PREBLE COUNTY – Voters have one contested county commission race to decide on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Incumbent Preble County Commissioner Chris Day is vying to keep his position in a race against Eaton’s Joe Renner.
Both candidates shared the following regarding their backgrounds, their accomplishments, and thoughts on the commission seat:
Chris Day (Republican)
Past political posts held: Preble County Commissioner (currently serving second term)
Occupation: Village Administrator, West Alexandria; County Commissioner
Education: Twin Valley South High School (1980)
Community involvement: West Alexandria Lions Club, Twin Valley Athletic Association, Twin Valley Community Track Association, Preble County Historical Society, numerous professional organizations.
Why are you the most qualified candidate for this office? Based on my years in government and my seven-plus years of being commissioner. When I came on in 2009, the county was broke, the country was in a financial crisis — we had to make a lot of tough cuts. We worked through those cuts, worked with the elected officials through that time. Made the tough cuts but also made sure they had the resources they needed to provide services for the residents of Preble County. Since then, we’ve worked to rebuild the county’s finances and worked to establish multiple organizations to support county businesses.
What is the most crucial issue(s) facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address them? We’ve been working on the landfill. We finally got the new building and scales are in construction. Once that’s done, then we can move to the next phase. We are working on making that more efficient, so it is self sufficient financially. I think we are well on our way to making that happen. The one area we are all facing is the drug problem. There’s no magic answer for that at this point in time. We continue to work with our state and national leaders to look at avenues where we can try to correct this problem, help individuals get the help they need. That’s one of the biggest challenges we are facing. It affects the county financially.
If elected, what would be your chief priorities? The top priority is looking at the drug issues and how we can work on turning that from a negative into a positive. Get people back into productive lives. Some of the others are how can we better our social services — Try to figure out how to streamline social services so that we are getting the biggest bang for our buck and not duplication of efforts. The 9-1-1 system is going to be another huge item that we are going to have to deal with.
What do you want to tell the people of Preble County? I want to continue working with all of the residents of Preble County. Continue at looking to see where we can improve, if we can consolidate and make things more efficient. Continue to be fiscally responsible for the residents. I’m here for the people. If they have problems we want to solve their problems. I want to make Preble County a better place to live, work and raise their families.
Joe Renner (Independent)
Past political posts held: Eaton City Council (currently in 11th year), Eaton Community School Board of Education
Occupation: Preble County Sheriff’s Office (Major), 9-1-1 coordinator and dispatch supervisor
Education: Eaton High School
Community involvement: Past board member Eaton Little League, H.I.T. Foundation Property Management Committee, sat on various other boards
Why are you the most qualified candidate for this office? I think in whatever position I’ve held (people) have seen a consistency with me. The truth is the truth no matter who I am talking too. The story doesn’t change. I don’t play favorites. I’m conservative, but that doesn’t mean cheap. I bring a lot of experience with budgeting. At the school we had a $21 million budget and over 200 employees. At the city, $12-13 million budget, 50-60 employees so I bring experience with personnel. I’ve been involved with union negotiations on both sides of the table. I think I bring a broad bit of knowledge there. I believe that the commissioners office could go a long way in learning how to work with the municipalities. I think they can go a long way in learning to let the elected officials do their jobs and not try to supplant their ideas and their judgment in there because all these elected officials are elected to run their offices. The commissioners are not elected to run their offices.
What is the most crucial issue(s) facing the office you are seeking, and how would you address them? The economic development is always a huge issue facing everybody. Everyone has their own opinions on what’s right and wrong. You have the people who don’t want to see any change and the people who want to see huge change. Somewhere in the middle we have to come to an agreement on that because if we don’t grow somewhere who’s going to pay for it? Somewhere in the middle you have to figure that out. I don’t have the magic wand for that. I’m open to it as long as it’s reasonable.
If elected, what would be your chief priorities? First of all, I think the commissioners office has to mend fences with the elected officials. Relationships are not good in that courthouse. To me, learn their role, get along with the elected officials, let them run their offices and stay out of it for the most part. We need to make business easier.
What do you want to tell the people of Preble County? For those that know me, they know what they’re getting. Very simply. You’ve seen it with the school. You’ve seen it with the council. You’ve seen it in my job. There’s not a game plan. There’s no second guessing. There’s no politics. For those that don’t know me, I can say that’s its just going to be honesty and openness. We may not always agree, but you’re going to know the reason why and it’s going to be adult and professional. We’re going to watch the taxpayers dollars, but we’re also going to do the right thing.
Reach Eddie Mowen Jr. at 937-683-4056 or on Twitter @emowen_RH.