Some candidates for Washington C.H. City Council and Washington Court House City Schools Board of Education visited and spoke briefly at the end of the October meeting of the Fayette County Republican Central Committee.
Jim Blair is a first-time candidate for city council. He explained how his 45 years of private sector working experience can contribute to the work of the council. He started pumping gas while in high school, served in the United States Air Force as an electrician, and was also involved in management positions. He is particularly concerned with creating good-paying jobs and business opportunities to grow the city and community, having transparency and accountability in government, and safety. Jim is also an active member of Heritage Memorial Church and enjoys the local walking trails. His Facebook page is James Blair for Washington Court House City Council. His website is https://www.facebook.com/jimmydavidb/.
Dennis Garrison, president of The Melvin Stone Company, is a first-time candidate for the WCH School Board. He emphasized that he is running because the school board should set the direction for our schools. Set a vision, advance policy, demonstrate accountability, maintain a leadership role in the community and develop consensus. “My 40 years of experience as a business executive will help provide and restore these areas. Complex budgets, government regulations, strategic planning and personnel management are all issues I deal with daily. If elected, I will make sure that we have oversight and accountability.” He, along with his spouse (Sherry), both graduated from WCH and they have had children, grandchildren, nieces and nephews in the school system. He stressed the need for construction and other skills training at the high school and/or partnering with Great Oaks/Laurel Oaks to prepare students for a range of good-paying jobs.
Janelle Teeters Mead, also a first-time WCH School Board candidate, has experience working for the Ohio Department of Agriculture and now as CEO of the Ohio Federation of Soil and Water Conservation Districts, bringing both public and private sector knowledge to the table. As a deputy director at the Department of Agriculture, she has had plenty of experience in managing government budgets and people. Janelle has volunteered as a member of the Fayette County Board of Developmental Disabilities for more than 10 years. She has two children in the WCH school system currently.
Greg Phipps explained fiscal implications of the WCH Schools levy. There will need to be cuts if the levy doesn’t pass. This is a seven-year, 1 percent operating levy on income. It will only be used for operations with none of the proceeds going for any construction needs. There has not been any tax increase since 1990, said Phipps.
Some candidates were not able to attend due to prior commitments: Jim Chrisman, Craig Copas, and Leah Foster.
Craig Copas sent the following statement: I was born and raised here. I have four children in the district. I have been elected to the School Board. Since hiring our Superintendent, I feel we have made some great progress with district morale and unity. We are moving in the right direction regarding curriculum and State Report Card. If elected, I would like to see the district work toward a few goals: Computers for all students and Career path Readiness. The students who plan to join the work force immediately after graduation should have experience in high level skills. I would like to have more college classes on the WCH high school campus, because some students cannot drive to Southern State to take classes.
Leah Foster’s statement: I am running for a first time appointment for the WCH School Board. My husband (Keith) and I have four children that have all been a part of the Washington School system over the past 23 years. I am part Owner and President of the Family Business – B & B Creative Marketing. How is this an asset for the school system? My job is to consult with and create successful businesses, challenge and reward employees, manage Profit and Loss, strategize, market, and build teams. I advocate for NOT only college prep, but trade programs, Job Readiness Placement programs, and mentoring. I have served on City Council and several other organizations that would be an asset to strengthening relationships with in the community. I promise to listen, learn, and utilize my 28 years of business skills to help guide and grow our City Schools. Most importantly, I will continue to act on my passion for our children’s success and always put their best interest first… #makeadifference.