Local candidates learn at workshop


A nearly full room of political novices and already elected officials attended a Candidate Workshop put on at the Delaware County Board of Elections earlier this month.

There are 520 elected offices in Delaware County, and several current township trustees, city officials, and a mayor were among those in attendance at the afternoon event on April 4.

“Even if you’re an incumbent, you haven’t seen a petition in four years,” said BOE Chairman Ed Helvey in his introductory comments. Since several otherwise worthy candidates have made errors that have prevented them from being on the ballot in recent elections, the board decided to put on the workshop.

Judge David Hejmanowski, a fixture at the board on election nights, was guest speaker and gave his “Insight from Experience.” Hejmanowski said he spent a dozen years learning about the courts, the county, and his constituency before becoming a candidate himself.

“Local politics are personal in a way that state and national politics are not,” Hejmanowski said. As a local candidate, he said you need to have the right motivation, meaning, “How you can be of service to your community and improve the lives of those who live there.”

Of the Board of Elections, Hejmanowski said, “Take advantage of the help they can give you.”

Manager Jeremy Austin, Director Karla Herron, and board member Peg Watkins were among the speakers, along with staffers Shirley Bennehoof, Bronwen Evener, Corey McCaffery, David Stadge and Jenny Wiest. Topics ranged from how to handle nominating petitions and navigating campaign finances, to website data and tools, and how the BOE can play a supporting role. There were also recollections of past election blunders by prospective candidates, such as names and signatures.

“Once you give the petition to us, we can’t give it back,” Austin said.

One of the main takeaways from the workshop was that BOE members and staff can answer general questions, but not be too specific in their assistance.

“We’re public servants,” Herron said. “We serve you.”

Many questions were asked by the attendees, which were answered by the board members and employees. Materials and forms were also provided to the participants.

Finally, former state Rep. Shawn Stevens was honored for his prior work with the board during the workshop. Stevens was on hand to receive a proclamation from the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

For more information, visit vote.delawarecountyohio.gov.

Assistant Editor Gary Budzak covers the eastern half of Delaware County and surrounding areas. He may be reached at [email protected].

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