Candidates field questions

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 29, 2007

Should unions be in the school district? How can we keep our kids safe? What can I do to help in the schools? How can we get God back in the schools?

Those were some of the questions new candidates and incumbents were faced with at Meet the Candidates night at the Lawrence County Multi-purpose Senior Center Thursday.

Nine candidates for Fayette Township and South Point offices fielded questions and spoke to constituents.

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Harriett Ramsey, president of the Concerned Citizens of Burlington who organized the event, opened the meeting.

“We will have an orderly question and answer period,” said Ramsey, who instructed candidates that the forum was not a debate. “As soon as you answer your question, we will move on.”

Candidates present were Don Hackworth, incumbent for Fayette Township trustee office and Eric Maniskas who is running for the trustee office; Les York, Fayette Township clerk; and Mary Cogan, Terry Blake, Fred Clay, Randy Keefer, Glen Seagraves and Tom Roberts, all running for South Point School Board.

Several candidates were not present including Terry Wise, running for trustee; Darrell Davis and Kenneth Shaefer, running unopposed for Lawrence County Education Services; Stephen McClanahan, running for trustee; and Wallace Smith, running for a school board office. Several of them wrote letters stating they had other commitments and could not attend.

Les York, Fayette Township clerk and South Point Middle School principal, has been clerk for eight years and said that he has had four state audits that were excellent.

Each candidate asked for constituents’ support.

Maniskas, an instructor at Ohio University and substitute teacher at South Point High School, would like to see the water system improved in outlying areas so that fire hydrants could be put in. He opposes Trustee Don Hackworth.

Three seats are open on the South Point School Board. John Sherman will not be running again and Blake and Seagraves, incumbents, have five candidates opposing them for their seats on the school board.

The only woman running for school board is Mary Cogan who is the first woman to run in more than a decade.

“It’s very scary,” Cogan said. “Because if I get elected, I feel like everyone is going to be watching me and I feel like we should watch all our board members anyway. … I’m very happy about this. I wasn’t going out to make a change, but if I can do it that would be super.”

After all the candidates spoke, Marilyn Grant Howard, from AARP, spoke asking for support of the senior citizens 1 mill tax levy for residents 60 years of age and older.

“They represent 16 percent of your population,” she said. “The purpose of this levy is to assist the older person so that can remain in their own home.”

The new levy would provide many services to the senior population and Community Action would administer the program, she said.

“There’s 57 counties out of the 88 counties here in Ohio that already have the tax levy,” Howard said. “I think Lawrence County senior citizens deserve a levy also.”