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Two file for commission race

The field of candidates for the one Lawrence County Commission seat up for grabs in 2010 now stands at two, but three more people have picked up petitions and could make the race more lively for both political parties.

Incumbent Commissioner Doug Malone, a Democrat, filed his petition Friday to seek a third term in office.

Monday, former county commissioner Paul Herrell, a Republican, filed his petition to run as well. Malone and Herrell faced each other eight years ago in a commission race.

Both men could face opposition from members of their own party in the May primary.

Two other Democrats have picked up petitions to run but have not yet filed those petitions. They are Bob Vaughn, a former Ironton City Councilman and former Ironton school board member, and Justin Berry.

One other Republican has picked up a petition to run for commission but has not yet filed: Gene Cox.

The deadline for filing to run in the May primary is Feb. 18, Lawrence County Board of Elections Director Cathy Overbeck said.

Malone said he wants another term in office to complete some projects that are in the making but not yet finished, among them: the new medical facility in Ironton at State Route 141 and U.S. 52 and the RiverWalk project in the Proctorville area.

Malone is proud of having pushed early on for Tuesday morning work sessions to give people a second opportunity to speak with commissioners and other elected officials about their concerns and problems.

“That’s 350 more meetings (in seven years),” he pointed out. “They never met twice a week that I can remember.”

While he wishes the economy and county finances were better than they are, he points out that the commission has cut $2.5 million from the county general fund budget in the last two years in an effort to bring expenditures into line with revenues.

He is also proud of his work in the past as a member of the Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission local caucus, a group instrumental in obtaining federal grants for local projects.

Malone said he would like to continue work to build a spec building at the South Ironton Industrial Park and continue work to bring new business and industry to The Point industrial park.

Herrell said he is concerned about the condition of the county and the lack of jobs and thinks the county’s overall health won’t improve until more is done to create new jobs.

He promised to be a full-time commissioner to accomplish this.

“I was there every day when I was county commissioner,” Herrell said. “I was in there every morning at about 9 and left after lunch and traveled the roads.”

In addition to job creation, Herrell said he is eager to work with small business men and women, to determine what their needs are and how the county can help them. He also promised to keep a sharp eye on county finances.

“There won’t be any money wasted,” Herrell said. He said he is not criticizing anyone who is in office now, adding, “They’ve got their hands full.”

Herrell said he enjoys working with people and has the time and energy to spend on the job.

The other county office up for grabs this year, that of the auditor, may get a little more crowded, too.

So far only one person has filed for that office, incumbent treasurer Stephen Dale Burcham, a Democrat.

But sitting Commissioner Jason Stephens said he intends to file his petition in the near future and a third person, Jon Ater, has indicated he plans to run as an independent.