General fund $180,000. in unspent tax dollars by constantly making sure every dollar is spent wisely. Currently in 2016 I am under budget. I have sought contracts and grants to help with equipment needs and to provide additional services to our county.

If elected Sheriff, what promise can you make to the residents of the western area of Clark County?

What I can and will promise to the citizens of Clark County during the next four years is that I will work as hard as I have during the last 29 years. I live this job every day, I will continue to be available, to meet with people and attempt to resolve conflicts, and make sure our community is a safe place for our families. From 2012 through 2015 our reported crime to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office was down 33%. But, if you are the victim of any crime that is one to many. During the next four years I will lead the Clark County Sheriff’s deputies in service to reduce crime, rehabilitate offenders and insure the safety and security of our community.

What benefits do the residents of townships who have elected to hire a deputy receive beyond the 40 hours per week of services for example in Mad River and Bethel Townships?

Currently the Clark County Sheriff’s Office Contracts for the Service of Deputies assigned to Bethel Township, Mad River Township and Moorefield Township and also the City of New Carlisle. The deputies work with Township Trustees and City administration. They work to solve problems and to be proactive. They are also engaged in Community Policing, working the same area every day, where they know the people, the business owners, school officials and service providers. The contract deputies are in addition to the regular district patrol car deputy, yet they work in concert with them.

Do you feel that the current number of full time deputies is sufficient to cover the county? If not, how would you propose to increase those numbers?

Currently the Clark County Sheriff’s Office has the highest number of Deputies in the History of Clark County. We have the most ever assigned to patrol duties and detectives assigned to investigation, yet when a major incident happens we could always use more. My job is to make sure the deputies serving Clark County have the equipment, training and ability to handle any situation until additional help arrives, or they can solve the problem themselves. I am a tax payer myself and have not had a pay raise in eight years, so I take very serious my accountability to watch every tax dollar, I don’t want to pay additional taxes either.


Deborah Burchett

Deborah Burchett is seeking the office of Clark County Sheriff as a Republican. She spent 29 years as a Clark County Deputy Sheriff with nine years at the rank of sergeant. She also worked for four years for the Village of South Vienna as a police officer.

Burchett is currently attending Columbia Southern University where she plans to complete her degree in Criminal Justice Administration later this fall. She also operates D & B Rental Properties in the City of Springfield.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Sheriff?

I am tired of 30 plus year incumbents lying to the taxpayer and providing a false sense of security under a façade of manufactured statistics.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to the Clark County Sheriff’s Office over the next four years?

Repairing the broken relationships between the Sheriff’s Office and the community. Also, returning the trust between the command staff and the deputies.

Nationwide the problems faced by law enforcement and communities related to the cost of the heroin epidemic include affording treatment. How do you propose to find the funds needed to continue to meet the needs of inmates in Clark County?

I have been in contact with the Department of Justice and our State Representative regarding this issue, which resulted in locating $182 million dollars’ worth of Federal and State grants available for combating this very issue.

With dwindling income to counties and governmental subdivisions across Ohio and the decreasing number of federal grant opportunities, what can the Sheriff’s Office do to stretch taxpayer dollars without asking commissioners to increase local taxes?

First, I would like to say that there are more than enough Federal grants opportunities, you just have to utilize the resources available to locate them. The Sheriff’s Office is a multi-faceted organization and every division needs to be thoroughly examined for cost-saving opportunities prior to speaking with the commissioners.

If elected Sheriff, what promise can you make to the residents of the western area of Clark County?

Structure a drug task force to combat the Opioid epidemic plaguing our community by utilizing Deputy Brian Beller’s training as a Drug Recognition Expert to educate the deputies. This will provide my deputies the necessary training to be effective.

What benefits do the residents of townships who have elected to hire a deputy receive beyond the 40 hours per week of services for example in Mad River and Bethel Townships?

Township deputies break the barrier that sometimes presents itself between public service and community. Township deputies build direct bonds with the citizens where information is shared, which is foundation of community improvements.

Do you feel that the current number of full time deputies is sufficient to cover the county? If not, how would you propose to increase those numbers?

No! Currently there are an average of three deputies for the entire county, per shift (excluding township deputies). Again, I will forensically examine every division within the Sheriff’s Office for the opportunity to save taxpayer’s money, which will allow for more deputies on the street.


Clark County Recorder

Nancy Pence

Nancy Pence is running as the incumbent for Clark County Recorder as a Republican. She has served in this office for the past 28 years and spent 22 years prior to being elected to county office as the Pike Township Clerk/Fiscal Officer.

Pence is a graduate of Jackson High School in Christiansburg but provided no information on a formal degree. She has completed the required certification by the Auditor of the State of Ohio and the Ohio Attorney General.

She noted that she is at work each day and returns phone calls to ensure that all of the county residents both on the phone and those who visit her office are satisfied and happy.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Recorder?

In the time I have been County Recorder , I have brought the office from the quill pen to modern technology . The records are on the internet at www.uslandrecords.com from 1988 to current. Recently we back scanned deeds to 1930. You can now do an 86 year search from your home or office, view and print for free. For the last 7 years we have accepted e-filings.

We average 30% of recordings that are electronic.


Janet Oberlin

Janet Oberlin is running for Clark County Recorder as a Democrat. Oberlin has not run for public office previously. She is a licensed, practicing attorney who completed her Bachelor of Arts degree in Art Education at The Ohio State University. She went on to complete her Juris Doctorate at Capital Law School.

Oberlin noted that she believes her understanding of the importance of properly filing, indexing and maintaining legal documents would be beneficial to the role as county recorder. She also noted that the public has a need for easily accessible documents.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Recorder?

I am running for Clark County Recorder to ensure that the Recorder’s office is utilizing the most cost effective, updated technology and equipment for the preservation of land records and other important documents and to increase awareness to the public the services which the office provides. It will be my goal to provide efficient, accurate and quality public service to Clark County residents.


Clark County Commissioner

David Herier

David Herier is the Democrat incumbent seeking re-election to the office of Clark County Commissioner. Herier was appointed 18 months ago to fill the seat vacated by David Hartley. He is opposed by New Carlisle council member Republican Lowell McGlothlin.

Herier is a graduate of Shawnee High School. He completed his B. A. at Wright State University and his J. D. from the University of Dayton Law School.

He notes that he brings a unique perspective to the office of commissioner as he has been a customer of every county office either for himself or a client. He has served on a number of boards and has volunteered his time as an individual and as an attorney as a lifelong resident of Clark County.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Commissioner?

I want to make Clark County stronger. In the past several months, projects that have been in the works sometimes for years, sometimes much more recently are coming to fruition. I have had the opportunity to be involved in those projects and have started on many more that will move Clark County forward and want to see them completed.

I want a Clark County where we attract people to come, live and work here. A Clark County where young adults come here after high school or college, rather than leaving once they graduate. A Clark County where our property values grow and our communities are strengthened.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to Clark County over the next four years?

There are many challenges, attracting and maintaining good jobs, the heroin epidemic, workforce development, housing and others. The host of problems can all begin to be helped when good paying jobs are plentiful. However the heroin epidemic is a huge challenge all over the country. It is a drug that does not discriminate, that destroys families and kills. There are many current programs that have been started and are having some success, however more needs to be done. The idea of a drug court that has the ability to make sentences that encourage change in the offender would help. Also, education will always be necessary and should be extended to stop the problem before it develops for the individual. Finally, punishment of those that are supplying the drug must always be appropriate and swift.

The annexation of land into the City of Springfield for the proposed Kroger store on St. Rt. 72 has been a controversial move. What is your view of the development of this rural area of Clark County?

This area of Clark County is adjacent to the City of Springfield, off of a major highway and furthermore was requested to be annexed by private landowners for Kroger to develop. Clark County could not stop the annexation due to the law and agreements in place without a lawsuit that would be lost and cost taxpayers dearly. While I have been on the commission, the Tecumseh Land Trust has put several conservation easements on farmland to preserve the rural nature of the County. A balance of that conservation and this type of development is appropriate. We can grow and protect our rural areas at the same time

Clark County attempted to move all local emergency services to one 911 dispatch center. What is your opinion of this idea?

This idea has been worked on to a great degree. The City of Springfield, the County and the various townships have all worked to establish a common 911 center. The negotiations have been tough, but are not over. Next Generation 911 is being installed in the County and that new technology will be used in the combined 911 center. I am confident that the agreement will be forthcoming once a few areas of disagreement are worked through. There has been significant movement toward an agreement. Also of note there are other areas where Clark County and various surrounding political entities already share services, ultimately saving taxpayers money. This combination and cooperation as it relates to service should be encouraged. I will continue to encourage such cooperation and look for ways to consolidate government functions to save money.

If elected, what promise can you make to the residents of western Clark County?

Western Clark County is uniquely seated very close to large populations just to the west. There already exists great communities in Western Clark County. The Commission has recently funded an economic development fund to help with projects. This area of Clark County will remain a focus of development. Over the past several years Community Block Grant Money has been used to repair roads, curbs, gutters and many other projects in New Carlisle, Bethel Township and Enon. Those projects should continue. Also, recently the County land bank was instrumental in helping the Neighborhood Housing Partnership rehab a home in Bethel Township. Western Clark County is a source of strength and will always remain important to Clark County as a whole.

Once a thriving retail area, Upper Valley Pike has continued to decline. With infrastructure already in place, what can you propose to revitalize this area of the county?

Upper Valley Pike was once a bustling center of commerce. When I was young “the mall” was full of tons of great stores. Times certainly have changed. Over the past several months changes have started to appear and for the first time in years they aren’t all negative. Rural King recently opened and there is a major retailer looking at certain areas of the mall. The Mall itself is privately owned and the County continues to work with the owner through the Community Improvement Corporation and its own Office of Community and Economic Development to assist in placing tenants. There are no ideas that are off the table at this time. The County has been in contact with a major developer who has successfully assisted in similar situations to re-develop aging properties.

This year the Dog Wardens became full time employees of the county. Do you believe that county residents would be better served by a shelter owned and operated by the county rather than paying board for strays at a shelter managed by a not for profit board who cannot afford to modernize their facility?

Prior to this year the Dog Wardens were part time employees of the County and the Humane Society. This system proved to be confusing and after several years of issues was stopped. This action better defined the functions of the two related, however different entities. The Humane Society has certain functions under the law that again are related to but different from the County. The system itself is cumbersome and difficult due to its set up. In a more perfect world the combination of the functions by changing the law would be beneficial. There is not such a combination however, so until the legislature alters the responsibilities of the two entities, I believe the new set-up is going to improve the function of both, protecting the public and animals alike.


Lowell McGlothlin

Lowell McGlothlin did not respond to our request for participation in the election coverage. We contacted all candidates using the e-mail provided to the Clark County Board of Elections for our articles and sent two requests to all candidates as a courtesy.


Clark County Commissioner

Melanie Flax Wilt

Melanie Flax Wilt is the Republican candidate seeking the Clark County Commission seat previously held by retiring commissioner John Detrick. She is a graduate of Southeastern High School and holds a B. S. in Agriculture from The Ohio State University.

She owns Wilt PR located in Springfield and serves food/ag and bioscience clients. She has received Accreditation in Public Relations for her 20 years of experience. She has worked as the Communication Director and Chief of Markets for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and served as the Press Secretary for the Director of Agriculture in Ohio.

Wilt lists her membership in the Clark County Farm Bureau, serving on the Board of Trustees in the early 2000’s. She also served four years on the Wellspring Board of Directors.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Commissioner?

I was born and raised in Clark County, and I returned home after college to raise my family. I want to ensure that future generations have that same opportunity. It’s hard for me to sit back and see problems and issues in our county and think “somebody” should fix it. I feel a responsibility to my community to share my talents and skills and be that somebody who can make a difference.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to Clark County over the next four years?

Everyone talks about jobs, and we have to keep the momentum going. But, the underlying challenge is building and promoting a qualified workforce - workers who have the right skills for today’s jobs, the dedication to a greater cause, and the ability to pass a drug test. This means balancing rising healthcare costs that discourage employers from hiring, and - at the same time - funding a criminal justice system that can address the heroin epidemic. This complex issue has a huge impact on our job situation and overall economy.

The annexation of land into the City of Springfield for the proposed Kroger store on St. Rt. 72 has been a controversial move. What is your view of the development of this rural area of Clark County?

The county and city have worked together, along with the property owners in that area, to annex that property. It’s on the fringe of the city limits in an area that is prime for development. It will provide an opportunity for people to stop and spend their money in Clark County. In addition, I think it is always important to listen and address sound concerns of the residents living in the area impacted directly by this development.

Clark County attempted to move all local emergency services to one 911 dispatch center. What is your opinion of this idea?

I think we need to continue to look for ways to become more efficient in joining resources. For example, continuing to use the State Auditor’s program to identify wasteful spending. This could be done by the County purchasing the upgraded 9-1-1 system, and the city would contract with the Sheriff’s office. The State of Ohio is requiring the Next Generation 9-1-1 (cell phone based system) to be in place by next summer. We have to get past our need for control and “who gets credit.” At the same time, I think it’s important to address the concerns of those using the system. For example, the townships and villages have expressed concern that the combined system would eliminate the local knowledge of the dispatchers, who intimately know the roads and directions in their neighborhoods. We need to work together to ensure that isn’t lost in the transition because it is valuable when we’re talking about saving lives.

If elected, what promise can you make to the residents of western Clark County?

Politicians make a lot of promises they can’t deliver on, but I can assure you that I will be a cheerleader for Clark County - all of it! I will work to promote our community, business development and quality of life here, from New Carlisle to Catawba and everywhere in between. I have spent the bulk of my time during this campaign in western Clark County getting to know the people in Enon, New Carlisle, Park Layne and North Hampton. You are the best connection we have to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, a great source of business innovation, and a critical part of our county’s infrastructure, workforce and economy.

Once a thriving retail area, Upper Valley Pike has continued to decline. With infrastructure already in place, what can you propose to revitalize this area of the county?

We have to stop putting Band-aids on broken bones with county funding. It is imperative we plan and prioritize economic development in ways that make good financial sense. It’s great to see private investment in the mall property, and we need to continue to encourage those efforts.

This year the Dog Wardens became full time employees of the county. Do you believe that county residents would be better served by a shelter owned and operated by the county rather than paying board for strays at a shelter managed by a not for profit board who cannot afford to modernize their facility?

In order to clarify the role of the dog warden, it made sense for the county to make this move. The county should conduct animal enforcement as required by Ohio Revised Code. I see a very bright line between animal control enforcement and animal welfare services. I do not believe the county should be in the animal welfare service business. However, I would support community efforts and private investment to improve the animal shelter.


Roger Tackett

Roger Tackett is running as a Democrat for the Clark County Commission seat currently held by retiring commissioner John Detrick. Tackett is a graduate of Wright State University and has a B. A. in Political Science. He has 28 years of previous experience as a Clark County Commissioner. He is a veteran of the United States Marine Corp serving in Vietnam.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Commissioner?

I am running because of a vacancy created by Commissioner Detrick deciding not to run, I have the experience to serve and the energy to serve. I helped to create 2000 jobs at prime Ohio industrial park, helped create the Champion center, helped fund New Carlisle Y on route 235

What do you see as the greatest challenge to Clark County over the next four years?

I believe the biggest challenge is more jobs and better paying jobs, my experience at helping put over 2000 people to work at prime Ohio industrial park should be helpful.
The annexation of land into the City of Springfield for the proposed Kroger store on St. Rt. 72 has been a controversial move.

What is your view of the development of this rural area of Clark County?

My view is that we need the 500 jobs it will provide for our citizens, the city, county and township are working on the details.

Clark County attempted to move all local emergency services to one 911 dispatch center. What is your opinion of this idea?

We have 8 of 10 townships on county 911 dispatch, we should continue to work on this issue, public safety is of great importance to our citizens.

If elected, what promise can you make to the residents of western Clark County?

I would promise to make sure New Carlisle and Enon would be treated as fairly as other people in the county.

As a previous commissioner we helped provide funds for the New Carlisle Y and many other project in the area!

Once a thriving retail area, Upper Valley Pike has continued to decline. With infrastructure already in place, what can you propose to revitalize this area of the county?

I would work with the community Improvement Corporation, the Chamber of Commerce in an effort to increase retail and try to turn the mall around , jobs are vital for the future of our .county.

This year the Dog Wardens became full time employees of the county. Do you believe that county residents would be better served by a shelter owned and operated by the county rather than paying board for strays at a shelter managed by a not for profit board who cannot afford to modernize their facility?

I am a dog owner, I believe we should look into what we can do and how we would pay for various improvements!


Clark County Clerk of Courts

Melissa Tuttle

Republican candidate for Clerk of Courts Melissa Tuttle is a graduate of Shawnee High School who went on to complete her B. S. from the University of Toledo majoring in Law, Economics and Business with a minor in Business Administration graduating with honors. She went on to complete her J. D. at Capital University Law School with concentrations in Alternative Dispute Resolution and Criminal Law.

Tuttle is a member of the Ohio Bar and Southern District of Ohio Federal Court. She has served as the Secretary of the Clark County Bar Association and is a member of the OSBA. She is a member of the Springfield Chamber of Commerce and has served as an ambassador.

She notes her experience with customer service in banking as a teller and experience as a pharmacy technician as beneficial to her role in public office. She has served as a volunteer for the Springfield Preservation Alliance as their public policy chair and has worked with Junior Achievement. She has also devoted time to the Greater Springfield Young Professionals organization.

Previous public office held includes an appointment to the Historic Landmark’s Commission in January of 2014 and she currently serves as vice chair.

Why are you running for the office of Clark County Clerk of Courts?

I practice law in several Courts; many only accept electronic filings and have their filings available online. We do not have this in Clark County and it is time consuming and is an inefficient use of our justice system and taxpayers money. I want to modernize the office including taking credit cards for court fees, court fines, and title department fees. I am active in the community and want to make significant changes to better our County. With my legal and customer service experience I feel I can use my skills and knowledge to serve the citizens of Clark County and make Clark County better.

What do you see as the greatest challenge to the Clark County Clerk of Courts Office over the next four years?

We need to secure and organize the files of the Clerk’s office, which are currently located in various public buildings. Thousands of files that contain personal information are vulnerable to public tampering, because the files are located in public areas of buildings without security monitoring.

Also we need to focus on the access to the Main Title Department. I will work with the County and the taxpayers for the best options to possibly move the Springfield Title Department near a BMV. The New Carlisle office currently is located next to a DMV.

Utilization of credit/debit cards and direct deposit.

Do you believe that the Clark County Clerk of Courts Office has a state of the art system for online research of cases?

No, other counties have far superior systems that are more accurate, user-friendly, provide for viewing of documents, provide e-filing, and provide scheduling capabilities. Other counties offer on their websites links and resources to help pro-se litigants and help people better understand the legal system, and I want to improve our access to justice for attorneys, pro-se litigants, defendants, media, and the overall community.

What changes would you make during 2017 if elected?

I would review the policies and forms in effect like subpoenas, civil protection orders, Standard Order of Visitation, etc. I would make the necessary updates and work with the Judges to make sure that the Courts can run smoothly and parties have reliable data to view their cases online. Also would strive to make sure that case files are updated on a daily basis to preserve the records and allow record searches to be valid to the date searched.

Do you believe that staffing levels at the Common Pleas Court are adequate?

At this time with the paper filings the staffing needed appears adequate, once the system is modernized staffing levels may decrease when retirements occur from the office. During the modernization everyone will be needed to help make the transition.


Ron Vincent

Our publication reached out to incumbent Clark County Clerk of Courts Ron Vincent in early September. Mr. Vincent did respond to our e-mail requests for inclusion in our election coverage.


State Representative 79th District

Kyle Koehler

Republican Kyle Koehler is seeking re-election to the 79th District Ohio House Seat. He has held the seat since January of 2015. He holds a B. S. in Computer Science from Wright State University.

Koehler is currently employed by K. K. Tool Company in Springfield where he has spent the past 26 years as the Vice President of Design and Development. Koehler has career experience as a Software Engineer for other companies.

Why are you running for the 79th District House seat?

We need a representative who understands business, knows how to create jobs, and has the experience necessary to make decisions to grow the 79th District. Clark County is growing again because we’ve lowered taxes and decreased regulations in Ohio. We cannot return to chasing businesses out of Ohio by increasing taxes and regulations. That is exactly why I authored and passed legislation that allows local governments to partner together to save taxpayer dollars. I am a strong and trusted voice for the future because I care deeply about this community that I have lived in for 55 years.

Ohio residents have seen increases in local taxes to pay for law enforcement following the diminishing funds from the state. Do you agree that local taxpayers should be responsible for the majority of these costs?

First, realize that “funds from the state” come from the EXACT same place that “local taxes” come from... YOUR paycheck. Funding law enforcement is important, but it is foolish to send your tax dollars to Columbus and then fight with 132 elected officials to get SOME of it back. ALL the money comes from you anyhow. Let’s work to increase the number of taxpayers instead of increasing tax rates. However, if we need more funds for law enforcement, let’s do that locally instead of sending your money to Columbus and only getting a portion of it back.

What do you see as the role of the lawmakers in Columbus as it relates to the increasing costs associated with the heroin epidemic?

When it comes to the sheer cost, we have to realize that everyone needs to be involved. Not just government, but churches, families, neighborhoods, and whole communities. I helped pass legislation that brings tougher penalties to drug dealers and creates drug courts to lessen the load on courts and jails. But more money cannot always fix a problem that has entered homes and can affect even a mother of three that has simply allowed her back pain medicine to get out of hand. Passing laws doesn’t stop addiction. Government needs to help mobilize an army of caring volunteers.


Alex Wendt

Alex Wendt is running for the 79th District Ohio House seat as a Democrat. He is a graduate of Springfield North High School and holds a B. A. in Political Science from Cleveland State University where he graduated Summa Cum Laude. He has held no public offices previously.

Wendt notes his experience as a firefighter where he learned about staffing levels to ensure a safe environment for public servants. He also worked as a firefighter while in college. He was an intern at the U. S. Senate offices working with Ohio residents. He was employed by the City Manger’s office writing legislation.

Why are you running for the 79th District House seat?

I come from a family of immigrants that left Soviet Communism and settled in Springfield, Ohio. Because of hard work and perseverance, my family was able to achieve the American Dream. I became a firefighter to give back to the community that gave my family the opportunity to get ahead, and I’m running for State Representative to make sure that the same opportunity exists for the next generation. For too long, the legislature has focused on partisan ideology and headline chasing. It’s time that we put the party politics aside and focus on what matters to middle-class Ohioans.

Ohio residents have seen increases in local taxes to pay for law enforcement following the diminishing funds from the state. Do you agree that local taxpayers should be responsible for the majority of these costs?

Clark County deserves some straight talk. You’ll hear politicians brag about the state’s Rainy Day Fund and a balanced budget. Here’s the truth: the legislature passed the largest budget in State history, cut funding for local governments, and gave tax breaks to the wealthiest Ohioans—all on the backs of working families. GOP politicians have played political games, and local communities are put in the impossible position of cutting safety forces, or raising taxes on working families We shouldn’t raise taxes on working families to keep police officers on the beat when the State has a $2 billion surplus.

What do you see as the role of the lawmakers in Columbus as it relates to the increasing costs associated with the heroin epidemic?

Local government fund dollars need to be restored to ensure adequate resources to fight the heroin epidemic in our local communities—police, fire, and EMS. But we cannot rely on local communities to fight this epidemic alone when it transcends any one county or municipality. We need to call the crisis what it is—a Public Health Emergency—and ensure close collaboration of law enforcement to fight drug trafficking, and of treatment to ensure that programs are not working against one another. In addition, we need to understand that addiction is a disease, and ensure access to healthcare for all.

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