Occupation: Sr. Pastor, The Wilmington United Methodist Church
What are your qualifications for the position of Clinton County commissioner?
A United Methodist pastor for 35 years in churches of 60 to 1,500 members. I have lived in Clinton County for 15 years and served on the boards of five non-profit organizations including 10 years on the board of trustees at Community Action, 3 years as chairman. President of the Wilmington Ministerial Association for 10 years, served on the Mayor’s Economic Taskforce and was named Outstanding Community Leader by Leadership Clinton.
Why do you want to be a commissioner?
As a Christian, I believe that I am called to serve the community. I feel that I have been given the gifts and experiences that would make me a strong, caring, responsible commissioner who brings a new energy and perspective to the responsibilities of the office.
Describe the kind of commissioner you would like to be.
STRONG – with the commitment, resolve, and dedication to build a stronger, better Clinton County.
CARING – understanding the struggles of all the people in our county and making decisions that benefit all of us, especially senior citizens, struggling parents, ethical businesses, wage earners, and those who cannot care for themselves.
RESPONSIBLE – Accountable to all the residents. Cooperating with other caring citizens in government, churches, schools, and businesses to protect and empower our neighbors, our children and our grandchildren for a brighter, better future.
What goals would you have if elected?
It’s not about my goals. It’s about OUR goals as a community. I would bring together a coalition of people across party lines, from town and country, from schools, churches, non-profits, and businesses to articulate the goals that would serve the common good of the entire county — to make life better for all of us, to make our kids proud of their homes so they want to make their homes here as adults.
The commissioners oversee millions of dollars in public money. What’s your fiscal philosophy as to how that money should be overseen?
My first priority is that not one dime of our tax money should leave Clinton County. We have all the talent and skill we need, right here in this county, to administer those funds. And we have all the information we need to know how and where to spend or invest it.
While some of the funds have to be used for immediate needs, I would also require that some be set aside to be used for building toward a vision of the future.
And I would push for the adoption of a Genuine Progress Indicator (GPI) that would measure actual progress toward goals in a concrete and visible way. A GPI would hold us accountable to a standard that anyone in the county could access at any time.
Do you support the county’s levied 0.5 percent sales tax or do you think it should be reduced, increased or expire this year?
This is a no-brainer. If we need the dollars in order to deliver necessary services (as we did when it was first adopted) then we should keep it. If we don’t and can show clearly and decisively that we don’t need it now and won’t need it for the foreseeable future then we should let it go.
During the four-year term of office you seek, the county expects to receive millions of dollars from the sale of the formerly county-owned Clinton Memorial Hospital. What should be done with that money?
The revenue from the sale of the hospital is to be invested in the health, safety and welfare of all the citizens of Clinton County.
HEALTH – The most effective way the county administration can contribute to the health of the citizens is through nutrition and exercise programs. Nutrition is, at least partially addressed through school lunch and breakfast programs that are in place during the school year and in the summer, and through programs like Meals on Wheels that delivers healthy, nutritious meals to our senior citizens who cannot purchase or prepare meals for themselves.
Exercise is addressed with safe hike and bike trails which should be extended throughout the county. And our commissioners need to address the huge void that has been left in our community by the closing of the YMCA.
SAFETY – We must have safe streets, roads and bridges and sufficient supplies to keep them safe year round. We must provide support for the sheriff. Trash and waste disposal must be environmentally sound. Judge Rudduck’s enlightened and progressive concept of a drug court and a program for opioid abuse prevention must be supported.
WELFARE – The general welfare and common good of all citizens is the responsibility of the whole community. As county commissioner I would work to build cooperation between different members of our community and I would make commission meetings more open and accessible to the public so we can be guided and advised by the community we serve. I would make the tough decisions I was elected to make and not hand them off to other organizations and committees who are not amenable or answerable to the voters.
Do you wish to briefly add something that hasn’t been touched upon in your responses?
Our senior services tax levy was put in place to serve the senior citizens of our county so they can stay in their homes, in the county they love, for as long as possible. And the levy has raised millions of dollars toward that goal.
However, for the past ten years the commissioners have turned over the administration of those funds to the Council on Aging in Cincinnati, letting them determine how and on whom our tax dollars are spent.
AND we have, over the past ten years, paid the Council on Aging in Cincinnati nearly three quarters of a million dollars to tell us what we can and cannot do with our own money.
While it may be argued whether or not this was, originally, a good idea, it can no longer be defended or tolerated. We have all the talent, intelligence and skill that we need to administer and oversee those funds right here in Clinton County. Our tax money should be kept in Clinton County and administered by Clinton county people by and for Clinton county people.