Voters in Fulton and Henry counties have choices to make when it comes to county commissioners when they go to the polls on Tuesday, Nov. 4.
In Fulton County, Michael T. Van Wagner is challenging Dean Genter, the incumbent, for the title of Fulton County Commissioner.
Henry County voters will have two choices to make, as Richard Myers, the incumbent faces the challenge of David Cordes for a seat at the commissioner table.
Robert Hastedt and Robin Weirauch vie for a second Henry County Commissioner chair.
Fulton County Commissioner
Candidate: Dean Genter
Resides In: rural Archbold
Family: wife, Kathy; one son, two daughters
Native of: Pettisville
Education: 1976 graduate, Pettisville High School
Present employment: serving second term as Fulton County commissioner; grain and hog farm operation, custom combining operation.
Affiliations: County Township Association; Fulton County Pork Producers; Fulton County Farm Bureau, past president and state federation board member; Pettisville EverReady 4H Club advisor, 10 years; Pettisville FFA Alumni member; worked with Pettisville FFA Pumpkin Festival, Family Farm Tours, Pettisville Music Boosters stand, Milkshake stand, Pork stand at Fulton County Fair, Fulton County Soil & Water Conservation District fourth grade Ag Fest; St John’s Christian Church, serving on consistory; member of several boards.
Other Experience: Genter said between running his farm operation and serving eight years as commissioner has "allowed me to bring a ‘thinking out of the box’ approach in solving problems. My experience of working with many of our local, state, and federal legislators and officials has helped bring valuable resources back to Fulton County." Genter listed several accomplishments in office, including helping to secure grant funds for the joint Archbold Schools-Pettisville Schools-Northwest State Community College alternative energy program.
Comments: Genter said if reelected, he will work to retain and expand businesses and industries, work with elected offi cials to promote efficiencies in government before considering any new sales tax, support solar and wind power, promote infrastructure needs, and obtain state and federal grants to fulfi ll those needs, promote farmland preservation, and continue to attend community functions to gain input.
Candidate: Michael T. Van Wagner
Resides In: rural Swanton
Native of: Florida, resident of Fulton County 17 years
Education: 1973 graduate, John I. Leonard High School, Lake Worth, Fla,; International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers national apprenticeship program
Present employment: Gem Industrial
Other experience: Traveled to 25 states as an electrical worker; worked in the Caribbean and Atlantic as a commercial diver and fisherman.
Civic public projects: Open Door, Delta; volunteer, Habitat for Humanity; volunteer coach, started girls softball team for Friendly Center; assisted in eight county’s minimum wage petitions, assisted to help put Healthy Families Act on ballot.
Affiliations: IBEW member, journeyman electrician
Other political experience: presently Fulton County Democratic Party chairman
Comments: Van Wagner said he will work to pursue any and all revenue owed to Fulton County.
"I have seen how one-party rule stops all unpleasant questions from being looked into. We need to listen as commissioners and not shrug our shoulders."
Van Wagner brought up questions concerning law enforcement and property tax issues, pledging that he will "dig up the facts and make our elected officials do their job or demand a special investigator for Fulton County."
Henry County Commissioner
Candidate: David A. Cordes
Resides In: Napoleon
Native of: Ridgeville Corners area; has lived in Henry County 30-plus years
Education: 1985 Napoleon High School graduate; associate’s degree, business management, Northwest State Community College, 1993; bachelor’s degree, business management, Spring Arbor (Mich.) College, 1996; chiropractic physician, Cleveland Chiropractic College, 1999
Present employment: Cordes Chiropractic Center, Napoleon, business owner for more than seven years
Civic public projects: Henry County Civil Service Board
Affiliations: Farm Bureau, Henry County Township Association; Napoleon Alive, Inc.; Northwest Networking; North- West Ohio Chiropractic Association; Ohio State Chiropractic Association; St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, Napoleon Township
Previously held public office? No
Other experience: Farming: minimal tillage traditional agricultural crops, specialty crops, and livestock
Comments: His objective is to develop a larger, more diversifi ed tax base in the county.
"We need to encourage business investment to develop diversifi ed economic growth. This would create new job growth and increase our tax base to support county services.
"Henry County has underutilized assets- a southern main railroad, abundant northern water supply, etc. My background in business, education, and agriculture will help our county better manage its assets. If elected, I will work diligently to further develop economic growth."
Candidate: Richard Myers
Resides In: rural Liberty Center
Family: wife, two daughters, one son
Native of: Liberty Center
Education: 1967 graduate, Liberty Center High School; 1971 graduate, Bowling Green State University, bachelor’s degree in business administration, with an accounting major.
Present employment: Henry County Commissioner; self-employed, Liberty Software Systems, Inc.; partner, JR Farms.
Civic public projects: Henry County Emergency Medical Service, Southern District; Liberty Center Community Action
Affiliations: County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Fifth District Referees Association, Colton United Methodist Church
Previously held public office? Yes, Washington Township, Henry County, trustee, 2002-2006.
Other Experience: General manager, Myers Crop Center, Inc., 1971-1988; tax agent, State of Ohio, 1970-71.
Comments: Myers said his goal in office is to be fiscally responsible, have vision, and serve with integrity.
Henry County Commissioner
Candidate: Robert "Bob" E. Hastedt
Resides In: rural Hamler
Family: Wife, Deborah, two sons
Native of: Holgate
Education: 1968 Holgate High School graduate
Other experience: U.S. Army, Vietnam era
Present employment: farmer and business owner
Civic and public projects: president, Henry County South Joint Ambulance District board; Emergency Medical Technician and driver, Holgate EMS
Affiliations: past commander, American Legion Post 454, Ridgeville Corners, past officer and Sunday School teacher, Immanuel Lutheran Church, Hamler
Previously held public office: presently Monroe Township Trustee; currently president Henry County Township Trustee Association
Other experience: Tri- County Rural Electric board of trustees; representative to Ohio Rural Electric Cooperative Board; Henry County Solid Waste Management Advisory Board; Henry County Railroad Crossing Safety Committee; past member, Henry County Soil and Water Board of directors and Monroe Township Zoning Board of Appeals
Comments: "Being on the solid waste board, and having the landfill in my township, I am staying abreast of the current changes at the landfill.
"As a member of the railroad crossing committee, I was involved with the change made to a dangerous rail crossing on the bypass around Napoleon.
"I feel these experiences, along with the relationships formed through years of service to the community, have trained me for the position of county commissioner. If elected, I will continue to serve as I have in the past."
Candidate: Robin R. Weirauch
Resides In: rural Napoleon
Family: married 31 years; no children
Native of: Henry County
Education: 1975 graduate, Liberty Center High School and Four County Joint Vocational School; 1980 graduate, Bowling Green State University, bachelor’s degree in business administration; 1998, master’s degree in public administration, BGSU
Present employment: none; most recently worked with BGSU Center for Regional Development, 1998-2006.
Civic and public projects: Founder and board member, Henry County Humane Society, 1981-present; court appointed special advocate, citizen representative of children involved in the court system, appointed 1994; former emergency medical technician, Napoleon Rescue; Napoleon Alive, Inc., 2006-present; Foreclosure Prevention Taskforce; advisory board member, Henry County Ohio State University Extension Advisory Committee; Symphony of Trees Charity Fundraising event, publicity committee.
Affiliations: Ohio Farmers Union; Henry County Democratic Women’s Club; St. Luke Lutheran Church, Wauseon.
Previously held public office: No
Other experience: Weirauch cited her education and work experience. Her work in economic development included federal grant writing, budgeting, and administration; she also conducted fiscal analysis training workshops for local governments.
If elected, she will work to improve the county’s willingness and abilities to develop collaborative partners, communicate more effectively, and adopt a regional approach to community development.
"We must do a better job of using and finding the resources we need to succeed," she said. The commissioners must do a better job of finding and using resources, and collaboration, communication, and regional thinking are essential to that goal.
"County commissioners should be more than caretakers of the county’s business. Commissioners should be crafters of the county’s future- developing partnerships, involving citizens in decision-making, and deploying regional strategies that make the most of what we have. As a full-time commissioner, I will devote myself to these efforts."