HOCKING COUNTY — As Hocking County citizens prepare to head to the polls for the Nov. 2 election, The Logan Daily News decided to take a look at who’s running for township trustee. Hocking County is composed of 11 townships, according to the Hocking County Engineer’s Office.
According to the Ohio Township Association, township trustees are elected on a nonpartisan ballot in the November general election, in odd-numbered years. Every other year, half of the township officials are up for election. Townships most commonly maintain roads, cemeteries, police and fire protection, emergency medical services, solid waste disposal and zoning.
All Hocking County township trustee terms begin Jan. 1, 2022 and end Dec. 31, 2025; all races are nonpartisan and elect-two. Three trustees and a fiscal officer administer each township.
Featured below are Benton, Falls, Good Hope, Laurel and Marion candidates. A story featuring interviews with Perry, Salt Creek, Ward and Washington candidates will run in next Tuesday’s (Oct. 19) edition.
Benton Township Trustee meetings are held at the Township Community Building, on state Route 664 South, the second Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. The race for Benton Township Trustee consists of two new candidates and two incumbents.
Shawn D. Ervin described himself as a “servant at heart.” Born in Texas, Ervin spent much of his life living in the South — and all over, as he put it — following a career in the U.S. Navy. He eventually ended up in Benton Township in 2015, with his wife who is originally from Clyde, Ohio. Ervin said once he moved to the county, he got involved with his local volunteer fire department — something he is now passionate about.
“I got tired of seeing guys in the middle of the night by themselves trying to take care of stuff,” Ervin said. If elected a trustee, Ervin hopes to meet the fire department’s needs, whatever they may be. He also hopes that, during major events like storms, to stay on top of safety and immediately act at the scene.
Ervin described himself politically as an independent, voting not for a politician or party but on the issues. He also said he is very money conscious, a good listener and “works well with others.”
Ervin said he has fostered good relationships with other counties and communities, too. Road maintenance and “tourist traffic” are also top concerns for Ervin; he said speeding is an issue on his road, and that he would like to see more Hocking County Sheriff’s Office deputies patrol the area. He also said he would like to see new and/or repaired guardrails on roadsides.
Scott Justice is also running for trustee. Justice told The Logan Daily News his father was once a trustee, though this is the first time he’s ever run for office. He is Hocking County born-and-bred, and worked at the RCA plant in Circleville for 32 years as a supervisor and later a buyer.
Justice said he thought much about running for trustee, and ultimately decided to pursue the position. When gathering signatures needed to verify his petition, he noticed that many township residents were “disappointed.”
“They’re not happy because when they do contact the trustees they don’t get (the) info to the people that need to grade the roads, blacktop the roads,” Justice said. “I want to keep people happy.”
Justice said that road maintenance (bridge repair, brush/tree maintenance) is a top priority for him as a trustee — “some of the roads don’t get religious, but they get pretty holy,” he joked — and that he also hopes communication between the trustees, road workers and township residents improves.
He also added that he likes to see the township maintain its cemeteries. Justice said he’d “get out there” to see what needs to be done. He added that he’s worked with the public in the past as a bassist in a square dance band, and played live music every Friday and Saturday for 13 years.
Incumbent David Seymour has been a trustee for 24 years and with his business Grandma Faye’s for 35, he told The Logan Daily News Thursday. Within those two decades as trustee he’s witnessed the exponential growth of Hocking County’s tourism industry — something the township has had to keep up with, whether it be increased traffic, more people or even enforcing road weight limits, he explained.
Seymour said he believes Benton has some of the best roads in the county, adding that it no longer has a single gravel road (all have been chip-and-sealed).
“I’m proud of the work we got done and the roads and updates,” Seymour said. “We try to meet the people’s needs and (have) done a good job, I think.”
The Logan Daily News was unable to reach incumbent trustee Robbie Davis for comment before publication.
Falls Township Trustee meetings are held every other Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Falls Township Garage, 12654 OH-93, Logan. The Falls Township race consists of two incumbents and a challenger.
Incumbent Scott R. Harden described himself as a “natural fit” for the job. Harden has served three partial terms as trustee and two full terms. Like other candidates, road maintenance is a priority for Harden — and so is teamwork.
“(We) always strive to improve safety of the roads and quality of roads themselves,” Harden said, adding that timely snow removal during the winter months is also critical.
Harden said he recommends voting yes on Falls Township’s proposed tax levy renewal and increase for fire protection. Harden applauded his office and said his staff is very efficient. In his time as trustee, Falls Township has seen general improvements, as well as in its equipment, he said.
The Logan Daily News was unable to reach Jason Kallimanis and incumbent trustee Sam Eggleston for comment before publication.
Good Hope Township (uncontested)
Good Hope Township Trustee meetings are held the second and last Thursday of each month at 7:30 p.m. at 26180 Main St., Rockbridge. The Logan Daily News was unable to reach incumbents Harley Goss and Rodney Watkins for comment before publication.
Green Township (uncontested)
Green Township Trustee meetings are held the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 7 p.m. at Green Elementary School, 13495 Maysville-Williams Rd, Logan.
Incumbent John Clay Fuller told The Logan Daily News in his next term, which will be his fourth, that the township plans to continue its three-year road improvement plan. Originally from Nelsonville, Fuller said he has a background in construction and that he enjoys improving Green Township’s roads and “bettering the community.”
Incumbent Chuck Van Sickle declined to comment.
Laurel Township (uncontested)
Laurel Township Trustee meetings are held the last business day of each month at 7 p.m. at the Township Recreation Center.
Incumbent Steven Hampshire told The Logan Daily News Friday morning that he is wrapping up his fourth term as a trustee after retiring from Columbia Gas. When he became a trustee, it was his way of giving back to his community, he said.
“I’ve enjoyed it,” Hampshire said. “I’ve felt really privileged that the community has supported me and put their trust into me.”
Hampshire said that within his four terms, the trustees have improved township facilities, equipment storage facilities, a recreation center, and has brought most roads up to chip-and-sealed conditions.
“We are always continuing to improve our roads, culvert replacements,” Hampshire said. “We pride ourselves on trying to keep our facilities as good as what we can with the money that we have,” Hampshire said, adding that the township cares for two active cemeteries in which it also marks and sells graves, and several family cemeteries. He anticipates the township keeping up its momentum in his coming term.
The Logan Daily News was unable to reach incumbent Jeff Hatfield for comment before publication.
Marion Township Trustee meetings are held the first and third Thursday of each month at 7 p.m. at the Marion Township Community Center, 30737 Logan Horns Mill Rd, Logan. The Marion Township race consists of two incumbents and two contenders.
Incumbent Scott Kitzmiller, who has been a trustee for eight years, told The Logan Daily News he very much enjoys his job — aspects ranging from road care to tree care, to heavy machinery maintenance to working with people.
Kitzmiller has lived in the county for the past 40 years and has also been involved with other community organizations; he is the vice president of the Hocking County Township Association, was a treasurer for a major political party and regularly attends church.
Kitzmiller said since becoming a trustee he is involved at every road improvement scene and also all administers township driveway permits. Last year, Kitzmiller said the township garage received new electric garage door openers thanks to a state grant he helped the township apply for (the large, heavy doors, which previously had to be manually opened, presented potential health and safety hazards, he said). He hopes that, if elected, in his next term to apply for more grants and continue to better the township.
Kitzmiller added that he works with a great Marion Township staff. He described himself as a “people person,” and that his job as trustee has introduced him to many people.
“It’s a good way to meet neighbors you normally wouldn’t meet,” he said. “Even after eight years I’m still learning.”
George Rempel is also running for Marion Township trustee. Rempel has lived in Hocking County for over 60 years and has previous experience as township employee (in Falls). Rempel said after urging from fellow community members and believing roads needed improvement, he decided to run. He also has experience as a business owner, he said.
“I want to make sure the township is taken care of,” Rempel said. “I’ve been in construction a lot and I think that’s what it takes, too, is somebody (who’s) got a construction background.”
Rempel also believes township trustees should ensure township residents get a “fair turn.”
“I don’t think there ought to be favoritism; I don’t think you should do special things for friends — you do it for one, do it for all,” Rempel concluded.
The Logan Daily News was unable to reach Bryan Bownes, Brian K. Jones and incumbent Shawn P. Daubenmire for comment.
According to the Hocking County Board of Elections (BOE) website, early voting hours are available Oct. 18-22 from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Oct. 30 from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Oct. 31 from 1-5 p.m.; and Nov. 1 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m.
The voter registration deadline for the upcoming election has passed. Polling information can be found on the BOE’s website at www.boe.ohio.gov/hocking/precinct-and-polling-location-info/.
Additional information can be found via the Hocking County BOE, 93 W. Hunter Street; by phone at (740) 380-8683 and by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Office hours are 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Email at email@example.com.