Candidates seek local office
- Published: July 18, 2013
With just under a month left for candidates to file for openings in the local elections in November, a handful of new candidates as well as incumbents have indicated interest in helping to govern Village Council, Yellow Springs school board and the Miami Township Trustees. The office of the Village mayor is also up for election. The filing deadline with the Greene County Board of Elections for any office is Aug. 7.
For Council, the three seats currently held by Judith Hempfling, Karen Wintrow and Rick Walkey are up for reelection this year. Just one new candidate, Brian Housh, has announced his intention to run for Council. Housh moved to Yellow Springs from Thailand a year and a half ago and currently serves as president of the YS Kids Playhouse board of trustees and as a consultant for The Consortium for Global Development in Dayton. His interest in Village Council stems from a desire to “maximize community collaboration and citizen participation” in public decision making.
“I can’t imagine a place where I feel more motivated to represent the community,” Housh said this week. “It’s got a great history and a wonderful community, and it gets me really excited.”
Current Council member Wintrow, who has served two four-year terms on Council, said on Monday that she had not yet decided whether to run again. Walkey, who has been on Council since 2009, said this week that he has received positive feedback and will run again.
Hempfling announced earlier in the year that she would step down before the end of her term due to family obligations, though she has not yet left her position. She has served eight years on Council and said this week that she does not intend to run for a third term at this point. When Hempfling announced her intention to resign last November, several local residents, including Dan Reyes, Marianne MacQueen and Connie Crockett, submitted their names as potential candidates for Hempfling’s replacement. Asked this week if they would consider running for an elected seat on Council in November, Reyes (who first ran for Council in 2011) and MacQueen both said they were still interested and considering the option. Crockett was not able to be reached.
The two candidates with the most votes will serve four-year terms on Council, and the third highest vote getter will serve a two-year term. They will join current Council members Gerry Simms and Lori Askeland, who are currently in the middle of four-year terms.
The Yellow Springs school board will also have three openings for the seats held by current Board President Benji Maruyama and members Aïda Merhemic and Angela Wright. Candidates Ara G. Beal and Steven Conn have both taken out petitions for seats on school board.
Beal grew up in Yellow Springs and returned to raise her son in the village, continuing to work with YS Kids Playhouse and the Yellow Springs High School theater program while she completes a master’s in education at Antioch University Midwest. Conn moved to the village almost eight years ago with his wife and two children. He is a professor and director of the Public History Program at Ohio State University.
While Merhemic and Wright have taken out petitions from the Board of Elections and plan to run for their third and sixth terms, respectively, Maruyama confirmed last week that he will not run for a second term.
“I’m happy and proud of the work the board has been able to do — I think we accomplished a lot during my term,” Maruyama said of his four years on the school board. “I’m ready to let others step in.”
The candidates who are elected will join current school board members Sean Creighton and Sylvia Ellison for four-year terms.
Two seats will be opening on the Miami Township Board of Trustees as well, including those held by trustees Mark Crockett and Lamar Spracklen. Crockett, who has been a Township trustee for 12 years, indicated this week that he plans to run again as an incumbent. Spracklen said this week that after serving 14 years on the board, he will not run again. Township resident Lisa Goldberg will run for the second seat on the board. Goldberg grew up in Yellow Springs and returned around 2002 to the township, where she owns a ceramics studio and works as a full-time arts events organizer. She feels strongly that the Township government needs at least one township resident on its board of trustees, and she might possibly be the first female trustee ever.
“I very much believe in giving back to the town, and I’ve done that financially, planning community events and donating my time,” Goldberg said this week. “This was the obvious next step for me.”
The position of Village mayor is one more public office that is up for local election this fall. Though he indicated after he was elected for his 11th term in 2011 that he did not plan to run again, current Mayor David Foubert did take out a petition to run for a 12th term. Foubert has been mayor for 22 years. No one else has come forward as a challenger.
To file a petition, candidates running for Village Council or Village mayor need to collect signatures from 1 percent of the electorate, or 37 signatures from voters registered in Greene County. Those running for school board or Miami Township need 25 signatures. Candidates can pick up a petition at the Board of Elections, located at 651 Dayton-Xenia Road in Xenia, and turn it in by Aug. 7. Office hours are Monday through Thursday, 8 a.m.–4:30 p.m. Call the board at 562-7470 for more information.