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Portage County Commissioner Term Comm. 1-2-2021

Responsibilities: To exercise financial control of County expenditures; to authorize public works; to purchase land and buildings; to let contracts; to plan and administer welfare. The Board of County Commissioners also appoints other officials to operate various departments. Term: 4 years.

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  • Candidate picture

    Tony Badalamenti
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Kathleen Clyde
    (Dem)

Biographical Information

What challenges do counties have that citizens might not realize are your responsibility and how do you address them?

What are the most significant problems facing Portage County in the next four years? What ideas do you have to deal with and fund them?

Age 63
Education Associates Degree: Human Biology/Psychology. Bachelors Degree: Human Biology. Doctorate: Chiropractic Medicine
Training & Experience USMC: 10 yrs (Staff Sargent), Private Chiropractic Practice X 30yrs. Pres. Aurora Chamber X 12yrs. Lt. Gov. of Kiwanis District Oh. Charter Com. City of Aurora. 2X Kiwanian of the year. Leadership Po. Co. Class of 1996. 2007-2008 Practice Mgmt. Certification.
Portage County does not have a strategic plan. Most county citizens are not aware of this. This plan would provide for the direction and growth of the county. A strategic plan also enables the county to receive grants that they have not been eligible to apply for because they require a strategic plan as a requirement for application. Part of developing this plan would be to determine the current status of our infrastructure: (Buildings ,roads, bridges, water delivery systems, waste water systems and reservoirs) and what needs to be done to replace/repair, and what is needed to maintain these going forward. This will bring in new business which will bring in more tax dollars. The county could explore the use of tax-exempt bonds for projects to improve infrastructure while bringing new businesses and creating jobs while improving the county and the lives of those that live here.
In order to solve many of the issues in Portage County, the county needs more money yesterday, today and going forward. The problems: Economic Development, Homeless population, Opioid/Drug issues and Safety of the community. The development of a strategic plan would "map out" these issues and would help determine what services are needed and the amount of money needed to achieve the goals that have been set. The monies needed to fund solutions to the problems would come from: Economic Development, Grants, Tax-exempt Bonds and a establishing an ability to meet deadlines on current and future projects. For example, the renovation to the jail was to be $14 million dollars. The renovation is not complete as of yet and the cost is now $21 million. That difference in dollars could have paid for other things that the county needs.
Age 41
Education Graduate of James A. Garfield High School. B.A. from Wesleyan University. J.D. from Ohio State University.
Training & Experience Attorney for over 10 years. Served as a member of the Ohio House representing Portage County for 8 years. Served as a Portage County Commissioner for 1.5 years, currently as President of the Board.
Twitter @KathleenClyde
The coronavirus pandemic challenges all of us. As residents try to protect their families and their livelihoods, it can be confusing where to turn. The lead response agency in the county is actually the county Health Department, which is not under the county commissioners. But in a pandemic, it’s been all hands on deck. Through our Emergency Management Agency we have worked closely with the Health Dept. to help steer the county through the pandemic – coordinating PPE distributions, establishing model personnel policies, leading weekly media briefings, and establishing supports for local businesses and families.

Another challenge we face is that under Ohio law, commissioners can’t pass ordinances or bills like cities or states. So sometime county residents want us to pass something that's not within our authority. However, using my background in state government and as an attorney, I am usually able to guide someone to the appropriate venue for the concern or idea and work with them.
Poverty and low wage jobs can lead to a cycle of despair, including addiction, violence, and even suicide. A significant problem facing our county is that many of our residents do not have access to the quality jobs that will allow them to break this cycle. Although college degrees are often necessary for higher wage jobs, college is increasingly unaffordable. While other post-secondary options can lead to good opportunities, many young people living on the brink of poverty struggle to pay for and attend additional schooling. I will continue working through the Portage Development Board to create good paying jobs in our communities, and to find ways to link young people to the careers that can sustain them long term. I’ll also work with our criminal justice system to find better ways to treat addiction and mental health issues. We must support our Children’s Services system straining from the addiction epidemic plaguing our state and we must collaborate more to reduce suicides.