Retired Powell Police Chief Gary Vest has decided to seek the Republican nomination in 2020 for the District 67 seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. The position is currently held by Rep. Kris Jordan (R-Ostrander).
“Things need to be done for Delaware County,” Vest told The Gazette. “For a long time now things have been coming up from Columbus to Delaware County. It’s time that we take the issues of Delaware County back downtown.”
Prior to serving 23 years as the police chief of the Powell Police Department before retiring in May, Vest got his first taste of law enforcement as part of the security police in the United States Air Force from 1972-76.
After leaving the Air Force, Vest worked with the Montgomery County Sheriff’s Office for 10 years and then in the private sectors for a few years before accepting the position as chief of police for the village of Clayton in Montgomery County, Ohio.
Vest holds a Bachelor of Science degree in criminal justice as well as a master’s degree in public administration from the University of Dayton. He is also a graduate of the Police Executive Leadership College Session 18 and the 205th Session of the FBI National Academy.
Vest said he has developed a lot of relationships that could help him get things done at the Ohio Statehouse. He said a few of the issues he’d like to address are school funding, agriculture, and advocate for more intervention for young people by working with the juvenile courts.
“I’m looking to make things better,” he said. “It’s time that the people of Delaware County have a strong advocate for them at the statehouse, because, for too many years, this county has been overlooked by state government.”
Vest said he understands he is a little early in declaring his candidacy for the 2020 Republican primary, but he feels it’s the right time and place for him to look at the possibility.
“I just want to get a feel for it,” he said. “I want to see if people want me as a representative.”
Chances are Vest will run against the current incumbent, state Rep. Jordan, who has run some rather intense campaigns against his opponents in the past.
“I think, realistically, he doesn’t want to go through what he did in his last campaign,” Vest said. “He has kids and a career to think about. Let’s stay focused on getting things done.”
However, Vest commented that if becoming a state representative doesn’t work out, he has a backup plan.
“I’ll go back to my retirement,” he said.
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.