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Caraway colleagues say farewell

Departing Adams County Commissioner Stepehn CAraway addresses the audience during activities on his final day in office on Aug. 8.
Departing Adams County Commissioner Stepehn CAraway addresses the audience during activities on his final day in office on Aug. 8.

Parties choosing their candidates for the 2016 fall election in November –

Story and photos by Patricia Beech –

Former Adams County Commissioner Stephen Caraway bid an emotional  goodbye to his friends and colleagues at a reception held Monday Aug.  8  in the Commissioner’s office on Courthouse Square. Caraway resigned  as Commissioner to accept a position with Ohio Governor John Kasich’s  administration.
“It was a tremendous honor to serve as County Commissioner,” Caraway  said. “I was so humbled by the many friends and family that stopped by  the office to wish me well, I am blessed to have them in my life.”
Caraway’s fellow Commissioner, Paul Worley told those assembled for  the event, ”Stephen has dedicated his whole career to working in  politics from local races to congressional races, even serving in  Washington DC for us,” he said. “He wanted to bring his experience and  expertise back to Adams County, and the thing I’ll take away most is  the friendship Stephen and I have had while working in a bi-partisan  manner, which is the way it’s supposed to work. It’s not a question of  Democrat or Republican, it’s about taking care of the people who live  in Adams County.”

Less than a week later both the Democratic and Republican  parties in Adams County announced the candidates they’d chosen to run  for Caraway’s vacated seat.
In an unusual turn of events, the Republican  Central/Executive Committee has asked Commissioner Brian Baldridge to  run for Caraway’s seat in the Jan. 3 term. According to a Republican  insider, choosing Baldridge gives the party adequate time to review  and vet the 11 applicants seeking appointment to the Commissioner’s  seat.
Baldridge currently holds the January 1 term on the County  Commission which expires 12/31/2018.

“This is a responsibility that we take very seriously,” said Bill  Foster, Chairman of the Central Committee in a press release. “One week simply wasn’t  enough time for our members to properly vet and consider the applications of 11 very qualified candidates.”

The Adams County Democratic Joint Central and  Executive Committee  met on Thursday, Aug. 11 and voted unanimously to appoint  Richard M. Dryden as the Democratic Candidate for the January 3 term for County Commissioner. Dryden and his wife Tanja, operate a  farm in Tiffin Twp and are the parents of one daughter.  The Dryden’s  ran a dairy until 2013.  He has served as a  Tiffin Township Trustee for 10 years.
Dryden’s appointment was made according to stipulations in the  Ohio Revised Code which gives any other major political party the  legal right to appoint a candidate after the  withdrawal of a  candidate after the Primary, but prior to the General Election.
According to Linda Stepp, Chair of the Adams County Democratic  Party, the statute is in place to prevent parties from running popular  candidates in a Primary and then withdrawing to prevent a contested  election.
Stepp indicated that the Democratic Party had a candidate  recruitment committee that met in July 2015 to consider candidates to  run for county offices.
“At that time, we believed Stephen Caraway was a popular  Commissioner working to serve the people of Adams County and we did  not choose a candidate to challenge him,” said Step. “However, his  resignation and the statute made it an ‘open’ seat and the people  deserve a choice.”
According to a Republican Party press release,  the party  chose Baldridge because of his experience, dedication, and leadership  to the people of Adams County – and  because he has a record of  service to our community that is indisputable.
The Committee will meet in the coming days to further consider the  applications for the appointment of the actual vacancy on the Board of  Commissioners.

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