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The race is on for commissioner

2 incumbents face election challengers

January 17, 2012
By Brad Bauer - The Marietta Times (bbauer@mariettatimes.com) , The Marietta Times

The two Washington County Commissioners up for re-election this fall will face challengers, including a three-way primary race for one of the seats.

Incumbent commissioner Steve Weber, a Republican, is facing two Republican challengers in the March 6 primary.

The winner of the primary will face Democratic commissioner candidate Peg Littler, 67, of Devola, who is the lone Democrat seeking Weber's seat.

Washington County Republican Chair Marilyn Ashcraft said it isn't common for incumbents to face so many challengers in a primary.

"That is unusual," she said. "We don't encourage anyone in our party to run against any incumbent. It's an unspoken rule that unless that person has done something totally out of character for the job you don't do it. And we've obviously not seen that out of Mr. Weber."

Weber, 66, of Lowell, said he isn't bothered by the challengers.

Fact Box

The candidates for Washington

County commissioner

Steve Weber (Republican incumbent).

Age: 66.

Address: 233 Third St., Lowell.

Occupation: Retired Ohio Highway Patrol trooper and elected to first term as commissioner in 2008.

David Locke (Republican challenger for Weber's seat).

Age: 51.

Address: 515 Tupper St., Marietta.

Occupation: Former Marietta City Auditor and currently has an accounting practice.

David White (Republican challenger for Weber's seat).

Age: 52.

Address: 112 Seventh St., Marietta.

Occupation: Small business owner and two terms on Marietta City Council.

Peg Littler (Democratic challenger for Weber's seat).

Age: 67

Address: 601 Chamberlain Drive, Devola.

Occupation: Retired educator and school administrator. Served on Marietta Board of Education from 1999 to 2003.

Cora Marshall (Democratic incumbent).

Age: 56.

Address: 6605 Germantown Road, Lower Salem.

Occupation: Small business owner and elected to first term as commissioner in 2008.

Ron Feathers (Republican challenger for Marshall's seat).

Age: 47.

Address: 300 Strecker Lane, Devola.

Occupation: 10 years as owner of Finish Line Computers in Marietta.

"I don't have any hard feelings. It's a political office and they've got a right to run just like everyone else," he said.

Weber said at least one candidate who filed against him has apologized because he didn't know he intended to seek re-election.

"I guess I should have put it out there earlier," Weber said.

Weber said he has focused on making county offices more efficient in his first term.

"I think we've done a good job of finding ways to cut costs and I'm really pleased with the recent transition of the dog warden," he said. "I think that's going to work out well for the county."

A sheriff's deputy was recently assigned to take on the role of the dog warden after some turnover in the office. The deputy had been filling in for the last dog warden, who went on medical leave and later retired.

Weber will face two former Marietta City office holders in the primary: former councilman David White, 52, of Marietta and former city auditor David Locke, 51, of Marietta.

White, who served two terms as councilman, lost his seat in the November general election. He said he's had his eye on the commissioner's seat for about three years.

"The attraction isn't much different than what led me to the city," White said. "I think I can help bring about a more efficient government with less waste and hopefully less government interference."

White said his priorities would be to protect and increase property owner's rights and decrease government interference as much as possible to help foster business growth.

Locke, an accountant who left the city to work as a district representative for U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, said the county needs someone with a financial background.

"With funding cuts from the state, there's little doubt the county is going to be facing some financial difficulties in the near future," he said. "My objective would be to work hard to see that we continue to provide as many services as possible to the hard working citizens of this county."

Littler said she hopes to draw from her experience as a former educator, school administrator and school board member to bring some accountability to the county offices and to help the struggling townships in the county.

"I think there are efficiencies we are missing," she said. "And I believe every township is as important as the next and that we have to find ways to get them the funding for the things they need."

Commissioner Cora Marshall, a Democrat, is not challenged in the primary but neither is her Republican challenger, Ron Feathers, 47, of Marietta.

The two will instead square off at the November general election.

Feathers, who owns Finish Line Computers in Marietta, said transparency in office would be a priority if he is elected.

"I think the residents of the county need to be better informed on what's going on," he said. "For example, there are sewer projects and issues with the EPA or state of Ohio...Everyone should know all the details of these projects before we go any further."

Marshall, 56, of Lower Salem, said creating transparency has been a priority in her first term.

"We've been working to build a county website that will allow folks to go online and read minutes from meetings and follow the different projects going on around the county," she said. "I've also worked to create a new IT department which maintains and secures our public records for each of our departments."

Marshall said completing sewer projects in Devola, Oak Grove, Woodlawn and the Reno areas is a priority going forward.

"I'm working to apply for grants or secure low or zero interest loans for these projects," she said. "There are so many projects we've started and I hope that I get the chance to see completed."

 
 

 

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