JACKSON CENTER — Aaron Heilers, of Anna, a candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives 84th District seat, attended the Jackson Center council meeting, Nov. 27, to introduce himself, share some facts about his background, .
The 84th District includes Mercer County and parts of Darke, Shelby and Auglaize counties. He is campaigning for the seat ahead of the May 2018 primary election.
Heilers thanked council for allowing him to speak and noted he was running for office because he feels Keith Faber, who currently holds that office, has lost touch with his constituency and no longer has their best interests at heart.
“I have been a lifelong resident of the 84th District, and I’m very passionate about the people and prosperity of the communities that live and work here,” Heilers said. “This district ranks first in the state in agriculture production, and my background in agriculture, strong family values and conservative philosophies make me the candidate best suited for this position.”
Heilers said he enjoys being the voice of the people and plans to better represent their needs and concerns in a way that is currently being overlooked.
“I’m running because we need a more common-sense approach in representing our district. I understand the culture here, who we are, what we’re about and what we stand for. At present, the needs of the people have taken a back seat to politics as usual. Big promises were made and not kept, resulting in a great situation for the politicians and big government but not so good for the people they supposedly represent. The time for change is long overdue. Our current representative has forgotten the most important part of his job is to be the voice of the people in Columbus, not to tell us how to live. Since Faber took office, the state budget has gone up every year, and somehow our district always ends up giving more and getting less in terms of benefiting from tax dollars. It’s just not fair to the hard-working people in our district, and if elected, I promise to put the priorities back where they belong,” Heilers said.
Jackson Center Village Administrator Bruce Metz agreed with Heilers’s sentiments, noting; “You are exactly right Aaron. My biggest pet peeve as administrator is constantly being told by the state of Ohio to do more with less. I’m tired of being told to ‘suck it up and get on with it.’ Like you said, it’s time for a change. We need someone in office who is a good listener and will be a voice for the people!”
Fiscal Officer Bev Wren agreed with Metz, noting the negative influence that recently-passed House Bill 49 has had on municipalities across the state by burdening them with more red tape and expenses that were not there in the past.
“Our state representative and legislators didn’t do us any favors. Basically the governor had no problem putting a big part of the responsibility to balance the state budget on the backs of the municipalities. In effect, big government became another middleman taking more from us and making us pay for unneeded changes. The system was not broken and this ‘fix’ is just another money-grab situation instituted by the politicians in Columbus,” Wren said.
Heilers then continued the discussion by informing council about his experience, qualifications and current position as project manager of the Blanchard River Demonstration Farms Network. This project showcases leading-edge conservation practices that will positively impact water quality throughout the state of Ohio while not having a negative impact on farmers’ economic bottom lines.
On a personal note, Heilers shared that he was raised in Houston on a farm and has two siblings. He and his wife, Sarah (Luthman), have been married for eight years and have two children. They reside in rural Anna, where they own and operate their grain farm and wine-grape vineyard. Heilers and his family are members of the Sacred Heart of Jesus Catholic Church in McCartyville, where he serves as a member of parish council.
In other business, council heard the third reading of an ordinance establishing job classifications and rates for all village employees. All of the recommended revisions would become effective, Jan. 1, 2018.
Council also heard the second reading of an ordinance that will provide appropriations for current and other expenditures for the village during the fiscal year ending Dec. 31, 2018. Metz said he and Wren were working on the details of the proposed ordinance and were close to submitting a revised version for council members to look at before the next meeting in December. Council also passed an ordinance authorizing the fiscal officer to pay a retainer for income tax collection.
Before going into executive session to discuss the employment of a public employee, Metz shared a number of reports and updates about various projects he is overseeing and the progress being made.
“We have connected the solar field lines to our electrical grid and are working to prepare the temporary electrical line movement for the future culvert replacement project slated for early next year. Our street department is busy with street maintenance and preparing our trucks and salt supply for the winter season, and our water departments are making great progress on cleaning sand and media filters at the water plants. All in all, we are in pretty good shape, and I commend our staff for a job well done,” Metz said.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.