GOP primary candidates meet with voters

GOP candidates interact with local residents at a dedicated forum at Wilmington High School on Monday.

John Hamilton | news magazine

WILMINGTON. Republican candidates in the May 2 primary answered questions and addressed voters at a special forum on Monday.

In a Wilmington High School auditorium, Republican candidates gathered to share who they are and why they are running for office. Some even answered questions from the audience.

The main topic of the evening was questions and answers for candidates for the Clinton County Municipal Court. Candidates Judy Gano, David Henry and Brett Ruddack spoke about their experiences and why they are the right fit for the role.

Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine announced Tuesday that Henry has been named Clinton County Municipal Court Judge for the remaining term of Judge Michael Dougherty, who died suddenly in September 2022. Henry will take office April 10.

Henry talked about his role as the city’s attorney, how he is present in the courtroom every day and how he would like to fight crime tough. Rudduck mentioned that he not only served as the director of legal affairs for the city of Wilmington, but also was an attorney in several villages in the county. Gano, a private attorney and former judge, spoke about her involvement in the community, including building the original wooden playground in Denver Williams Park.

Pat Haley, who is running for Mayor of Wilmington, spoke to the crowd about the problems of vagrancy, crime and how he would run the city if elected.

Haley, a former county commissioner and sheriff, said that when he talks to residents, community leaders and business owners, he “often hears the question: what happened to Wilmington?”

He advised locals to tell him what they were seeing homeless camps, drug use in public places, and criminal and “unpredictable behavior” by individuals.

He said that many suffer from drug or alcohol addiction, serious mental health problems, and this contributes to crime. He said this was leading to a “drastic decline” in Wilmington’s quality of life.

“While some cannot or will not address this pressing issue, I can and I will and we will,” he said, adding that if elected, he would work to resolve issues with the council and police.

Also in attendance were: Wilmington First Ward candidates Josh Schlabach and Kelly Tolliver; individual candidates for other relevant council seats; Bill Liermann, running for the Wilmington School Board; and Wilmington legal director candidate Justin Dickman.

The candidates who did not attend the event were Mayor John Stanforth, City Auditor Mary Kay Vance, Councilor-at-Large candidate David Nanstad, and the Blancester candidates.

Stay tuned to News Journal and visit the Clinton County Board of Elections website for more information on the May 2nd election.

Contact John Hamilton at 937-382-2574.

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