Editor’s note: Each Republican candidate for Champaign County Commissioner on the May 3 ballot was invited by the Urbana Daily Citizen to participate in a survey. The candidates are Bob E. Corbett, Marcia Bailey, David Faulkner and Nino Vitale. Those surveys received by the deadline are being published in a series of articles. No Democrats filed for the election.
Name: Nino Vitale
Address: 4940 Benson Road, Urbana, Union Township
Qualifications: I have been a resident of Champaign County for over 24 years, our local family business employs over 350 people, and I have also been Champaign County’s state representative for 8 years. I am a Dean’s list MBA graduate and I have extensive background in business, finance and government. Most importantly, I deeply care about our community. Having lived and worked in other areas of Ohio and the U.S., Champaign County is unique and an exceptional place to live and raise kids. I am strongly pro-life, pro 2nd amendment, and will advocate to ensure our law enforcement has the resources they need to ensure a safe community.
I fully intend to be creative with economic growth while balancing the unique nature of our county and maintaining the semi-rural, non-urban, industrial problems that exist in major cities. Our Christian heritage is important and has been largely forgotten in the cities. We need to maintain the Christian lifestyle in our lives and in our county. We need proven and strong leadership.
Question: What is your position on granting tax-favored status to renewable energy projects in Champaign County?
While I am not against these types of projects, we have businesses in Champaign County, such as Johnson Welded Products, Bundy, Ultra-Met and many others that not only pay full taxes, they employ thousands of people who also pay full taxes. These companies have contributed to our community for decades and I do not understand the logic of allowing a brand-new business, often with a foreign investment company, to come into our community, take up thousands of acres of prime farmland, and then they do not have to pay their fair share of taxes?
I believe we should treat a new company like we treat the companies who have been existing and contributing to our community for years and inform these new project, if you want to come here, then don’t start by asking for free-bee deals. Invest in our community – just like our current companies who have been neighbors for decades do.
Question: How would you help position the county for economic growth in the next 20 years?
Creating a balance between economic viability and maintaining the semi-rural lifestyle we are used to, is a challenge. But that is what we must do. I have been in business and trained by Fortune 500 companies such as Apple Computer, Wendy’s International, Frigidaire and many others. I have also owned and grown both my own marketing business in Columbus from 4 people to over 30 people. I have worked now for almost 17 years at our Champaign County family factory, Johnson Welded Products, where we have not only maintained, but grown significantly. I know how to create economic growth.
But money and wealth is not everything. I also want to live in a community where we know each other and trust each other and have a moral foundation. If you look at what is happening in our cities, it has become mass chaos. While paying our bills and creating growth is important, I also think a moral community and lifestyle and knowing and trusting our neighbors is vitally important.
Question: What is the biggest asset for ensuring the county’s future viability? And what is the biggest challenge for the county?
We have many significant assets in Champaign County. First, we have to ensure we support the businesses and farming community that we live in. Supporting these groups with well-trained employees has become a significant problem. Our schools and education need to reflect an area where students want to work, live, and contribute. Additionally, we have several new restaurants and shops that help create a destination feel for our county. We can continue to build our county and become known as a destination area with great shops, food, and amazing landscapes. This too, will draw people who want to move here.
One challenge is to not become a county with constant crime, distrust, and no Christian moral center. Living in a community where we do not have a constant threat of crime and rioting is important to the people I talk to. Balancing these factors is critical to preserving the character of our community. A significant challenge to this is our moral foundation. Living in a community with basic Christian morals is critical and supporting our churches and encouraging a solid moral character for our community and children is foundational.