The Madison Messenger distributed requests for information to all candidates who will appear on the Nov. 4 election ballot in Madison County. The information is printed below as it was received. For more information about the election, call the Madison County Board of Elections at 740-852-9424.
MADISON COUNTY COMMISSIONER — Term starting Jan. 2, 2009
• Tom Buscemi (Democrat)
Address: 34 Mill Rd., West Jefferson
Occupation: Owner, Ann & Tony’s Restaurant
Previous service as a public official: I served as Union County director of Delaware, Madison, Union Community Action Program in Marysville, 1969-1972.
Education and/or military experience: Elementary school in West Jefferson. High school at Newburgh, N.Y. College at Ohio State, graduating in 1963.
Community activities/honors: For the past 30 years, my community activities have been as a supporter of the schools, businesses and churches of the county. As owner of Ann & Tony’s, I have sponsored and provided fundraisers for the fire departments, various athletic programs, civic organizations, many different school activities and law enforcement agencies. I was a high school teacher in Madison County. I am a current member of the Madison County Board of Health.
Major issues in this election: I would address zoning issues as they relate to preservation of farmlands, our economic climate and availability of jobs. The county must grow but we want well-planned, controlled growth. We want a county that offers a good place to raise families. I would continue to welcome a mix of industries and businesses. New commercial activity must be in keeping with our growth plans and environmental protection.
My goal would be to secure job opportunities in the county that would employ our next generation. Our children should have the option to find employment in their county.
• Mark A. Forrest (Republican)
Address: 5355 Goodson Rd., West Jefferson
Occupation: Farmer and township trustee
Previous service as a public official: I was elected to my first term in 1990 as a township trustee. I am currently serving my fifth term as a Jefferson Township trustee and have served as board chairman multiple times during those five terms. During the span of my political career, I have been privileged to serve on many county boards and committees.
Education and/or military experience: I am a 1975 graduate from West Jefferson High School and a certified member of the National Forage Testing Association through the University of California.
Community activities/honors: Owned and operated Forrest Auto Parts for over 21 years. I served all townships in Madison County including the private sector, local businesses, school systems and state agencies. Member of Zion Lutheran Church in West Jefferson, served on Jefferson Local School Advisory Council, involvement with Fairhaven School, sponsor of the Scioto Darby Pony Club, member of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, and received certification of recognition for ODOT Professional Road Condition Spotter.
Major issues in this election:
With impending annexations, land-use regulations and permits must be closely reviewed. Land-use changes make way for industrial growth in Madison County. The comprehensive plan and zoning regulations must be strictly adhered to. I feel great strides could also be made with a Community Improvement Corporation (CIC).
The Sheriff’s Department provides many outstanding services for the county, and continued support of all the departments must continue to be a priority.
Most importantly, efficient tax management is a must.
MADISON COUNTY COMMISSIONER — Term starting Jan. 3, 2009
• Chris Snyder (Republican)
Address: 680 Forrestwood Ave., West Jefferson
Occupation: Madison County commissioner. Firefighter/paramedic – captain, Prairie Township Fire Department.
Previous service as public official: Jefferson Township trustee, Madison County, 1988-2000. Madison County commissioner, 2001-present.
Education/military experience: Graduate Jefferson Local Schools.
Community activities/honors: Madison Lodge F&AM 221, Auxiliary member VFW Post 7005. Madison County Historical Society. Madison County Chamber of Commerce. Madison County Farm Bureau. County Commissioners Association of Ohio. Madison County and Ohio Township Associations.
Major issues in this election: 1. Continue to maintain fiscal responsibility of your county government. 2. Develop long-range economic development plans, which will guide us into the future while also protecting out agricultural heritage. 3. Maintain the beauty of our county courthouse and address space constraints of many of the county offices.
MADISON COUNTY PROSECUTOR
• Stephen J. Pronai (Republican)
Address: 59 N. Main St., London
Occupation: Madison County prosecuting attorney
Previous service as a public official: Madison County assistant prosecuting attorney, 1985-1992. Greene County assistant prosecuting attorney, 1992-1994. Madison County prosecuting attorney, 1996 to present.
Education and/or military experience: Centerville High School, 1973. Wright State University, B.A., 1978. Ohio Northern University of Law, 1983.
Community activities/honors: Member Rotary of London, member of Madison County Hospital Foundation Board, member of Madison County Bar Association, Ohio Prosecuting Attorney Association Executive Committee, Meritorious Award from Madison County Township Trustee Association, Outstanding Fair Supporter from the Madison County Fair.
Major issues in this election: 1. Enforce the laws of the State of Ohio and keep the people of Madison County safe. 2. Drug enforcement. 3. Land use planning.
I have continually supported local law enforcement with technical support, necessary equipment purchases, and financial support when necessary. A concerted effort between law enforcement and the prosecutor’s office has kept the crime rate in Madison County one of the lowest in Central Ohio.
Also of importance is the maintenance of a viable comprehensive land use plan supported by the Madison County Zoning resolution, comprehensive plan and the farmland preservation plan. Orderly development of the county supported by the necessary infrastructure is the goal.
MADISON COUNTY CLERK OF COURTS
• Marie Parks (Republican)
Address: 2770 State Rte. 665 SE, London
Occupation: Madison County clerk of courts
Previous service as a public official: Madison County clerk of courts since 1977.
Education and/or military experience: High school graduate. Seminars for clerk of courts.
Community activities/honors: Member of Ohio Clerk of Courts Association. 53-member of Eastern Star; served as worthy matron in 1987.
Major issues in this election: Set up e-mail address. Go on Internet. Put records on Internet.
MADISON COUNTY TREASURER
• Christopher J. Brown (Independent)
Address: 53 S. West St., West Jefferson
Occupation: Attorney Employer; self-employed
Previous service as a public official: None.
Education and/or military experience: Ohio Northern College of Law – 1996 Juris Doctor; The Ohio State University – 1991 Bachelor of Science in Business Administration (area of emphasis, finance); Ohio Financial Accountability Certification – Ohio Auditor of State; Madison Plains High School – 1987 graduate.
Community Activities and Honors: Madison County Farm Bureau, Madison County Bar Association, Madison County Chamber of Commerce, Madison County Historical Society, United Way Campaign Committee, supporter of the Madison County 4-H program, Veterans of Foreign Wars 1176, FOE 950
Major issue in this election:
1. Aggressive collection of delinquent taxes—Madison County has had an average delinquency in taxes and interest of over $1.4 million for the past 10 years which I intend to aggressively collect so those funds can be put to use for our community.
2. Investment strategy—I intend to implement a new, safe and profitable investment strategy for our county which will maximize the return on our investments.
3. Technological updates and services—I will implement available low cost technology to enable the treasurer’s office to provide services such as online tax payments, tax payment plans, and property tax assistance for seniors.
• Jennifer S. Hunter (Independent)
Address: 7775 Big Plain Circleville Road, London
Occupation: Certified public accountant; self-employed
Previous service as a public official: I have not served as a public official, but I believe that my 25 years of experience working with federal, state, county and local government agencies will allow me to step in and get started with few problems.
Education and/or military experience: I graduated from London High School in 1979 and Wittenberg University in 1983. I received my Certified Public Accountant certificate in 1988, and am required to have 120 hours of continuing education every three years.
Community activities and honors: Member of the Madison-Plains school district audit committee and parent advisory board. Former treasurer of Trinity United Methodist Church and Downtown London Association. Current finance chairperson of Trinity United Methodist and current treasurer of Trinity After School program. Member of the Madison County Chamber of Commerce, London Business Council, American Institute of CPAs and Ohio Society of CPAs. Volunteer – Accounting for Kids Day.
Major issues in this election:
1. Payment options: I have seen other counties offer monthly payments, credit/debit card payments or online payment options. I believe that offering these flexible options could significantly increase speed of tax collection and help the taxpayer at the same time.
2. Modernization: Information regarding prior years’ tax payments should be made available for convenient public access 24 hours a day via the county’s Web site.
3. Return on investments: We need to maximize return on county funds while safeguarding our investments in these challenging economic times. I would independently examine all investment options to select the option most beneficial to the county.
• William M. Stidham (Republican)
Address: 195 E. Center St., London
Occupation: Madison County Treasurer
Previous service as public official: Madison County treasurer from Dec. 8, 1972, to present.
Education and/or military experience: Graduated from London High School and attended many classes for investment purposes and toward the treasurer’s office. I have attended further education classes in the past 20 years. Four years in the U.S. Navy during the Korean War.
Community activities and honors: Masonic Lodge, Scottish Rite, Shrine, DAV, American Legion, FOE, Buckeye Sheriff’s Association, State Treasurers Association, United Methodist Church, Farm Bureau.
Major issues in this election:
1. Maximize investment income of which I made over $1,000,000 last year.
2. Change the collection dates to February 15 to July 15 each year.
3. Provide clearer explanation of tax information.