MANSFIELD -- Three candidates have put their hat in the ring in the upcoming primary election, hoping to become the Richland County commissioner's Republican candidate.
Incumbent Marilyn John is challenged by Dale Hulit and David Morgenstern. The winner will face Democrat Rebecca Hergatt in November.
The commissioner's term will commence Jan. 1, 2019.
Hulit was born and raised in Richland County. He is a life-long member of Oakland Lutheran Church on Crall Road. He graduated from Crestview High School in 1979 and went on to earn an associate degree of agricultural sciences from The Ohio State University Agricultural Technical Institute in Wooster in 1981.
Since then he has owned and operated Hulit Farms in Weller Township.
He has been a Weller Township trustee for the past 32 years; a member of the Richland County Farm Bureau (serving two years as president and multiple years on the board); a member of the Richland County Senior Fair Board (2015 to current); a member of the Richland Soil and Water Board (1993 to 2002); a member of the Town and Country/Centerra Co-Op Board of Directors (2015 to present); and a member of the Franklin Cemetery Board (2015 to present).
His wife since 1983 is Pam (Hartschuh) Hulit, who has been a nurse for 34 years in Shelby. Together they have four adult children: Danielle Haydocy, agricultural education teacher at Clear Fork High School; Darrin Hulit, sergeant in the U.S. Army / Engineering Tech. at V.A. Data; Loren Hulit, partner at Hulit Farms/real estate appraiser assistant; Katlyn Hulit, pursuing a master of arts in speech language pathology at Ohio University.
Hulit believes Richland County is diverse and the background of the board of commissioners should reflect that.
He said he is a fiscally responsible decision-maker.
"I think that common sense not emotion should be used when making decisions such as the Shelby Dam project," he said.
In order for Richland County to thrive, he said we must improve our roads and support our law enforcement. He also said he will support the efforts being made to combat the opioid crisis.
"I want Richland County to be the place that our children want to return to and outsiders look at and say, 'This would be a great place to work and raise a family,'" he said.
John is in her first term as county commissioner. She edged Democrat Phil Scott in the general election of 2014, making her Richland County’s second female commissioner.
She previously served as mayor of Shelby from 2010 to 2014.
She has an associate degree in business management from North Central State College, a bachelor's degree in business management and marketing from Ashland University and a master's degree in business administration from Ashland University.
Her occupation history includes working as a commercial lines underwriter for Shelby Insurance. In that position she managed a large book of commercial insurance business, worked with independent agents, the marketing department, claims and loss control.
She also served as the executive director of the Shelby Senior Center. Being the only paid employee, she cleaned the facility, planned activities for the members, engaged with the community and managed the finances.
Her platform is threefold: economic vitality, leading for the future and fiscal responsibility.
She believes creating a climate for job growth is critical to Richland County's economic success.
"I have led the way in regulatory reform in the County Building Department, making it easier for businesses to grow and expand," she said. "I have also established and nurtured relationships with our economic development entities to promote economic growth."
She created LeaderRichland, a leadership program reaching more than 5,000 students over the past six years with an additional 1,000 going through the program this spring, she said.
"LeaderRichland introduces area youth to career pathways by partnering them with community leaders and entrepreneurs," she said.
She also worked to establish the Richland County Budget Stabilization Fund or Rainy Day Fund and build a Richland Revitalization Fund for capital improvement projects.
"By implementing strong fiscal policies and growing General Fund balances, the financial rating for Richland County has improved from a negative rating when I took office to an A+ with a positive outlook with S&P at the end of last year," she said.
When contacted, David Morgenstern declined to be interviewed by Richland Source.