Editor’s Note: The Marysville Journal-Tribune staff made multiple attempts to contact all candidates running for council in the Village of Richwood. The candidates who are featured responded by the deadline. Candidates were asked to submit personal information about themselves and their stances on issues facing the village. Submitted statements varied in length among candidates.
Five candidates are vying for four open seats on the Village of Richwood Council in the Nov. 2 election.
Three incumbents, Patrick Morse, Von Beal and George Showalter, have terms expiring this year and are seeking reelection. Jackie Hamilton and Steven Siufanua are running as well.
Von Beal, 58, has been a village resident for 23 years and has served on council for over 10 years.
“I feel we have done some very good things during my time on council and we have to continue down that path,” he said.
With experience as a sourcing manager, Beal prioritizes the council’s budget.
“My many years in business as a procurement professional allows me to look at our financial situation and purchasing activities,” he said.
Beal believes the biggest issues facing Richwood at this time are street paving, park maintenance and stormwater drainage issues. He also said the village has a problem with vacant houses that need to be foreclosed.
“These are areas I feel need addressed and will be my overall priority besides finances,” he said.
If re-elected to office, Beal hopes to assist the council in district-wide aesthetic and management improvements.
“I would like to create a park district similar to what is in place for the (Northern Union County Fire and EMS District) NUCFD,” he said. “I also would like to get the water issues on the west end of town corrected and areas cleaned up that are an eyesore.”
Patrick Morse, 66, was appointed to the council in 2016 to finish a previous member’s term for two years prior to being elected. He has served a total of five consecutive years on council.
“I hope to continue assisting our Village Council and our Village Employees in making Richwood the best it can be, by adding new businesses, improving our streets/sidewalks/water and sewer services, and [adding] new residential housing,” Morse said. “My goal is to promote Richwood as the focal point of Northern Union County. I want to be a part of improving the jewel of our community, The Richwood Park.”
Morse believes issues facing Richwood include improving and expanding the downtown business area; raising funds to refurbish the village’s streets, sidewalks and curbs; improving the village’s water and sewer services and enticing new businesses to the community.
Morse has been a resident of Richwood for over 60 years, and he currently works as a wholesale parts manager with Joseph Cadillac of Dublin.
For 47 years, he was employed with General Motors Corporation in parts department sales and management.
Additionally, he has served on the board of directors for the Richwood Civic Center and Apartments for six years, three of which he served as president of the board.
Morse has been involved in North Union boys and girls youth baseball, softball and basketball through administrative, coaching and officiating roles. He has also served as an umpire for recreational and OHSAA high school girls softball and boys baseball.
For 27 years, Morse served as an umpire for the ASA girls softball tournament.
George Showalter, 89, is the longest serving member on the village council.
Many residents and business owners know him better as “Soapy,” a nickname he earned for being a sales representative of Proctor and Gamble for 30 years, representing the company’s soap brands.
“The area I was assigned included the Village of Richwood,” Showalter said. “Richwood was included in my first canvas of the area, and I remember driving in on Route 47 and seeing the steeple of the opera house. After calling on the grocery stores, I went up and got a real close look at what a striking building it was. I found out what a history it had and could only believe what I was told. I always enjoyed seeing it every time I came through town.”
Showalter has lived in the village since 1981.
“It was and still is a very nice community to live. I really appreciated the lake (surrounding) the park,” he said.
In 1999, the mayor approached Showalter about filling a vacancy on the council after a member moved outside the village.
“I like being on council because what it presents makes you aware of just what is involved in providing the services that the village offers and what it takes to operate on a budget and finding ways to make services and living conditions better,” he said.
One of the first events Showalter worked on at the park was a tree lighting to represent the year 2000.
Park Day has been a decades-long “one-day event that offered all kinds of games, rides and various things to make money to be used in buying playground equipment, tree lights and other things,” Showalter said.
“Today, anyone who hasn’t been to our park and lake area in the last six years would not know it was the same place,” he added. “The mayor and council (are) seeking and finding ways to gain grants that do not (affect) our yearly budget. We have been very busy to get this done. We are so very lucky to have such a thankful community to help our efforts.”
With decades of service to the village, Showalter has numerous accomplishments he is proud of, especially having his designs chosen for the veterans memorial at the park and for the village flag.
“It takes a lot of planning and work to keep the everyday services offered to our community, but with a good mayor and council, it can be done and is being done,” he said.
Showalter hopes to continue to serve the community as an elected official.
“With my background and education, I took up being a substitute teacher for North Union School District grades 4 through 12 for 16 years. I have stopped, so I have more time to do other things. I am a civic center ex-vice president and member for 25-plus years, (Richwood Area Business Association) RABA member for 25 years, Richwood Fishing Club Treasurer/Secretary for 10 years (and) the man in the white beard for 26 years,” he said. “I would appreciate your vote this year to continue to work for you.”
Early voting, in person and by mail, began on Oct. 5. The Union County Board of Elections office, 835 E. Fifth St., Marysville, is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. the first three weeks.
The office will be open for early voting from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Oct. 25-29, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Oct. 30, from 1-5 p.m. on Oct. 31 and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Nov. 1.
Polls will be open on election day at North Union High School, 401 N. Franklin St., from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. for citizens in the Richwood 1 and 2, Claiborne, Jackson, Leesburg, York and Washington voting districts.
Absentee ballots, returned in person or via a method other than U.S. Mail, must be received by the board of elections by close of polls on Nov. 2.
Absentee ballots returned by U.S. Mail must be postmarked no later than Nov. 1 and received by the board of elections by Nov. 12 to be counted.
Those with questions about the election or the elections process may contact the board of elections office by phone at 937-642-2836 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.