LOGAN — Hocking County residents have their choice between a farmer and a musician-turned-radio-personality for the office of Hocking County commissioner with a term beginning Jan. 1.
Jeff Dickerson (R) is competing against incumbent John Walker (D), who is finishing up his second term as commissioner.
Dickerson grew up in Logan and graduated from Logan High School. Following his time in Logan, he graduated from Ohio University with a degree in music education and later Ohio State University with a degree in applied art.
Dickerson has worked in the radio business since he was 15-years-old, starting at then WLGN and moving to WBNS AM/FM and eventually on to K 95.5 FM where he worked for 15 years. Dickerson worked his way up into management during his 10 years as a charitable games sales representative at Lancaster Bingo, and was responsible for 100 employees, he said. In 2004 he left Lancaster Bingo to help take care of his mother and father-in-law. Following both their deaths, he started working at 98.3 SAM FM 18 months ago.
Dickerson and his wife, Lianne, will be married for 28 years in November and have four daughters.
He believes that the projected casino funding Hocking County will receive should be put into the general fund.
“I would directly try to funnel those funds into the county offices,” he said. “We need to take care of our offices and our employees so that they can perform their duties as effectively and efficiently as possible.”
Dickerson believes that law enforcement is the key to fighting the drug problem, and he would like to help them continue to do what they have already been doing.
“Law enforcement has to have the funding to continue what I believe to be a successful fight thus far,” Dickerson said. “I think sheriff [Lanny] North and his deputies have done outstanding jobs thus far.”
When it comes to securing jobs, Dickerson isn’t afraid to put himself out there to attract more businesses and bring more jobs into Hocking County.
“I would talk to, and I have talked to local business people and asked them how to pursue businesses and bring them into Hocking County,” he said. “I can’t guarantee that I will be successful, but the county has been reactive and not proactive. We need to sell Hocking County and that’s just not happening. I’m willing to put my neck on the line for Hocking County. I’m willing, on my own dime, to bring business people in and sell Hocking County to them.”
Besides the matter of bringing jobs into the county and attacking the drug problem, Dickerson believes that youth programs are important.
“If elected, I want to ensure that we still have good youth programs like 4-H that kids can participate in,” he said.
Walker grew up in Logan and graduated from Logan High School. He worked at Columbia Gas for 34 years, served on the Hocking County Fair Board for 16 years and has owned Walker Farm since he purchased it from his family in 1976. He has served as a Falls Township Trustee and has been Hocking County Commissioner for two terms.
He and his wife Karen will celebrate their 47th anniversary this December, and have two children and four grandchildren.
When it comes to the projected casino funding, Walker wants to make sure the money will bring additional revenue to the county, and that the state won’t reduce the county budget before determining where it should be spent.
“It’s something that no one knows exactly what it’s going to be,” Walker said. “The [casino] attendance has already fallen off from as high as anticipated. I would put it in the general fund and then the rainy day fund until we see if it is going to stabilize and then we can work it more into the budget and to the departments. Right now it’s a very ‘iffy thing.’ I would hate to work it into the budget right now and it not be there. I’m worried that it will be like the lottery ticket money and the state will take it away from us on the bottom.”
Assisting law enforcement with additional funding and new programs is how Walker would help stop the drug problem in Hocking County.
“I would work and support the judges, the prosecutor and the sheriff’s office with programs we can help fund that will work with them,” he said. “This is a major issue in this county. I think the best thing we can do is work through those three offices to help support them with whatever they have.”
Walker believes the key to creating new jobs is a group effort between Logan, Hocking County and the Logan-Hocking County Community Improvement Corporation.
“There isn’t one individual that can do this. It needs to be a community effort. You really need the city, the CIC, and the county all working together to really bring jobs into the community. We need to do a study to see what resources are available throughout the whole county, not just in this community, and try to market those through the CIC,” Walker added.