Meeting set to choose Stephens’ successor

Published 10:02 am Wednesday, March 30, 2011

In about a week the wait will be over. That’s when the Republican Central Committee will choose the replacement for Jason Stephens on the Lawrence County Commission.

In November Stephens was elected county auditor after Ray “Moose” Dutey retired after a decades-long career as a public servant. Since Stephens is a Republican, it is up to that party’s central committee to decide who will be on the commission.

That person will finish out the remaining almost two years of Stephens’ term. Then in the general election in November 2012, it will be up to the voters. But right now the 84 members of the committee will make that decision. Whoever is chosen will serve along with current commissioners, Les Boggs and Paul Herrell.

Recently six spoke publicly with The Tribune on their qualifications and why they want the job. They were Bill Pratt, a Chesapeake dairy farmer and Chesapeake school board president; David Lucas, a professor at Ohio University Southern; Bob Mayo, a Proctorville-based business man; Perry Brock, longtime Fayette Township Trustee and South Point businessman; Paul Johnson, an AK Steel retiree and former member of the Rock Hill school board; and Drew Artis, a business instructor and area entrepreneur.

Also vying for the seat is Marsha Imhoff of Proctorville. Imhoff is an independent contractor who sells janitorial and industrial supplies. She has served on the Community Action Board and the Head Start Policy Council.

“I feel like with my experience in the political realm, I have a good feeling for how it takes to work with other officeholders, not just the commissioners, but all officeholders on local, state and federal level,” Imhoff said. “I could work well with those who are there. I feel the crisis of jobs in Lawrence County is astronomical. I feel like I have the time to dedicate to work with our local, state and federal legislators to bring jobs to Lawrence County. … My ultimate goal is to work, to strive to see Lawrence County to that time when we were an industrial county.”

The meeting will be Tuesday at 7 p.m. in the courtroom of Common Pleas Judge Charles Cooper.

When the central committee votes on a successor to Stephens, it will take a simple majority of those at the meeting to win, according to Ray Dutey, county Republican party chair. However with such a large number seeking the job, the committee might have to have a second round of voting before a final decision is made.

The meeting is open to the public.