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James keeps eye on future

Democrat Ron James, running for the open county commissioner’s seat, will merge his goals with his past record while campaigning this fall, he said.

Monday, September 25, 2000

Democrat Ron James, running for the open county commissioner’s seat, will merge his goals with his past record while campaigning this fall, he said.

"We’re poised for an explosion of economic growth," James said, citing the South Point industrial park, the Empowerment Zone and other plans.

"We can’t afford to gamble," he said. "We need proven leadership and I think I bring that."

James, 52, and his wife, Jackie, have two daughters and two grandsons and live in Rome Township.

He is a Fairland High School and Marshall University graduate. He completed the Merrill Lynch School for Financial Consultants.

James is a former state representative for the 92nd House district. He has held the executive director’s position at the Lawrence Economic Development Corporation and chamber of commerce, the deputy director’s position with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources and the associate director’s position at the Innovation Center – a business incubator – at Ohio University in Athens.

James touts his state representative and chamber careers, ridding the Ironton-Russell Bridge of its toll and creating one countywide chamber organization, he said.

"I also believe county commissioners should be full-time," James said.

The business of the county is too complicated to have another job at the same time, he said.

"Hiring people to do the commissioners’ jobs is a waste of tax money when they should do it themselves," he added. "That’s the essence of my campaign – proven leadership and a full-time commissioner."

James has been campaigning full-time, too, knocking on doors around the county with the help of his wife and supporters, he said.

"You’ve got to go out and really see people," he said.

If elected, James said he wants to show those people what the county can actually do to encourage economic development.

That might include providing necessary funding, tax programs, infrastructure development, whatever’s necessary to help the LEDC, chamber or even the Empowerment Zone board bring in new business, he said.

The commission should also encourage development of medium to upscale housing, because big business today wants that type of housing in communities in which they locate, James said.

At the same time, he wants to make sure existing businesses are not overlooked by keeping lines of communication open – maybe through a business advocate program.

The county also needs to make sure the lack of drinking water problem is solved, James said.

And, as a commissioner, James said he wants to use his experience working with leaders at all levels to help citizens deal with government agencies about their concerns.

James will face Republican opponent Jason Stephens Nov. 7.