Election trend: Candidates returning to office

MARIETTA – The incumbents on the Nov. 5 ballot aren’t the only candidates with experience in the offices they’re seeking.

Seven candidates for boards of education and municipal councils in Washington County have served on those bodies before.

Among them is Jon Grimm, a 47-year-old Republican who spent four years as the Marietta City Councilman for the 3rd Ward. He was defeated in a 2011 bid for mayor and is now running for an at-large seat.

“Quite honestly, I’ve been quite concerned about some of the actions this council has taken,” Grimm said. “There weren’t other people stepping up, so I decided to step up again.”

Grimm said he’s seeking an at-large seat this time because he prefers “to look at things in a citywide manner.” He cited an issue a few years back in which he thought a drainage repair for some residents in his ward was too expensive, but also felt the need to support it on behalf of his constituents.

“Serving in an at-large position gives me the flexibility to make those kind of decisions,” he said.

Grimm is one of five candidates running for three at-large seats. The others are incumbents Harley Noland, a Democrat, and Michael Mullen, an independent; Republican Michael Boersma; and Democrat Kathy Downer.

Another former Marietta council member running in a different capacity is Republican Josh Schlicher. He served an unexpired at-large term in 2011, and is now making his second run for council president, this time facing Democrat Kevin Paskawych. Schlicher did not return a call seeking comment by deadline.

Like Grimm, disagreement with the current government prompted Clem Biedenbach, a former Beverly mayor and village councilman, to throw his hat in the ring once more.

“The mayor (isn’t) doing his job right,” he said, without citing specific issues.

Mayor Rex Kenyon defeated Biedenbach in the 2011 election. Biedenbach was running for a second full term after being appointed mayor in 2006 following six years on council.

Biedenbach said losing the last election isn’t what motivated him to run again.

“Didn’t really bother me. Was glad to have a break,” he said.

Biedenbach said he enjoys helping out the residents of Beverly.

“That’s what we’re there for is to help the village people,” he said.

Biedenbach is one of six candidates running for four seats on the Beverly council. Christine Lemal and incumbents Jay Arnold, Kandy Baker, Beth Kenyon and Jim Ullman round out the field.

Like Biedenbach, Arnold has served as both mayor and councilman. He stepped down as mayor in 2006, due to taking a job with the Ohio Department of Transportation that prohibited his service in that capacity. After changing jobs, he ran for council again in 2009 and was elected.

“It was something that I had always really enjoyed,” said Arnold, running for another term this year.

Despite a four-year absence from village government, Arnold said it wasn’t hard to step back into the role.

“I didn’t think there was really any adjustment at all,” he said. “These are topics and projects that are always there.”

In Belpre, city Councilman Bob Wallace, I-at large, hopes to earn a seat on the Belpre City Board of Education, where he served from 1994 to 2000 following his retirement after more than 20 years working in the school district, 19 as high school principal. None of the current board of education members were serving when Wallace last did, but he remembers three of them as students.

When he returned to the area after living in Tennessee for 10 years, Wallace said it was too late to seek a board seat but he ended up running for council.

“I don’t want to just sit around the house,” said Wallace, 76.

A desire to serve the community and his familiarity with education is prompting this run, not a particular issue, he said.

“I don’t have any kind of agenda,” Wallace said.

Also running for the Belpre board is Bobbi Simmons, who served one term from 2008 to 2011. Incumbents Fred Meredith and Leonard Wiggins are also seeking one of the three available seats.

Three seats are also on the ballot in the Warren Local school district, where incumbents Bob Allen, Sidney Brackenridge and Bob Crum are running with 11-year board member Willie Holbert, who stepped down in early 2009 because of his job. Holbert could not be reached for comment.

Six years after choosing not to run for a third term on the Frontier Local Board of Education, Daryl Bowersock is seeking that office again. The other candidates for the three seats are Kurt Bohlen, M. Todd Collins and Gale Depuy II. Bowersock did not return a call seeking comment.