Editor’s note: This is the first story highlighting the Greene County Tea Party’s Meet the Candidates Night event. It discusses candidates vying for a seat on Fairborn City Council. The second story, set to print tomorrow, will highlight candidates running for a seat on the Bath Township Board of Trustees.
FAIRBORN — They talked about service and leadership, teamwork and collaboration. They discussed ongoing community challenges and what they’d do to solve them. They had the floor to sell themselves as local elected officials, and they answered questions by the audience.
The Greene County Tea Party hosted its annual Meet the Candidates Oct. 15, inviting local candidates from Fairborn and Bath Township to address voters before the upcoming election.
The five candidates vying for the three available Fairborn City Council seats were given the floor to speak first. Those candidates, listed in alphabetical order, include Clinton Allen, Terry Burkert (who is an incumbent), Keven Knepp, Rodney McCubbins and Tana Stanton.
McCubbins spoke first, going in the order they were listed in the program. He discussed his life-long residency in Fairborn, explaining that his father owned a laundromat at the Skyway Plaza Shopping Center, and his 26 years of service to the United States Air Force. McCubbins said he holds an associates degree in pharmaceutical sciences, and a bachelors degree in organizational management. He shared that he has been involved with the Fairborn community for a number of years, coaching youth baseball and football as his 15 and 13 year old sons grew up.
McCubbins said he completed the city’s Leadership Academy in 2017 and Citizens Police Academy in 2018. He highlighted the city’s strategic plan, continuing to prioritize economic development and taking a look at the state of the city’s housing. McCubbins said it’s important for Fairborn to continue building relationships with Wright State University and Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, as well as neighboring cities and townships.
Following McCubbins presentation was council candidates Clinton Allen. Allen shared that he began to call the City of Fairborn home 21 years ago, after completing 28 years of service to the Air Force. He said the more he learns about Fairborn, the more he grows to love it, adding that he has a sincere interest in how the city moves. Allen said he is the president of the Fairborn Lions Club and is involved with Operation Fairborn Cares, as well as the city’s zoning board and American Veteran Heritage Center.
Allen said he would bring to the table collaboration, communication and leadership, adding that if he is elected, “he would be here for citizens, and citizens would hear from him.” Allen shared that he is “ecstatic” about the city’s recent growth, but added that he wishes to see the city grow even more. He said it is important that while the city continues to grow that it “get in front of secondary affects of growth” such as the possibility of running out of space in the future.
Council candidate Tana Stanton shared that she is a first-time candidate, but became involved with the City of Fairborn three years ago when she began wondering how the city could improve its energy efficiency. Stanton, an industrial engineer, said she started attending council meetings and completed the Fairborn Leadership Academy. She currently served Fairborn’s Parks and Recreation Board, which she said is “awesome” as she is afforded an opportunity to learn about what is happening within the city.
Stanton said she is running for council because she wants to see the city utilize more green energy, adding that it would be cost effective, appealing to young individuals and result in lower pollution. As part of the city charter, election candidates are required to collect at least 50 signatures before turning in their election petitions to be placed on the ballot. Stanton said as she was collecting signatures for her petition, she spoke with local citizens about their thoughts with how things have been going in their community and learned that while streets was their top concern, communication between city officials and citizens was another. She said there is room for improvement with city communication and vowed that she would seek new ways to stay connected with citizens to get more individuals involved in city discussions.
Terry Burkert, a current member of Fairborn City Council, said he grew up in a small town in Illinois with four sisters, a half brother and half sister. He enlisted in the United States Air Force on Dec. 10, 1969 and said it was a “culture shock” from what he had seen in the town where he grew up. However, Burkert said he was able to learn a lot. He left the Air Force four years later, and began serving in civil service after — a role he held for 27 years before retiring in 2007. After retiring, Burkert worked as a contractor for 15 years and shared that he has a combined 45-year history of serving.
Burkert said Fairborn is “his place” and that it is “the best city in Ohio.” He highlighted its downtown and said city leaders strive to “think outside the box.” He wishes to see Fairborn be a friendly and inviting place for businesses and individuals alike. Burkert said so far his journey as a councilman has been good, adding that he has enjoyed the team working alongside him.
Keven Knepp, who has called the City of Fairborn home since marrying his wife in 1990, said he is also a Air Force veteran, serving for six years. He is involved as a leader for the Boy Scouts of America and is within his fifth year of service to the Fairborn Parks and Recreation Board. Knepp also serves as the chaplain for the local American Legion and has completed multiple leadership courses. Knepp highlighted Fairborn’s proximity to the National Museum of the United States Air Force and said it’s important to learn how to attract individuals from the museum to downtown Fairborn.
Knepp said it’s important to bring more recreation and leisurely activities to Fairborn, as business leaders will look at what an area can bring to its employees before settling there — and attracting good companies will bring quality jobs to Fairborn. Knepp said he would like to see the Interstate-675 and Interstate-70 interchange become more developed. He also highlighted the importance of addressing local housing, homelessness and drug use. He commended the Fairborn Police Department as well as its military-friendliness. Knepp added that he would like to see the city keep its momentum going.
Contact Whitney Vickers at 937-502-4532.