‘Creek candidates speak at forum


By Anna Bolton - adewine@aimmediamidwest.com



BEAVERCREEK — Candidates vying for Beavercreek’s elected positions Tuesday, Nov. 7 spoke at a candidates and issues forum Oct. 23, hosted by the Beavercreek Republican Women’s Club.

The city council race is contested — four candidates are looking to claim three seats. In the uncontested races, two candidates will be elected to the Beavercreek Township Board of Trustees and three are up for re-election to the board of education.

Beavercreek City Council

Joanna Garcia, an attorney at a Dayton law firm, said her professional experience has prepared her for a role on council, where she plans to be innovative and work with an open mind.

“I plan to work closely with Chief Evers and the police department to see what tools, resources and training they need while they serve and protect our community. To be successful and efficient, we need to be willing to truly collaborate to look for ways to share services and reduce costs. I will reach out to our colleagues in the township to look for the best opportunities to work together, to reduce costs, to avoid waste and duplication, and to look for ways to work better together for services we currently share, such as our fire department,” Garcia said.

Mayor Bob Stone is an incumbent eyeing a council position. He has also served as township trustee, and vice mayor.

“What do we do on council? We need to listen. We need to listen to anybody that wants to talk to us. Number one: listen, never have a closed mind. After that it is simply a matter of trying to provide those things that people say they want in a reasonable manner and how to afford to do that. So when it’s time for us to spend your money, it’s up to us to do it wisely,” Stone said.

If re-elected, Stone said, this would be his 14th year in public service.

The ballot will also show two spaces for write-in candidates.

Shannon Graham, a verified write-in candidate, has served as president of Beavercreek Rotary and is active with the Popcorn Festival, among other community organizations and events. According to Graham, 84 percent of the budget is at risk every year when levies are renewed, so one of his main issues would be to stabilize the budget by making levies long-term and indefinite.

“I’ve got my sleeves rolled up, my coat’s in the back because I’m ready to work. If you want to help me, I want to help you. I feel I’m a pretty approachable guy — if there’s something you feel passionate about and want to talk to me about, I’m going to put it on my docket and make it part of the things I need to give attention to,” Graham said.

Ryan Rushing, another write-in candidate, works in the Greene County Treasurer’s Office and is the current finance director for the Village of Carlisle. Rushing said he has been involved in the community since high school, and wants to move the city forward.

“I’m doing this because I’m dedicated. I’ve been involved ever since I had the opportunity and I want to continue to be involved today. There are many important issues coming before city council that will need attention, including but not limited to: the management of stormwater, a community curb and sidewalk program, our aging infrastructure, our quality schools and making sure we have parks and recreation that bring up the quality of life in Beavercreek.”

Beavercreek Township Board of Trustees

Tom Kretz, running for re-election, said he uses his professional experience on the board.

“I’ve enjoyed bringing my real-world, private-sector skills and expertise to local government. I believe I’ve made an encouraged positive improvement in Beavercreek Township through consistent, conservative and creative approaches,” Kretz said.

Kretz said during the last three years he has also worked on implementing cost allocation and program performance-based budgeting, supporting 35 percent-plus residential growth, building a new fire station without raising taxes, reorganizing and restructuring the township to lower costs and improve efficiency, fighting the heroin epidemic, and stretching tax dollars.

A proxy spoke on behalf of Debborah Wallace, who is currently serving her final term on city council. Wallace served in the U.S. Army, worked in the City of Dayton Office of Management and Budget, then began her business that has been in Beavercreek for 34 years. Wallace is involved with many community organizations like the Miami Valley Regional Planning Commission and the Beavercreek Board of Zoning Appeals. One of Wallace’s main accomplishments on council is the U.S. 35 Superstreet.

Beavercreek City School District Board of Education

Krista Hunt, a current member at-large, did not attend the forum. According to her biography on the district’s website, Hunt worked in retail management after graduating from Wright State University. She currently works as a part-time preschool teacher in Centerville. Hunt’s children attend Beavercreek schools, where she serves as executive committee member and volunteer coordinator for Citizens for Beavercreek Schools. She also volunteers on many different community organizations and school services, like Fairbrook Elementary PTO, church groups, and Shoes4theShoeless.

Denny Morrison, who currently serves on the board, said he has served 45 years in education, including 15 years as superintendent — seven of which were at Beavercreek.

“I’m running for re-election because I have a vision of public education that combines the needs of children and the needs of the community. I want to be a board member to embrace the servant leadership … improve staff morale, ensure that the district receives the highest academic rating possible, and is completely transparent. I want to ensure that we deliver an excellent education to Beavercreek students at a very low cost to the community. I want to help our schools in becoming the heart of the community,” Morrison said.

Jo Ann Rigano, whose term also expires in December, has been on the board for four years and president for the last two. Rigano said during her tenure, the schools have implemented innovative initiatives, improved district leadership, and enhanced relationships with the community. As a teacher, she said accountability is one of her main priorities.

“Moving forward, I plan to continue transparency and accountability to the public, continue open and honest two-way communication, use taxpayers’ dollars wisely, provide our students, teachers and staff the resources they need to offer the best possible education for our students, and meet the needs of all families by providing an online in-school classroom that will offer significant savings to the district,” she said.

By Anna Bolton

adewine@aimmediamidwest.com

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.

Contact Anna Bolton at 937-502-4498.