Masters in Health Administration
Training and Experience
City of Conneaut, Council - at - Large - two terms.
There are multiple areas within Ashtabula County that require action now, to focus on one challenge would allow the loss of direction that is needed in the completion of multiple projects that require forward thinking paired with strategic development. It is not one challenge, but a systematic approach with a leader who can face these challenging conversations with a fresh voice of reasoning. To over come our challenges we need to focus on our pursuit to advance in areas of technology, infrastructure, as well as economic development.
To enhance economic development there are two areas that need to be addressed. First, the goal to collaborate with our education systems to support and develop education that promotes a more diverse income base. This means building up areas of study such as; skilled trades, medical, agriculture, manufacturing and tourism. Second, to develop and utilize a Countywide comprehensive plan that clearly provides areas throughout the County, not segmented areas, that can be developed. Additionally, it is imperative to work with Federal, State and local officials to grow each area with purpose and success by have on-going conversation with transparency of goals and objections. Ashtabula County is fortunate to have already developed interstates that run East to West/North to South, two deep water ports and rail access these resources set us apart from other counties, we need to focus using these tools in our economic planning.
Uniform internet access has been spoken about for many years in our county. As a County Commissioner there is a responsibility to communicate frequently with our Federal and State officials to secure funding with the passage of House Bill 13. It is also the responsibility to communicate frequently with you the voters of our county as to the progress and obstacles we are facing. The most important piece is to start having conversations with private providers on how to begin the blue prints of implementation for our county. Working on our vision and designing now will allow for implementation when funding becomes available.
For me, the responsibility to work with local officials and committees to discuss possibilities to envision their communities to grow so future generations can thrive is something that is important to me. For an area to grow there must be basic services such as; gas, electric, water, sewer and broadband. This means having challenging conversations and working closely together with Federal and State leaders to work on budgetary allowances. This means being open, transparent and holding everyone accountable to what it will take to develop, invest and ensure financial feasibility to provide these infrastructures.
We have an obligation to ensure the safety of our county jail employees, as well as all other individuals that work within our county jail system. We have to ensure that the environment doesn't pose a health risk to those who are serving true criminal time, not a site for rehabilitation purposes. As a County Commissioner it is the responsibility to work on a design that meets these requirements and meets these requirements by being fiscally responsible.
Honestly, this is an area that has posed a problem in our County for many years. It is an interesting question that has been worked on by some great minds in our County thus far. It is one area that I'm not sure can be improved until we can get integrate a technological system that can properly improve access and accurate response time to a population that fluctuates with the seasons, as well as availability to cover 702 square miles. As a County Commissioner this would be an area where I would be invested in working with all parties on how to improve transportation in our county.
West Geauga High School
Associate Degree Business Administration Management
Bachelor Degree General Business Administration
Training and Experience
4 years Ashtabula County Commissioner
Ashtabula County Children Services
Jo Ann Davidson Leadership Institute
The biggest challenge facing Ashtabula County right now is the coronavirus pandemic that is before us, though I'd argue there are a few challenges that I am working to tackle. During my tenure I've worked diligently to ensure that county operations continued during the pandemic, that our county took the necessary budget measures so that we could retain the critical programs and services that our county residents rely and I also have taken steps to help our county recover economically from the pandemic.
I led efforts to form the Ashtabula County Economic Recovery Task Force which has been meeting weekly for several months working to provide resources and offer assistance for our small businesses in Ashtabula County. Because of the task force we were successful in forming the ReSTART Ashtabula County Small Business Grant program that has provided approximately $250,000 in assistance to our small businesses negatively impacted by the pandemic.
During my tenure as a County Commissioner one of my focuses has been on economic development here in Ashtabula County. Early on in my term, we worked with our core economic development entities in Ashtabula County: the Ashtabula County Port Authority, Growth Partnership for Ashtabula County and the Ashtabula County 503 Corporation, to bring them all together in one building in what is now called the Ashtabula County Center for Economic Development, to enhance collaboration and cooperation amongst the entities helping enhance economic development work in our county.
In addition, during my tenure we have worked hard to create an environment that is conducive for job creation and retention. That has meant putting a focus on infrastructure and providing an incentive for businesses to want to locate here. This work has led to the Risberg natural gas pipeline and also the development of PETMIN which is a approximately $500 million project underway in Ashtabula County.
This is an issue I know very well as I reside in an area that has poor access to high speed internet. Since the beginning of my term I have been taking steps to work on this very issue. Early on I testified in Columbus on legislation that would provide financial resources to Ashtabula County and allow for the development of high speed internet in underserved areas. In addition, the commissioners worked to form the Ashtabula County Broadband Task Force, with the liaison for that task force being Commissioner Ducro. The task force is comprised of stakeholders all throughout the county working to find solutions to this very issue. We also are anxious to conduct a study in our county that gives us a better understanding of what areas are in fact underserved and from there we can lobby for financial assistance to help bring high speed internet to those areas. High speed internet is a necessity today and it's an issue that I certainly will work to address.
Certainly, commissioners should be part of the discussion as it relates to the expansion of public water and sewer in Ashtabula County. During my tenure, we've worked on several water and sewer projects in the county that have either expanded service in areas of our county or that have allowed for economic development projects to come to fruition. As it relates to public water and sewer expansion in underserved areas I certainly believe there is an opportunity for us to work on this very issue. That is why the commissioners are for the first time since 2003 taking on the heavy work of updating the Ashtabula County Comprehensive Plan. This plan will serve as a guiding document for issues such as new housing, green-space, economic development, and public infrastructure. The work on this comprehensive plan which will be updated over the next year will include conversations from the public on this very issue on where we hope to see our county in the next 5, 10 and 20 years.
I firmly believe that our county must address the issue of having a jail facility that is in vast need of repair and that lacks sufficient space to meet county needs. The county jail project is an issue that is close to home for me as I was the victim of a home burglary that meant that the men and women that committed the crime spent little to no time in jail because we lacked the space here in our county. That means that there is little deterrent to those committing these acts of crime in our county and they become repeat offenders that put a large drain on our county's system.
During my tenure I led efforts to form the Crime Enforcement Agency of Ashtabula County which is taking drug dealers off the streets of our county. But sadly, without sufficient jail space we are unable to fully meet the needs in our county as it relates to addressing this issue. This issue certainly needs addressed and that is why we are taking the steps to evaluate and proceed with jail recommendations.
Ashtabula County certainly has challenges as it relates to public transportation. This is an issue that I worked on early in my term as a county commissioner. The commissioners quickly acted to update the Ashtabula County Coordinated Transportation Plan with the involvement of local stakeholders from all aspects of our community. This plan update took close to a year to complete and allowed for us to gather critical information and data that will allow for us to make improvements to public transportation all throughout the county. In the coming year we would like to work on many of the recommendations that were offered up in the plan to help improve transportation for our county's residents.