With the primary just one week from Tuesday, three area residents are seeking the Republican nomination in the race for Huron County commissioner.
Jim Ewell and Chuck Furey are making their first foray into county politics, while Larry Silcox was elected to a previous term as county commissioner.
The primary winner will face Democrat Sharon Ward in a November general election race that will determine the successor for current Commissioner Ralph Fegley, who decided not to seek a second term.
"Knowing of my volunteer efforts, numerous friends had approached me about running for commissioner in the past," Ewell said. "However, I knew I didn't have the heart for the kind of politics of personal destruction that had been the trademark of previous commissioners.
"This present board's actions proved to me county government could achieve positive results without months of negative headlines."
He cited overall safety for families, including the county's economic ability to sustain commerce, business, agriculture, industry and development, as his top concern.
Ewell also said he believes residents are worried about an uncertain future. "There is no greater burden than uncertainty," he said.
He said the real estate conveyance fee that will also be on the ballot March 4 might have been made "after hearing from an all-too-narrow and self-serving group of individuals.
"What good is funding tourism if rural crime is rampant? What good would a fancy brochure be touting the high points of Huron County when there are hundreds of flooded properties each time it rains? The citizens that talked with me indicate government never seems to cut back, sacrifice or do without before raising fees. Maybe it's time to do just that."
He also addressed the proposal to build a new airport on NASA property in Erie County.
"I believe anything . . . to assist in the building of a two mile long runway for NASA's Plumbrook facility in the heart of Erie County is a great idea," Ewell said. "But, when Erie County officials try to tell Huron County how we need to sacrifice for Erie County's benefit, that's when things start to go askew."
Furey points to his career 38 years in banking and handling over $450 million in commercial loans over a four-county area - with the expertise to let him benefit Huron County economically, which will be his first goal.
"My second goal is to continue to provide the county officials and departments the resources they need for everyday operations without raising taxes," Furey said. "My third goal is to do whatever is necessary to keep the residents of Huron County safe by supporting the efforts of the Huron County Sheriff Department."
He said living and working in the area since the early 1950s has given him the background to handle the commissioner's seat.
"My work experience has made me keenly aware of the challenges we all face in Huron County. We are faced with the rising need for services and a variable source of tax revenue. A dilemma exists on what to do to increase revenue for county services without increasing the tax burden of our citizens," Furey said.
"All three of my goals can be accomplished by attracting new companies to work in Huron County, while also assisting existing companies with growth.," Furey said. "The creation of new jobs for area residents, whether from the expansion of current companies or from new companies locating in Huron County, leads to a high tax base for the county to use for everyday operations."
Furey said as a candidate for Huron County Commissioner, he offers voters both experience and the ability to offer new, fresh ideas to the Board of Commissioners.
Silcox pointed to his previous experience as commissioner as preparation for the seat.
"I believe that my experience makes me the best-qualified candidate," he said. "I bring a wide range of experience to the office of commissioner. My long record in public service makes me the best qualified candidate."
Silcox agreed with his competitors that economic development is key to improving Huron County.
"My primary goal is economic development," he said. "With unemployment rates above nine percent it is clear that the biggest problem in Huron County is the lack of good jobs."
He also said he has the experience to run the county efficiently.
"I believe that county government should be run like a business, it should provide necessary services at the lowest cost to the taxpayer," he said. "My goal is to ensure that the taxpayers of this county get a dollar of service for every dollar of tax paid."
Silcox vowed to put the interests for all county residents first.
"The commissioner's office deals with a variety of issues," he said. "My goal is to make sure that the decisions on the issues represent the people of Huron County and not any special interest."
Silcox came out against a rise in the real estate conveyance fee.
"I am glad the voters have a chance to decide this issue," he said. "In today's economy I can not support new taxes."
As for a new airport at NASA, Silcox wants more information before making a decision. "It is hard to know with out more facts, which are still being developed, but if it helps the economy of Huron County I would strongly consider it.
CANDIDATES' BIOGRAPHICAL INFO
JAMES A. (JIM) EWELL, JR.
Address: 4680 Plank Road, Norwalk
Family: Spouse of 30 years Barbara; grown daughters Abbe, Jennifer and son-in-law Nate
Occupation: Sales at Don Tester Ford for 23 years; owner/operator Plank Road Storage
Education: Eagle Scout; 1972 graduate Norwalk High School; two years of Forestry Technology Training
Previous public service: I have not run for public office until now, but have been very active in numerous civic organizations and projects.
Address: 166 Norwood Avenue, Norwalk
Family: Wife, Linda (Rogers), married 39 years; daughter, Sarah L. Furey, 31; son and daughter-in-law, Alan C. and Sarah E. (Kessler) Furey, both 27.
Occupation -Retired as Vice President/Regional Manager of Corporate Banking with National City after 38 years, currently serving as secretary/treasurer for Plum Brook Country Club
Education:1965 graduate of Norwalk St. Paul High School, earned an Associates Degree from the University of Toledo in 1968, attended Ashland University during the mid to late 1970s, attended the Graduate School of Banking at the University of Wisconsin, 1981-1983.
Previous public service: Currently serving as campaign treasurer for Huron County MRDD Campaign; Fisher-Titus Medical Center Board of Directors; Treasurer of the Health Promotions Board; past president of the Norwalk Economic Development Corporation; vice-president of the Norwalk Community Development Corporation; Corporate Chairman of the 2006 Heart Walk; member of the Knights of Columbus in Norwalk; member of the Norwalk Elks Club; former board member and past chairmen of the Admissions Committee for the Norwalk Area United Fund; past president of the Norwalk Rotary Club; past president of the Norwalk Jaycees.
LARRY J. SILCOX
Address: 2 Rosedale Blvd. Norwalk
Family: daughter Lauren,14; Son Ben 10
Occupation: Owner of Truthgraph Ltd.
Education: Norwalk High School; National Training Center of Polygraph Science
Previous public service: Former Chief Deputy Sheriff with the Ohio Attorney General's office; Norwalk Safety and Service Director; City of Sandusky Engineering Department; former Huron County Commissioner