Commission president won’t seek term

Published 12:00 am Monday, October 18, 1999

Lawrence County Board of Commissioners president Bruce Trent will not seek re-election in 2000 when his first term in office expires.

Monday, October 18, 1999

Lawrence County Board of Commissioners president Bruce Trent will not seek re-election in 2000 when his first term in office expires.

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And one person already has filed to take Trent’s place – Jason Stephens, the commission hopeful whose last run for the seat came in the 1998 primary.

"Basically, it’s an issue that I’ve been in public service at the end of this term for 21 years," Trent said. "And I’ve decided to retire from public service at this time."

The Republican became the commission’s majority president just this year when Republican Paul Herrell won the seat left vacant by Dr. Carl Baker, who decided not to run again last year.

Trent called his experience so far a learning one, and said he still looks forward to another year of service. But, he has decided to leave politics after discussing the issue with his family, he added.

"For the benefit of our family and time together we decided I would not seek a second term at this time," he said.

Trent, no stranger to politics, served in Proctorville village government for a number of years before his election to the county post.

"I found a new perspective on the importance of good government and good leadership," he said.

At some point within the next six- to-nine months, Trent said he will probably review his personal past accomplishments and those of the commission – both pro and con.

"But one thing that strikes a chord now is that I am real excited that we have restructured 911 and have been able to fund new ambulance stations and reduce property taxes while paying for that," he said.

The commission successfully convinced the public last year that a half percent sales tax would lift the 911 services burden from the county general fund while at the same time pay the county’s share of the Southeast Ohio Emergency Medical Service. That action also helped pay for new ambulance stations under construction this year, Trent said.

"Coming from a healthcare background I’m acutely aware of the need for stations in the right place and the right people to operate and manage those stations," he said.

Trent added that he has enjoyed his role as commission president, with its pros, cons and laughs, and will miss the acquaintances he has made since his election.

In the meantime, Stephens, a certified financial planner and insurance agent from South Point, is in the early stages of his campaign.

Two seats will be up for election on the commission next year. Hopefuls must file by January for the March primary.

The first to file for the 2000 commission primary, Stephens is already painting political signs, he said.

"I had my petition ready because I knew I was going to run and there was no reason to wait," he said. "I enjoy getting out meeting people and finding out how I can help with their problems."

Stephens plans to focus his campaign on county job growth and the infrastructure needed to accomplish that, he said.

"One of the things that motivates me to get in there and work is watching generations move away in order to find a good job," he said. "It’s not an easy task, but if we focus on growing the economy and work hard, we will make it happen by planning ahead."