Candidate for 5th Ward City Council Seat
1. Explain a little about yourself.
I am the Broker and owner of RE/MAX Right Choice Real Estate Office located at 1124 Offnere St. Portsmouth, I live in the 5th Ward with my wife Becky of 37 years, and my four children Victoria, Tyler, Ashlynn and Zack. I am a Shawnee State University Alumni with a bachelor’s degree in social sciences. I have worked as a School Teacher, a Licensed Social Worker and I’ve been a realtor for the past 17 years.
2. What made you decide to run for public office?
After being shut in during the 2020 COVID shut down I started watching the Portsmouth City Council meetings on Facebook live. It became clear to me that the City Council needed to be more focused on the dire needs here in our city. While the City wasted its precious meeting time fighting over issues like Illegal Drug Proclamations. Much more important issues like infrastructure (paving our streets) business growth and development (getting new businesses and people to come to Portsmouth) and public safety (support for Police and Fire) were all being ignored. It was during this time that I knew I had to run.
3. What makes you qualified to run?
My life has been one of overcoming impossible situations. I started my first business when I was only 17-years-old. At the age of 19, I was running my own successful electronics business; Becky and I had bought our first new home and I had crews of workers helping me in my own small business. During this time, I was stricken with Acute Myoblastic Leukemia and was given a 10% chance to live six weeks. I spent most of the year of 1986 in the hospital where I was put in remission and was given a bone marrow transplant which then was considered an experimental treatment. But by the grace and mercy of God, I was able to overcome. From 1987 to 1992 I attended Shawnee State University where I earned a bachelor’s degree. During my professional career, I’ve been a High School Teacher, an LSW. Licensed Social Worker and a Professional Licensed Realtor. I have a unique combination of business, academic and social work experiences that allows me to see problems from several different perspectives. I have learned through my life experiences that with God’s blessings nothing is impossible and great things can be done when people work positively together and are determined to overcome.
4. What do you feel are the top three concerns for your area?
Business Growth and Development for Portsmouth. Infrastructure and Public Safety. In the last census, Portsmouth lost over 1800 people that moved out of our city. Businesses and people are leaving our area and we are headed the wrong direction. This forces Portsmouth City to provide its services with a smaller tax base from fewer people. Therefore, we see it in decaying buildings, broken down streets, closed businesses and empty plighted buildings. This creates an increase in crime, illegal drugs and loitering on our streets.
5. How do you plan to address those concerns if elected?
My plan for the Portsmouth City Council is to work with the other Council members to focus on these three issues in our city. Business Growth and Development, Infrastructure and Public Safety. To do this we need to be a pro-business City Council that declares to all. (“Portsmouth is open for business!”) In recent past, Portsmouth City Council has discussed proclamations and passed legislation that has been very anti-business. Example: staffing is a huge problem for businesses; worker attendance and work performance is a huge concern for employers. So, when the Portsmouth City Council spends months fighting over a proclamation to decriminalize an illegal drug. it drives away potential businesses and employers because our city leadership appears to be illegal drug friendly which creates the image that Portsmouth is not pro-business. When Portsmouth City Council Passes a vacancy fine or tax for simply owning and having empty buildings longer than 90 days in the city it drives away potential business investors because the City is imposing fines to property owners for no other reason than the building is vacant for 90 days. This is anti-business legislation that drives away potential investors from investing in the City of Portsmouth. As the 5th Ward City Council Person, I will fight for proclamations and legislation that declares that “Portsmouth is open for business!” My plan is to offer new and existing businesses rewards like tax incentives for coming and building their business in Portsmouth. I will fight for the city to offer grant writing assistance, and SBA loan application assistance, and partnership programs that help people open and operate their new businesses here in Portsmouth. As a pro-business City Council, we can grow our population with new businesses and jobs growing the city’s tax base which will solve many of the infrastructure and public safety problems we have.
6. How do you plan to bring business into your area or help small businesses already there?
My plan for Portsmouth City Council is to Partnership with local colleges and vocational schools to offer New Business startup services like Grant Writing Assistance, SBA Loan Application services. Partnership with local New and Existing businesses by offering tax incentives for hiring employees. Working to bring together local commercial building investors and new businesses to come up with creative leases and incentives to help the business open which will also help the commercial property owner put businesses in their vacant buildings. And keep Portsmouth City Council focused on the big picture of only discussing and passing proclamations and legislation that is pro-business or business friendly. I will fight to keep property taxes low by growing our economy and businesses which will increase our tax base without increases in property taxes.
7. How do you plan to involve residents in the decision-making process?
The Portsmouth City Council is a representative form of City Government so having residents involved in the decision-making process is vital to doing the work of a council person. First, the City Council member must make themselves available and accessible. I’m just a candidate but I have sent out a letter introducing myself to every home in the 5th Ward. That letter has my personal address and direct cell number on it. I think when issues arise that are very important to the people, council members should hold town hall meetings where people can voice their concerns and opinions. And of course, residents should be encouraged and welcome to attend the open council meetings held in City Hall.
8. If elected, what three steps would you take to put your city/township on a firmer financial footing?
I would ask to meet and spend time with the each one of the other Council Members so I could get to know them better and get a greater understand of their perspectives to build a good repour that would enable us to work together to make good decisions for the city. Second, I would ask to meet with and spend time with the City Manager (Sam Sutherland) and City Auditor (Trent Williams) to get a better understanding of the City’s operations and expenditures. Then finally I would ask to meet with each one of the City’s departments head and City Workers to assess each department and how they are run. At every meeting and every department, I would be looking for and listening to our city leaders to see how we could run and operate the city more efficiently.
9. What would be your first act of business if elected?
# 1 is to guard our expenditures and hold our budget down until we can get the city off fiscal watch. Then after we get released off State of Ohio fiscal watch, I would ask council and our city manager to look at our current budget and find grants to start repairing the streets, sidewalks and City’s sewage systems. To repair the most traveled streets first. To find ways in our budget and block grants to start repairing our broken infrastructure. We need it done now without raising property taxes.
10. Anything else you would like the voters to know?
I am a Pro Business, fiscally conservative, candidate that wants to work with the other City Council Persons to focus on the big issues that Portsmouth faces. A declining population, our infrastructure crisis and growing public safety concerns here in Portsmouth. I will fight to bring new businesses and jobs to Portsmouth while keeping spending and taxes low.