One of the largest pools of candidates for elected offices in the Perrysburg area in recent history was evident at a forum Sunday afternoon, with 18 candidates for five races trying to win over residents for their votes in the Nov. 5 election.
Nancy Kelley, president of the League of Women Voters of the Perrysburg Area, said in her 20 years of organizing candidate forums for Perrysburg, the number of candidates were the most the group has had attend the event. Nearly all the candidates took note of the good crowd that showed up at Way Public Library.
“I’ve been coming to this for awhile, and I’ve never seen this many chairs full,” said Gary Britten, a Perrysburg Township trustee running for re-election. “It shows a lot about our community.”
Perrysburg City Council candidate Richard Rettig said, “This is what a democracy looks like,” when talking about having the event to allow people to ask questions and learn about candidates.
When it came to the content, few fireworks ensued. The discussion was never heated; for the most part, candidates explained what they believed made them a good choice for voters.
There was one clear division among school board candidates.
Several school board hopefuls disagreed with the district spending nearly $80,000 for a development director this year to seek funds from the community and alumni.
“I would not have done that,” candidate Cal Smith said. “Spend that money on hope? Since it is done, I guess I’d keep a tight leash and if it doesn’t make it quickly, pull the plug.”
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School board members Valerie Hovland and Gretchen Downs defended the new post.
Eighteen candidates made opening and closing statements. Mixed in the middle of the presentations, 54 questions were answered by candidates.
“I think they handled the number of candidates very well,” said Walter Hales, a Perrysburg resident since 1970 who was in the audience for the two-hour forum. “It gives you an overall feeling for the candidates. You could pick some out that had agendas.”
One of the 19 candidates running for a Perrysburg seat couldn’t make it, Lynn Hunter, because of a family emergency.
Each candidate had a 100-word opening statement read by a monitor, then took screened questions, followed by a one-minute closing statement.
Ms. Kelley said the candidates this year were great at not going over their allotted time. She thought the event went very smoothly, giving citizens a chance to see the candidates.
“I noticed a few people marking a name or crossing them out [in the program],” Ms. Kelley said. “And that is good. They are making up their minds.”
Mr. Hales and his wife, Gloria Green-Hales, were extremely interested in the school board race. Mr. Hales said he heard of school board members who run with an agenda and get rid of a good superintendent, and he wants to avoid that in Perrysburg.
He also wished a question was asked to two candidates who he said want merit-based pay for teachers.
In other races, city council candidates talked about listening and representing citizens, while the two judicial candidates talked about justice and being fair.
Here are the candidates for the five elections in Perrysburg set for Nov. 5:
The two mayor candidates are Laura Hummer and Mike Olmstead.
For city council, incumbents Joe Lawless and Sara Weisenburger are competing with Mr. Rettig, Barry VanHoozen, and James Matuszak for three city council seats. A vacancy on council could occur later, as Councilman Tom Mackin is running for a Perrysburg Municipal Court judge opening.
Perrysburg Municipal Judge S. Dwight Osterud is retiring after 23 years. Mr. Mackin and Molly Mack have filed to replace him for a six-year term.
Seven candidates are competing for three seats on the school board.
Incumbents Mark Schoenlein, Ms. Hovland, and board President Ms. Downs are being challenged by Jason Decker, Lara Martin Lengel, Mr. Smith, and Sue Larimer.
Perrysburg Township Trustees Mr. Britten and Bob Mack will compete with Ms. Hunter for the two four-year trustee seats up for election.
Contact Matt Thompson at: firstname.lastname@example.org, 419-356-8786, or on Twitter at @mthompson25.