Candidate profiles

County commissioner races see competition

R-H Staff




EATON — Preble County voters will select between two Republican candidates on the Tuesday, March 17, Primary Election ballot in each of the two county commission seats up for reelection come November.

Incumbent commissioner Chris Day faces off against candidate Rachael Vonderhaar, and imcumbent commissioner Denise Robertson faces candidate Adam Craft for spots on the November ballot.

The four candidates were mailed requests for candidate profiles by the R-H news staff, and what follows are those responses received.

Christopher M. Day

Hometown: West Alexandria

Occupation: Preble County Commissioner 2009-present

Education: Twin Valley South High School graduate

Community Involvement: Salem Lutheran Church, Sons of the American Legion 322, King Hiram Lodge 88, Twin Valley Track Foundation, Special Olympics

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

Having been a public servant my entire career and I understand the importance of listening to my constituents concerns and trying to come to some form of resolution that everyone can live with. I have worked at the local, county, and state levels in various positions and sat on multiple committees and boards which I believe have given me great in site on problem solving along with creative ways to find resources which would assist in resolving the issues at hand. Since first being elected in 2009, in which the county was in fiscal distress. Working along side fellow commissioners, and all Preble County elected officials, the tough decisions were made to balance the county’s “General Fund Budget.” Since that time the general fund budget has always been balanced. Essential services have been maintained along with the addition of some services and numerous capital improvement projects have been completed.


One of the major issues facing Preble County is the addiction to illegal drugs (heroin & opioids). This crisis has touched every family in Preble County. This problem has taxed almost every elected officials office along with social agencies in the county, it is not only the financial side but the physical side of trying to staff the agencies that deal with the fallout from drug addiction. This is more that just a local problem it is a state and national issue. We have to continue to work with our state and national elected officials to try to correct this situation.

Work force development — we don’t have enough employees to fill the jobs that are open in Preble County. We need to continue to educate our workforce, (primarily young high school students) that there are good quality jobs that pay well right here in Preble County.

Unfunded mandates that are passed down from the state and federal government we at the county level are expected to fund — These mandates create unforeseen burdens on the general fund that then in turn force the commissioners to have to make reductions that effect our county elected officials and departments.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

If re-elected I will continue listening to the residents of Preble County, working with them to resolve their issues and concerns. I will continue working with all the elected officials and agencies, assisting them in obtaining the resources that they need to continue to serve Preble County residents. I will support existing businesses as they continue to expand and grow our economy and provide additional jobs for our county. I believe that we have made great strides to support business and the community with the Preble County Developmental Partnership along with Preble County Chamber of Commerce and Preble County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The Preble County Ag Society and Ohio State Extension Office are key to the promotion of agriculture and youth development. I will continue to be engaged at the district and state level with fellow commissioners and elected officials to lower our financial obligations and keep our local dollars in Preble County. I believe that my “conservative values” have made a difference for Preble County.

I feel that if you look at Preble County now versus ten years ago we have made Preble County a better place to live, work and raise a family. If re-elected I will continue to work for you to further that vision.

Rachael Vonderhaar

Hometown: Camden, Israel Township


1999-Current Vonderhaar Farms Inc. (Sec./Treas.)

2008-Current Vonderhaar Transport LLC (Managing Member)

2013-Current Vonderhaar Family ARC LLC (Owner)

2017-Current Farm Credit Mid-America (Director)

Past Political Office Held: Preble County FSA County Committee


The Premier Governance Series (PGS)

Advanced Leadership At It’s Best

Leadership At It’s Best

Executive Institute Series (Purdue University/Farm Credit)

Morehead State University

Laktoa High School

Community Involvement:

2010-2018 4-H Advisor (All Star Livestock)

2010-Current Friends of Preble County 4-H Inc. (Treasurer – non-profit, a Founding Member)

2010-Current Ohio Agri-Women (Past President – legislative organization)

2010-Current American Agri-Women (Ohio Convention Co-Chair, Finance Committee)

2011-Current Preble County Farm Bureau (Trustee/Public Policy Chair)

2014-Current Ohio Small Grains Marketing Program Checkoff (Secretary, Treasurer, current Vice Chair)

2014-Current Wheat Foods Council (Secretary/Treasurer, Vice Chair, current Chair)

2014-Current Ohio Corn and Wheat Association

2014-Current Ohio Federation of Republican Women (Ag Committee Co-Chair)

2016-Current Preble County Habitat for Humanity (Trustee/Treasurer)

2016-Current Preble County Economic Development (Trustee)

2016-2019 Twin Valley South/MVCTC FFA Advisory Committee

2017-Current Preble County CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate for Children)

2018-Current Reid Hospital Foundation (Trustee -non-profit)

2018-Current Concerned Citizens of Preble County LLC (Trustee, Treasurer)

2019-Current Attending Community of Faith (Eaton)

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this political position?

I am the most qualified Republican candidate for Preble County Commissioner because of my years of experience in business, non-profit, and community service work. My perspective is balanced. I care for people while staying focused on financial efficiencies, coordinating collaborative partnerships and building problem solving teams for success. My community involvement speaks to my faith, my heart, and my service. Actions are more valuable than words.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking and how would you address them?

The most crucial issues facing Preble County are:

1. Lawsuits

Ohio EPA vs Preble County and the PC Commissioners- Sewer District 6

Preble County Board of Elections

Preble County Ag Society (pending)

Two Motions to Intervene at the Ohio Power Siting Board (Alamo I & Angelina I Solar Sites)

Preble County Art Association (pending)

2. Leadership — Building Collaborative Work Teams, Utilizing the work, Recognizing the Contributors

3. Communication — Transparency, and Inclusive Conversation with Stakeholders

4. Planning and Preparation — Vision, Mission, Purpose, Building a Strategic Plan then Implementing

5. Advocating — Our county needs leadership that advocates to the State and Federal level for our needs

If elected what would be your chief priorities?

If elected, my chief priority will be to implement a culture change, transparency and communication will be the foundation laid for the path of Preble County going forward. Opening the lines of communication of the commission office and create a culture of customer service, respect, and compassion, for all those served by the Preble County Commission Office. We need to improve communication in every interaction taking place, that is why we have the lawsuits and pending litigation piled up. Preble County is in need of vision, purpose, mission, and leadership.

Denise Robertson

Hometown: Camden

Office seeking: Preble County Commissioner


Preble County Commissioner

Robertson Tree Farm, Co-owner with husband Fred


Miami University, Associate of Applied Science

Preble Shawnee, Graduate

Community Involvement:

Youth for Christ, Eaton Campus Life volunteer

Oxford Cooperative Theatre Company, Co-producer

Why are you the most qualified candidate for this position?

I have the experience of being in the position. My focus has been on keeping a sustainable budget for the future of the county without raising taxes. Having a background as a systems analyst allows me to evaluate the spending requests and to balance that with long-term goals of keeping services in place within our current spending. We have been able to gradually restore the budget for the Sheriff’s department, which was cut in 2008-2009. Maintaining a sustainable budget requires an objective evaluation of all spending.

What are the most crucial issues facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address it?

What I hear the most from local businesses is that there is a lack of people to fill the open positions they have. Through the efforts of the workforce development committee, businesses and schools have starting working together to create internship possibilities and explore other ways to address this shortage. Actively bringing all entities to the table to address issues like this is the way to solve problems. Several soon-to-graduate students have been successfully paired with local companies, as a result. Promoting the great opportunities we have in the county will hopefully keep our young people here to live, work, and raise their future families.

If elected or re-elected, what would be your chief priorities?

My chief priority has been to keep taxes low and to try to eliminate barriers to creating and retaining business. We will continue to provide the quality services people expect within the current spending. I feel very strongly that we collect enough in taxes to provide what the county needs in services. I cannot justify taking more from families and businesses that have their own bills to pay. I will continue to keep the taxpayers in mind while making decisions as commissioner.

Adam Craft

(Editor’s note: Craft had not responded to the request for profile information at deadline.)


County commissioner races see competition

R-H Staff