Incumbent county Commissioner Steve Hess is challenged in this year’s Republican primary election by Stacey Logwood. There are no Democrat candidates. The Urbana Daily Citizen sent questions to both candidates to better inform readers of their positions prior to the March 17 primary election. The responses are in their words, unless otherwise noted. Responses exceeding the word limits have been edited to conform.
The salary of the County Commissioners in 2021 will be $54,939 and they are considered full-time.
I grew up in Champaign County, graduated from Graham High School, and then Wilmington College with a Bachelor’s Degree in Agriculture. I married my high school sweetheart, Marsha, in 1974 and we have 3 children and 3 grandchildren, all of whom live within 14 miles of us in Champaign County.
I have been involved in and around agriculture all my life, and farmed full time for over 30 years. I have served Ohio Farm Bureau on the local, state, and national level and served 15 years as State Trustee for Champaign, Clark, Miami, and Darke Counties on Ohio Farm Bureau State Board.
I was elected Champaign County Commissioner in November of 2000 and took office in January 2001. In my time in office I have served on many community boards and committees including Caring Kitchen, Economic Development, Homeland Security, GrandWorks, OPWC, Juvenile Detention Center, Barn Quilt Tour, and many more.
Why are you the best qualified candidate for County Commissioner?
I think my range of experience, my background, and the knowledge and understanding of the job since I’ve been in the Commissioner’s office combine to make me the best qualified.
What unique areas of expertise would you bring to the County Commission if elected?
As agriculture is so predominant in Champaign County, I think my lifelong connection to the ag community is very important. I also understand how business works, having been in the business of farming for so many years. Sometimes, you need to make do with what you have, prioritize the area of greatest need, and stretch dollars as far as possible. These are all things that also apply to managing the County budget.
What are the three most serious financial challenges facing Champaign County government in the next 4 years?
I think we have positioned ourselves pretty well to be fairly insulated against financial challenges. The county has no debt to service, we are very up to date on all our facility maintenance, parking lots are all in good shape, and we’re on track with our computer and IT replacement schedule. Some other things that we watch closely are sales tax revenues and the cost to the criminal justice system for opioid related offenses.
What is the most exciting opportunity that County Commissioners might encounter during the next 4 years?
I think we have the opportunity to continue the strong economy that we have had the benefit of for the past several years.
What specific skills do you possess that will help you excel at communicating and cooperating with fellow county officeholders, township officials and municipal officials?
I know most of them on a first name basis already. I have devoted my career in office to working collaboratively with other elected officials at all levels of government. I believe that is what the public expects of us.
Is Champaign County well positioned for the economy of the future? Why or why not?
I believe we are on our way to being well positioned for the economy of the future. The CEP has taken a targeted approach to reaching out to students in our local schools and providing information, job and career possibilities, events and activities at the fair, and engineering and design competitions. We need to be sure that we create opportunities for our young people to come back to Champaign County and be the leaders of tomorrow.
What 3 goals would you like to accomplish if elected and how would you do this?
1. Continue to be fiscally sound by living within our means.
2. Strengthen and enhance the already strong working relationship on our county “team” of public servants by meeting with them periodically in their departments.
3. Continue to meet with our local businesses by serving on the CEP’s Jobs Team.