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Candidates address issues at forum

BURLINGTON —

November was in the air Thursday night as Burlington Concerned Citizens hosted its annual Meet the Candidates Night.

Only a handful of the 21 candidates there have a fight on Tuesday, but all were looking ahead to the fall as they promoted themselves trying to convince the room at the Sybene Senior Center on why they should get the

job for next year.

This candidates’ night attracted more than ever before to answer the invitation extended a few weeks ago to appear, Harriette Ramsey, the moderator for the night, said.

As in the past each running for office was given four minutes to detail his or her background and qualifications. Then the forum was opened up to questions.

Most used the same format as Jeff Lawless, chief deputy of the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, who is running unopposed for sheriff on the Republican ticket next week and in November.

After a quick rundown on his biographical stats, Lawless presented his platform.

“I want to increase the drug task force. There’s a pipeline from Detroit and Columbus to Marshall University and they stop in this community,” he said. “I want to expand to the small-time dealer.

“I want the community involved with the sheriff’s department. I want to increase talks in the schools about sexual predators, drugs and drinking and driving.”

Getting the community involved was a constant theme with the candidates, many of whom also addressed the financial crisis Lawrence County faces.

Economics was also on the agenda for Gene Myers, head of the Lawrence County Jobs and Family Services, who pushed for passage of the 1 mil Children Services Levy on the primary ballot.

If passed the levy is expected to bring in $626,000 annually if 90 percent of taxpayers pay their property bills. That money,

Myers said, would go entirely to getting abused children into a safe environment.

“It’s making payments to foster care,”

he said.

One of the lighter moments came when the diminutive Dr. Portia Canos stood up to explain why she wanted to be the county’s coroner.

“I am puny-looking and elderly-looking, but I can handle the job,” she said to the crowd that broke into laughter.

“This job is on my bucket list,” she said referring to the recent movie about two men making a list of what they want to do before they “kick the bucket.”

She

is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket and faces Kurt Hoffman in November. Her opponent was not at the forum.

Also attending Thursday night were Phil Roberts, representative for Charlie Wilson; Shane Meldick, Wilson’s Democratic opponent;

County Commissioner Jason Stephens; his Democratic opposition, Paul Carman, Wayne Pennington and Jason Tolliver;

County Commissioner Tanner Heaberlin; his Republican opposition, Les Boggs, Bob Mayo and

Tyler Walters; Cheyrl Jenkins and Bob Cleary, Republicans running for clerk of courts; Mike Patterson, Democrat running for clerk of courts; Sharon Gossett Hager, county recorder and her Democratic rival, Susan Sheridan; Stephen Dale Burcham, treasurer and his Republican rival Perry Brock; Common Pleas Judge Scott Bowling and Probate Judge David Payne, who are both unopposed.