By Dustin Ensinger
Genoa Township Trustee Barb Lewis was a somewhat reluctant entrant in the race to fill the seat of retiring Delaware County Commissioner Dennis Stapleton.
But when Stapleton announced his retirement in January, she was persuaded to enter the race. She will face Commissioner Ken O’Brien and business owner Mike Kelley in the May 6 Republican primary to fill the seat.
“I really realized that I could bring a very needed dimension to the county commissioners - building relationships with people, working together in a collegial manner and coming up with good public policy,” she said.
The winner of the primary will take on Jacob Fathbruckner in the November general election.
Lewis, who has served as a township trustee since 2008, believes she has the kind of track record Delaware County voters are looking for in a commissioner.
“We’ve really been very successful in saving taxpayers thousands of dollars while delivering outstanding public services to the community,” she said.
She also said she has ran the township in a fiscally conservative manner since taking office, “scrutinizing all major purchases.”
“We really believe in saving money, but we’ve been able to do things in the most efficient and effective ways,” she said.
If elected, Lewis said she hopes to make Delaware County even more business friendly by working more collaboratively with other entities in central Ohio.
“We need to make sure that our growth and development is positive but we definitely need to have more growth and development and work with other entities regionally,” she said.
Lewis, who has run several statewide political campaigns, said she also hopes to revamp county Emergency Medical Services. She, along with several other trustees in the southern townships, have proposed that the county contract with their fire-based EMS to provide service in the southern portion of the county.
“This could lead to providing even better service for our rural and northern townships and at the same time it could eliminate duplication in our southern townships,” she said.
Lewis also believes she can bring some positivity to the board that has sometimes featured “way too much negativity as far as attacks on people.”
“That sends the wrong signal,” she said. “And as public officials we bear a special responsibility to reach out to people.”
Not only does Lewis believe she is the right person for the job. She believes one of her opponents, O’Brien, who currently holds a seat on the board and has more than two years left in his term, would be doing a disservice to democracy if elected to a different term.
“In this case, if my opponent would win then it would be the (Delaware County Republican Party) Central Committee appointing someone to his seat, and that’s not how our government is set up to work,” she said.
Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-363-1161 ext. 344 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.