Candidates explain themselves at forum


BEAVERCREEK TOWNSHIP — Candidates for county and state offices had a chance to sell themselves during a League of Women Voters forum Oct. 9.

About 15 residents filled the meeting room at the Beavercreek Township Fire Department to hear those running for state representative in districts 73 and 74, county commissioner, and clerk of courts explain why they should be elected in November.

Democrat Kim McCarthy is challenging Republican incumbent Rick Perales in the 73rd District. She said her interest in running began when she started attending county commissioner meetings and looked into county business.

“I was not happy with what I found,” she said, adding that she wants to make the community stronger.

Perales, in his sixth year at the Statehouse, said as a military veteran his whole life has been about service.

“I enjoy what I’m doing,” he said. “It’s about service.“

Both were asked about the reduction in local government funding and how they feel about it.

McCarthy said she supports the full reinstatement of the funding.

“We can not operate without those funds,” she said.

Perales said he was a county official in 2013 when the cuts came and he was against it then.

“I’m still against it,” he said, adding that he won’t promise something just to get a vote. Until the funding is restored, he said communities need to do their part to “be efficient with what’s out there.”

In the 74th District, Democrat Anne Gorman is challenging Republican incumbent Bill Dean.

Gorman said she is running because, “I didn’t know who my district rep (Dean) was.” She said she met with people in all three counties in the district and only 21 knew who their rep was.

“People are not happy,” Gorman said. “They don’t feel represented. That bothers me.”

Gorman said a big goal is to get money back in the district, which has lost $20 million in the last eight years due to reduced funding.

“I don’t know where it is,” she said. “I want it back.”

Dean was not at the event.

There will be a new county commissioner as Republican candidate Dick Gould beat incumbent Alan Anderson in the primary and will face Democrat Susan Lopez in the general election.

Gould, the current county treasurer, said he has worked his whole life to make Greene County a better place to live. He has served on various boards and committees and feels the commission needs someone with an economic background on it.

He said bringing good paying jobs to the county is his “No. 1 priority.”

Lopez said she has a footprint in every city in township in the county through chamber memberships and other organizations. She decided to run because she saw how spending was “hurting families here.” She pledges fiscal responsibility.

“I know what a dollar is,” she said.

Both were asked about the county’s large amount of reserve funds.

Lopez said having reserve funds is mandated, as is fiscal responsibility. She said some of the money should be moved elsewhere so tax payers see the commissioners are managing money better. She said it could be used for a possible multi-million jail project, among others.

Gould said in the past he told the commissioners they had too much money and would be supportive of putting some of it into a new jail facility. He did say that not having enough in reserves could cause the county’s bond rating to be lowered, meaning it will pay a higher interest rate on bonds.

Democrat Cyndi Pauwels is challenging Republican incumbent A.J. Williams in the clerk of court race. Williams was appointed when long-time clerk Terri Mazur retired in January.

Born and raised in Ohio, Pauwels has nearly 20 years in the criminal justice system including being a deputy clerk in the federal courts for civil, criminal and appeals cases.

“I can honestly say I’ve been preparing for it all my life,” she said.

Pauwels said she understands equal access and fair treatment.

Williams, a Greene County native, worked in the recorder’s office before his appointment and said being a clerk is an administrative position and not really a legislative position.

“We are the keeper of the records,” he said. “We need to be as transparent as possible.”

The candidates were asked what they would do to improve operations at the clerk’s office.

Pauwels said the clerk’s office is not just a business.

“It’s people’s lives that are involved,” she said, adding that she would make the court system more accessible so people know “that their rights are going to be protected.”

Williams said the computer system appears to be antiquated and he wants to look into improving that. He also said attorneys ask about e-filing, which the county doesn’t accept yet. He plans to explore that opportunity.

By Scott Halasz

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Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.

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