• 43°

ELECTION QUESTIONNAIRES – PRIMARY 2020

Voting Hours

• March 17: General election:

Polls are open from 6:30 a.m.–7 p.m.

Absentee ballots returned by U.S. Mail must be postmarked no later than March 16 and received by boards of elections by March 27 to be counted.

Early In-Person Voting Hours

• Monday, March 16, 8 a.m.–2 p.m.

Editor’s Note: All candidates listed were sent a questionnaire. Candidates were given a limit on words. Some answers have been cut to the specifications. Cuts are denoted with (…)

 

Coroner

Ben Mack, MD

• Office sought: Coroner

• Party: Republican

• Age: 36

• Residence: Rome Township

• Professional Background: Doctor of Medicine, Bachelors of Science from Wright State University. Certified volunteer firefighter and EMT-Basic.

• Occupation: Emergency Physician at St. Mary’s Medical Center

• Political experience: Coroner since March 2018. Ohio State Coroner Board of Directors, since September 2018.

• Civic involvement: Medical director LCEMS, 911, Collins Career Center EMS programs, and fire departments, captain and volunteer firefighter, Rome Volunteer Fire Department. Elder at Missio Dei Church. Faculty advisor and member, Christian Medical & Dental Association.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: To continue to improve the efficiency and capabilities of the coroner’s office and continue to work with local law enforcement and investigators to find truth, bring justice and promote prevention.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: I am a physician first and foremost, not a politician.  I serve with integrity, honesty and compassion for the hurting.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: Hearing feedback about how the care provided by the emergency teams I lead has impacted or saved lives, mission work in Haiti and overseeing identifying the “Belle in the Well”.

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I will continue to keep politics out of the coroner’s office, where it has no role in the pursuit of truth and justice.

• Other comments (30 words or less): My background in civil service with multiple emergency response agencies, connection with other coroners at the regional and state level will continue to bring improvements, grant funds and efficiency to our county.

 

Common Pleas Judge

Andrew P. Ballard

• Office sought: Judge, Court of Common Pleas, General Division

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 43

• Residence: Proctorville

• Professional Background: Private practice attorney 2003-2016; Judge, Court of Common Pleas, General Division 2016-present.

• Occupation: Incumbent Judge, Court of Common Pleas, General Division

• Political experience: Elected judge in November 2016

• Civic involvement: I serve on the boards of the Fairland Little League, Fairland Buddy Basketball League and District 11 Little League; Member of Free and Accepted Masons, Proctorville Lodge #550 and the Chesapeake-Proctorville-Rome Lion’s Club.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: Continue the success of the Nexus Recovery Docket, which is Lawrence County’s first certified drug court, and implement innovative procedures in court that enhance public safety and address the drug addiction problem in our community.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: My desire to serve the people of Lawrence County and my commitment to provide fair, impartial and equal treatment under the law to all who appear before the court.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: In my private practice, my greatest professional accomplishment was arguing and winning a case in the United States 4th District Court of Appeals in Richmond, Virginia.  As a judge, I’m most proud of my drug court and our treatment team. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: In order to provide our citizens with a truly fair and impartial judiciary, the court must remain neutral on all political matters.  The rule of law is all that matters in court and the law should never be swayed by politics. (…)

• Other comments (30 words or less): I have been blessed to serve as a judge in our community for the past three years. I look forward to continuing my service to Lawrence County.  I would greatly appreciate your vote in the general election on Nov. 3. 

 

Prosecuting Attorney

Brigham Anderson

• Office sought: Prosecuting Attorney

• Party: Republican

• Age: 40

• Residence: Ironton

• Professional background: I have a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration from Ohio University, specializing in Human Resource Management and a Juris Doctorate from Ohio Northern University.

• Occupation: Attorney

• Political Experience: I have been elected as Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney for two terms and have served as the Lawrence County Prosecuting Attorney since Jan. 1, 2013.

• Civic Involvement: Member – Rotary Club, Member – Knights of Columbus, Member – Ironton Elks, Member – St. Lawrence Church, Ironton Youth Soccer – coach.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: To continue to serve Lawrence County as prosecuting attorney, making Lawrence County a safer and better place to live and work.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: I have extensive experience in the prosecuting attorney’s office, having served eight years as an assistant prosecutor, seven years as prosecuting attorney and have handled all cases. The prosecuting attorney requires experience to assure victims of crime receive justice.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: Multiple jury trial verdicts and criminal convictions for rape, murder, aggravated murder, including the death penalty. I personally handle all felony prosecutions.

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I currently work with members of both political parties to assure that Lawrence County continues to progress. I will continue to work with any elected official, regardless of party, to assure Lawrence County is a safer and better place to live and work.

 

Sheriff

Jeff Lawless

• Office sought: Sheriff

• Party: Republican. I have always been a Republican

• Age: 55

• Residence: Ironton

• Professional background: I began my law enforcement career in 1986 at the sheriff’s office. I have been a corrections officer, deputy, corporal, certified jail administrator, major, chief deputy and sheriff. I spent eight years with Lockheed Martin at the atomic plant (…).

  Occupation: I am the sheriff of Lawrence County. I have over 33 years experience in law enforcement. I have vast knowledge, training and experience in this field.

• Political Experience: I am currently serving my third term as your sheriff of Lawrence County. I have dedicated my life to law enforcement and the protection of others.

• Civic Involvement: Lawrence Lodge #198 F&AM, Ironton Lions Club, Lawrence County Chamber of Commerce, Lawrence County Project First Impression.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: To continue to serve the citizens of Lawrence County with honesty, professionalism and integrity. To continue working with the Commissioners on a new jail. To continue providing quality law enforcement services within the budget provided to me (…).

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: My experience, honor and rectitude. I am a proven leader who is highly qualified. I have always treated everyone with kindness and professionalism. I have dedicated my life to serving others.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: Becoming a law enforcement officer and being elected sheriff. Enforcing laws fairly and equally, regardless if the person is a fellow police officer or elected official. Investigating and bringing a quadruple murderer to justice.

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I would continue to be myself. I have a great working relationship with every elected official regardless of political affiliation. My work ethic has enabled me to provide the citizens with high quality service while still working within my budget.

• Other comments (30 words or less): I have worked to provide every school with a SRO which helps keep our children safe. I love serving as your sheriff and I humbly ask for your vote and support.

 

Joe Ross

• Office Sought: Lawrence County Sheriff

• Party: Democrat

• Age: 54

• Residence: Coal Grove

• Professional background: Dedicated and veteran law enforcement officer with over 27 years of law enforcement experience.  Able to deal effectively with people having diverse social and economic backgrounds. Dedicated leader with proven ability to deliver results in high pressure situations.

• Occupation: Detective captain, Ironton Police Department

• Political Experience: Served on Coal Grove Village Council for seven years.  Served as president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #75 for five years

• Civic Involvement: I proudly served my country in the Ohio National Guard for six years. I openly communicate with community members and groups off the clock to help define the needs of the people; (…) starting and maintaining Neighborhood Watch Programs.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: I will work diligently to find a solution for a new jail, provide more road patrols for the entire county, make sound financial decisions to improve existing conditions of the sheriff’s department and bring accountability and transparency to the office.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: (…) I can do the work and deliver exceptional results. I have the skill set and experience that make me the best choice for sheriff. I will deliver results and not excuses to the citizens of Lawrence County.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life: I am most proud of the daily duties that bring a sense of safety and security to those I serve. Serving and protecting the citizens of Ironton for 24 years has been my best professional accomplishment. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: The problems that face Lawrence County affect us, no matter party affiliation. So should the solutions. The election needs to be about the people and not the parties. (…)

• Other comments (30 words or less): I feel there is a definite need for change in Lawrence County. The drug epidemic, rise of crimes and jail situation deserve better attention and service immediately.  After being elected, I promise to be a sheriff, not a politician.

 

Treasurer

Tresa Baker

• Office Sought: Lawrence County Treasurer

• Party: Republican

• Age: 57

• Residence: Willow Wood, Windsor Township

• Professional background: 29 years experience in governmental accounting; 17 years as treasurer of Fairland schools and 12 years as treasurer of South Point schools; Certified Public Accountant for 14 years; Allied Signal accounting department, five years (…)

• Occupation: School Treasurer, South Point Local School District

• Political Experience: With the exception of one or two primaries, I have voted in every election since I was 18 years old, but this is my first time running for public office. (…)   

• Civic Involvement: Served on the Ohio University Leadership Project planning cohort and the advisory committee for Ohio University Southern Applied Business/Applied Management degree programs; Volunteered to teach yoga to young children (…); Serve on board of directors of Lake Forest Association and Ohio School Plan. (…).

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: To support and uphold the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of the State of Ohio and to understand and comply with all laws related to the office of County Treasurer. (…)

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: My qualifications, experience, integrity (both professional and personal), my work ethic and my commitment to fair and equal treatment of all taxpayers make me the best candidate for the position of county treasurer.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: Being part of the leadership team at Fairland and South Point School Districts (…) At both districts, we were able to build state of the art school buildings and were able to reduce the millage paid by taxpayers to redeem bonds. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: In nearly three decades of work as a school treasurer, I have worked closely and effectively with both Republican and Democrat school board members.  The key is focusing on the goal: true, accurate, consistent, reliable financial reporting.

• Other comments (30 words or less): (…) I am an accountant and will use my accounting experience and expertise for the benefit of all Lawrence Countians.  My track record proves that I will be a County Treasurer that all of our citizens can trust.

Other candidates: Stephen Dale Burcham, Cole Webb

 

Commissioner

Colton Copley

• Office sought: Lawrence County Commissioner

• Party: Republican

• Age: 36

• Residence: South Point

• Professional Background: Bachelors Degree from Marshall University and received Doctorate Degree from West Virginia School of Osteopathic Medicine

• Occupation: Lawrence County commissioner and emergency room physician at Cabell Huntington Hospital

• Political Experience: Currently serving as Lawrence County Commissioner. Previously served as president of the school board at South Point Local School District.

• Civic Involvement: I am active in my local church, Christ Temple. I have been involved in youth sports coaching youth soccer, softball, basketball and volunteering as a high school football coach. I volunteer time to serve on the Lawrence County Special Olympics board (…).

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: I want to continue to work towards bringing high paying jobs and industry to our area. We have made progress through the last year on issues such as the jail, addiction services and being fiscally responsible for our constituents. (…)

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: I have proven (…) that my strengths in communication and critical thinking are pivotal to being successful as commissioner. I brought a savings of greater than $400,000 to the county by working through our jail’s medical bills and finding a true cost savings.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: I am proud of my career in medicine. (…) There isn’t a shift that goes by that I don’t have an opportunity to make life or death decisions that my training has prepared me for. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: (…) I am a proud Republican, but I understand that there are individuals who are in the opposite party or no party affiliation at all, who also love Lawrence County and want the best for it. (…)

• Other comments (30 words or less): Over the last year, I have been successful as your county commissioner. I ask that you support me with your vote to serve a full term as your commissioner.

 

DeAnna Holliday

• Office sought: Lawrence County Commissioner

• Party: Republican

• Age: 50

• Residence: 63 TWP RD 282, Ironton

• Professional Background: I worked 10 years in the cellular communications industry. Since then, I have owned and operated my own businesses for over 20 years and, for the last three-plus years, I have proudly served this county as your Lawrence County commissioner.

• Occupation: President, Lawrence County Commissioners

• Political experience: I served eight years on the Dawson Bryant Board of Education; I am currently serving a four-year term as Lawrence County Commissioner; and I currently serve on the County Commissioners Association of Ohio, Board of Directors. (…)

• Civic involvement: You will find me at events throughout the county, supporting youth, seniors, veterans and individual clubs and organizations. I am a member of the NWTF, where I represent a strong women’s group that encourages women to get involved in the outdoors. (…)

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: My top priority will continue to be people. I’ll continue to create opportunities for citizens by creating jobs, strengthening current infrastructure and creating new, while enhancing current county services, adding recreational opportunity and by cleaning up our landscape.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: My experience and my heartfelt desire to serve you. I have protected the financial health of our county, implemented new initiatives and built strong relationships locally, at the state and nationally. (…)

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of?: I am very proud of my personal businesses, one of which is six generations strong in our county. I’m most proud to serve as your commissioner. I’m also proud of initiatives that I’ve championed, like Project First Impression and Imagination Library. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I believe my actions speak for themselves. No one has worked harder to unite people in this county, understanding that “alone we can do so little; together we can do so much”-Helen Keller. (…)

• Other comments (30 words or less): When you re-elect me, you secure strong representation for this county. (…) I am the most experienced, determined and proven candidate on the local ballot; I ask you to allow me to continue this work that I am so passionate about.

 

Brian A. Pinkerman

• Office Sought: Lawrence County Commissioner

• Party: Republican

  Age:  49

• Residence: Proctorville/Scottown

• Professional background: Machinist (16 years); Union representative with I.A.M.; Owner/Operator of Pinkerman’s Excavating and Construction LLC (since 2005)

• Occupation: Business Owner/Operator, Class A CDL License

• Political Experience:  Rome Township Trustee (second term, seven years)

• Civic Involvement: President, Rome Township Board of Trustees; president, Lawrence County Storm Water Task Force; vice president, Lawrence County Township Association; serve on Lawrence County Planning Commission; support Lawrence County 4-H Agricultural Program; member of Finley United Methodist Church

• What will your top priority be if elected to office? (…) I want to bring all of Lawrence County offices together to work as a team, to help build, grow and maintain the integrity of our county. I want to be a voice of the citizens of the county to our state Legislature.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job? I will be a full-time commissioner. (…) The Commissioner duties will be my top priority. I have both government and business experience appropriating funds, creating budgets. I believe in accountability of our actions and our decisions.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? Having a successful family business. Building professional relationships with many county offices; The engineer’s office, to obtain Issue 1 money for blacktopping, The Storm Water Task Force, to resolve many drainage and water issues. (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government? I have the ability to work with anyone, it doesn’t matter if you’re an office holder, a worker or fellow citizen of Lawrence County.  Communication is key, following up and following through with projects and promises, helping in any way I can.

• Other comments (30 words or less): My family has been a part of Lawrence County since the 1800s, farming and working hard. (…)  I have a passion and a desire to see Lawrence County grow and prosper for many generations to come. (…)

OTHER CANDIDATES: Jeff Blakeman, Shawn Hacker

 

Auditor

Les Boggs

• Office Sought: Lawrence County Auditor

• Party: Republican

• Age: 58

• Residence: Coal Grove

• Professional background: Owned several businesses, private business owner – 115 employees – sold to national company; Taught at college level for 12 years; RN, respiratory therapist; 15 years public service.

• Occupation: Registered Nurse

• Political Experience: Dawson-Bryant Board of Education – three years; Lawrence County Clerk of Courts – four years; Lawrence County Commissioner – eight years

• Civic Involvement: Coal Grove Lion’s Club; Member of Mamre Baptist Church; Founder of Wheeling Sportsman event for physically-challenged individuals.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office? To correct the way commercial property is being appraised and give fair residential appraisals for homeowners.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job? Strong financial background – as commissioner, helped bring Lawrence County to stronger financial state; Already understand budget; Critical thinking and problem solver

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life? Started a County Prescription Plan to help residents without insurance or capped insurance; Worked with several teams to bring St. Mary’s ER, Gateway Project, secured money for cement plant razing; Changed dog pound to adoption shelter (5/3/2013 Ironton Tribune) (…)

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government? Call for quarterly office holders meetings (both parties) to discuss issues we all could work on together

• Other comments (30 words or less): I will bring that same commitment to the auditor’s office as I did commissioner. My open door policy will allow all Lawrence County residents to express concerns and get needed assistance.

 

Paul David Knipp

• Office Sought: County Auditor

• Party: Republican

• Age: 45

• Residence: Hecla (Outside of Ironton)

• Professional background: 12 years as a practicing attorney.  One as an assistant prosecutor in Jackson Ohio. I taught Middle School for five years prior to law school.

• Occupation: Currently serving as the county auditor.

• Political Experience: Elected to three terms as a member of the Rock Hill Local Board of Education.  Served 10 years prior to being appointed as the auditor.

• Civic Involvement: Member of the Lions Club, Jeremiah 38 Ministries. Former volunteer fireman with the Upper Township Volunteer Fire Dept.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office? Maintaining an open door to meet and talk to the residents of the county about their concerns.  Also continuing to provide information about the county’s finances on the web site and improving the accessibility to that information.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job? I was appointed to and have been serving in the position since October.  Prior to that time, I served as a member of the Rock Hill Local Board of Education.  I am familiar with budgeting and maintaining compliance with budgetary constraints. (…)

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: I am most proud of gaining positive outcomes for my clients and helping them through very difficult times in their lives.  I would have to list successful adoptions as my most fulfilling legal work.

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I am willing to talk and work with any other office holder for the betterment of the county.   

• Other comments (30 words or less): As I have served as the auditor, I have enjoyed meeting with and discussing the concerns of the residents of the county.  I would greatly appreciate everyone’s vote on March 17.

OTHER CANDIDATES: Vallery Dyer, Jason Tolliver

 

Ohio Rep. – 93rd District

Jeff Halley

• Office Sought: State representative – 93rd District

• Party: Republican

• Age: 60

• Residence: 1042 Rocky Fork Rd., Crown City

• Professional background: Served with the Gallia County Board of Elections for 29 years (22 years as the director); Worked at the Gallipolis Municipal Court for two years as the bailiff.

• Occupation: Retired; Operate family farm.

• Political Experience: Gallia County Central Committee, Gallia County Executive Committee Chair, Gallia County Century Club, Currently serving on the Gallia County Local School Board. • Civic Involvement: Served on the Business Advisory Board for Buckeye Hills Career Center, Member of Gallia County Farm Bureau, Former District 2 Volunteer Firefighter, Member of the National Rifle Association, Past President of Hannan Trace and South Gallia Athletic Boosters.

• What will your top priority be if elected to office?: My initial focus is economic development/job creation. Employee training is a priority. Vocational education is vital to promote a good wage and improve quality of life in our region.

• What makes you the best candidate for the job?: I’m willing to do whatever it takes for the district and I will see that our region is not overlooked!  I am not afraid take on the establishment when necessary.

• What professional accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?: As the Board of Elections director, I’m proud that I organized and ran successful county elections.  During my tenure, elections ran smoothly and fairly, with questions being addressed expediently.

• What would you do to increase bipartisanship and cooperation in our government?: I would use my leadership experience to increase cooperation across the aisle. My previous leadership roles have enhanced my ability to collaborate, communicate, and compromise.

• Other comments (30 words or less): I will fight for the overlooked; those hurt by policies that benefit only a fraction of the community. I will fight against the opioid crisis and for educational funding — Jeffhalley.com.    

OTHER CANDIDATES: Jason Stephens

 

Ballot Issues

Lawrence County Developmental Disabilities Levy

“Proposed Tax Levy (Additional), Board of DD. A majority affirmative vote is necessary for passage. An additional tax for the benefit of Lawrence County for the purpose of community developmental disabilities programs and services by the Lawrence County Board of Developmental Disabilities at a rate not exceeding 1.75 mills for each one dollar of valuation, which amounts to $0.175 for each one hundred dollars of valuation, for a five year period commencing in 2020, first due in calendar year 2021.”