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Democrat Dryden looking to win “open” commissioner’s seat

Richard Dryden
Richard Dryden

Candidate says he’ll bring traditional ideas to the office –

By Patricia Beech –

Adams County voters will be asked to choose between four candidates bidding for seats on the Board of Commissioners in the Nov. 8 election. Among them is Democrat Richard Dryden who is challenging Republican Brian Baldridge for the “open” seat vacated by former Commissioner Stephen Caraway.
The People’s Defender asked several questions of both candidates providing them an opportunity to speak directly to the voters. Below are Richard Dryden’s thoughts on why he should be elected to serve on the Board of Commissioners.
Defender: Why are you the best candidate for county commissioner and how will you make a difference in Adams County over the next four years if elected?
Dryden: I have 22 years of experience as a self-employed farmer. Farming is my only employment, and my family’s only income. To successfully manage the family farm I’ve had to manage my money very carefully, and being a dairy farmer, my salary isn’t set so I have to work within a budget. That’s also exactly what I’ve done as a Tiffin Township Trustee – I’ve worked within the budget for the township’s residents. As county commissioner that’s exactly what I’ll do  to work within the budget.
Defender: Should any part of the county budget be shielded from cuts? And, if so, which area?
Dryden: Law enforcement should not be cut because they protect our citizens. The Health Department also should not be cut because I believe it should be kept under local control. Education shouldn’t be cut because I think we need to promote education for our children. We’ve got a serious drug problem and we need to expand and teach our kids, and as adults that’s what we’re supposed to be doing. I believe through the education system we can raise awareness about drug abuse.
Defender: What one part of county government or what issue would receive more attention if you were elected?
Dryden: Roads and promoting our small businesses so that we can attract tourism to the county. Our County Engineer provides safe roads, and we need to continue to work on improving and making our roads safer. Local government has been cut in the past eight years and it’s been a burden on all our agencies in the townships, the villages, and the county, but we need to stress the safety of our roads. If we keep our roads safe and clean we will attract tourists and our small businesses will prosper.
Defender: If new resources were available, what one area of county services do you think most needs additional resources?
Dryden: The Health Department and education. There have been rumors about Southern State College coming in and I’d really like to get education going for our youth because they are our future. I graduated  n 1981, and my best friend told me he had to leave Adams County to get a good job. In 2011 my own daughter said to me, “I have to leave Adams County to get a good job.” That’s 30 years apart. We can’t keep all our children here because we don’t have enough resources, but we can create something for those who stay.
Defender: What incentives would you offer businesses interested in coming to Adams County?
Dryden: Tax breaks to encourage them to come.
Defender: What are your thoughts on the environment and land use policy – regarding the EPA?
Dryden: I know that there is an issue with chemicals getting into the water supply, but I don’t know if farming is the total cause. I don’t know that the farmers are doing that much harm. I’ve been in the farming business for 35 years and I’ve never abused chemicals or fertilizers that could get into our water streams. What worked for farmers 30 years ago is totally different from today. Farming has totally changed from what it used to be. Farming used to mean you plowed your land and worked your land, but now days they’re using no-till practices, and rain washes the chemicals off. We also need to look at the problems caused by septic systems.
Defender: What would be your position on issuing levies and taxes as they pertain to smart growth projects and sustainable development?
Dryden: If it’s necessary to have some kind of tax break to bring in new development then I think we should all be working for that. As far as a tax levy, I’d prefer to stay away from levies because everybody’s taxed anyway, but if the levy could prove to be of minimal cost for the tax payer, like the Health Department which is only going to cost the taxpayer $14 more on the year for a property valued at $100,000, that’s a very minimal cost and would be worth it. With that being said, the Health Department has also said that if the levy passes each township that gives $123,000 dollars a year to the Health Department will get that money back, so it isn’t going to cost the taxpayers that much because money is coming back to the villages and townships. I’m not opposed to tax levies if it shows a just cause in return.
Defender: What are your goals for cultivating a strong cultural identity for Adams County in the next four years? What role should the arts play in Adams County’s cultural identity, and how should the county be supporting the arts community?
Dryden: I’m a lifetime resident of Adams County, this is my home, this is where I want to be. I think we need to take every opportunity to grow and expand as times change. Agriculture used to be the number one thing in our county, and it’s still important, but it’s dwindling. We need to expand our horizons as far as our youth and the arts are concerned. I do know that we have more tourists coming into the county, but we don’t have enough hotels to keep them here. People come, but then they have to go back to Eastgate or Maysville to stay. Can’t we expand and find a way to keep our tourists here and generate revenue for our county?  One thing I push in our township is keeping our roadways clean and tree limbs cut back. That’s a small item, mowing the roadways and keeping brush cut back, but if you can bring people into the county they can see how beautiful it is. We’ve got them coming in and we need to keep them coming, and once they get here we need to accommodate them. I’d like to see more restaurants for tourists and for our youth where they can go and generate revenue for the county.
Defender: What should the county be doing to confront poverty on a local level?
Dryden: We should create jobs for our young people and give them a strong work ethic. Young people need to understand that you have to work, and work pays, it pays to work hard, nothing is free in life. If we can get jobs and show these kids that working and accomplishing something is important and rewarding.
Candidate Dryden has served as a Tiffin Township Trustee for 10 years. He and his wife Tanja live in West Union.

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