Five candidates are vying for one open seat on the Orange Township Board of Trustees in the Nov. 3 election.
Four of the candidates currently have a role within the township.
The candidates are:
Lisa Knapp — The lone incumbent in the race, Lisa Knapp has been a township resident since 1998. Before her election, she served as the township’s zoning secretary for 17 years. She has a business degree from Otterbein University.
She said she is running for re-election so she can continue to provide “checks and balances.”
“I feel that I am the only elected official that ensures that there are checks and balances,” she said.
In her first term, Knapp has been a lightning rod for controversy, clashing with her fellow elected officials time and time again.
But, she said, that is because she has sought to bring more transparency to the township.
“I’ve worked to expose any type of fraudulent and illegal activities that might be happening,” she said, pointing to the recent example of a township contractor who provides little documentation on his costly invoices.
Knapp said if she is re-elected, she will continue to fight for transparency. A major goal in her second term is to attract more business to the township without expending public money to entice the companies.
“We need to bring in more businesses into the township to increase revenues,” she said. “But we need to make sure we are not giving away too many tax abatements.”
Rick Beer — Beer is the only candidate in the race without a current role in the township, although he is not new to politics. In 2012, he lost a race to Melissa Jordan for the Delaware County Recorder’s Office.
A negotiator for a large utility company, Beer has a degree in criminology from Capital University.
He said he believes the township needs to be more visionary. “We need somebody in there that can think of the township as a city administrator,” he said.
Beer said he believes growth in the coming years is the biggest issue facing the township, and he wants to be prepared for it by creating a long-term development plan.
“The only we way can keep property taxes down for the residents is to bring in high-tech business that fits our demographics,” he said.
Beer said he also believes has can bring some stability to the office that has been beset with infighting over the years.
“We’ve had a lot of issue with fighting between the trustees and I would bring a calmness to the office,” he said. “I would be able to work with the other trustees.”
Todd Dove — Dove, a township resident for 16 years, is a professional architect who serves on the township’s zoning commission. He said his experience in all those areas will be an asset, if elected.
“I thought I could take my experience with the zoning and my reputation that I have within the township and run for trustee,” he said.
Dove said he believes he can bring some cohesiveness to the township.
“I just think that there’s a lot of conflicts that occur between (Knapp) and the other elected officials,” he said. “It’s quite evident during the trustee meetings. I want to get more of a cohesive group that is able to move the township forward.”
He said a major issue for him is the lack of police protection in the township following the failure of a levy that allowed the township to pay for a deputy stationed there.
“I think a lot of that was because kind of the lack of knowledge of what that levy entailed,” he said.
Dove said he also believes growth is a major issue in the township, and he wants it to occur at the proper pace.
He said his experience on the zoning commission would be helpful in that regard.
Garrick Ducat — Ducat, an organizational effectiveness consultant for OhioHealth, has a master’s degree in education from Bowling Green University.
He is currently a member of the township’s economic development advisory board and wants to see his role in the township expand.
“I feel that my strengths in organization effectiveness would be a benefit to the township as a whole,” he said.
If elected, he said he would focus on bringing the township’s constituency groups together, including residents, businesses and nearby governments.
“There’s ripe opportunity for true collaboration,” he said.
Ducat said he also believes that the lack of police protection in the township is a major issue.
If elected, he said he will expect the township’s residents to hold his feet to the fire.
“I don’t presume to know everything,” he said. “I’m a good listener and I’m good at getting things done. I would really expect a reciprocal relationship. I want people to keep me honest.”
Genevieve Hoffman — Hoffman, a relative newcomer to the township, is an attorney with the Ohio Industrial Commission. She is currently a member of the township’s board of zoning appeals.
She decided to run for the seat, she said, to make the township the best it possibly can be for her children.
“I feel compelled to serve my community and make sure it is the best place it can be for my child and future children,” she said.
She believes growth is the biggest issue facing the township, and it needs to be prepared to handle it.
“Special attention needs to be paid to keeping the roads in good repair and improving traffic flow in the area,” she said.
She said the skills she has developed as an attorney would be an asset to the township.
“You’re trained to see both sides of an argument and the strengths and weaknesses of each,” she said. “Being the adjudicator teaches you to weigh the arguments and arrive at the most just result. I wholeheartedly believe that could be nothing but an asset as a trustee.”
Hoffman said she believes she is the right person for the job.
“I have been a workhorse most of my life,” she said. “I care very deeply about the people and issues that matter to me and am very passionate about improving our community. I am level-headed, logical and a good listener.”
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.