Commissioner Brian Baldridge is finishing up his second four-year term as an Adams County Commissioner and is running for a third, beginning with Tuesday’s Republican primary. Those who declare themselves a Republican at the primary election on Tuesday, May 6, will have the opportunity to decide whether he will have that chance as their party candidate in the general election. Baldridge has competition this year with Robin Stephenson running against him for the Republican Party’s candidacy. There are no candidates in the Democratic primary.
Baldridge grew up and lives in Wayne Township with his wife, Lori. His daughter, Alyson, currently attends Southern State Community College and Casey, his son, goes to the University of Cincinnati. He enjoys raising show pigs at the family farm. When he isn’t serving as a Commissioner, he works as a firefighter.
Serving as a firefighter for the Wayne Township Volunteer Fire Station and the Life Squad is what led to Baldridge running for office. He ran and served as Wayne Township Trustee for two terms. During his tenure as trustee, he was selected as one of the 20 board members for the Ohio Township Association. The work Baldridge performed with that board inspired him, helping him realize the good he could do as a commissioner.
Baldridge was elected into office on the cusp of the good financial times of the mid-2000s, before the crash of 2008. Following the onset of the recession, the budget for Adams County had to be cut by $1 million. Baldridge and his fellow commissioners at the time had the difficult task of determining what expenditures were necessary and which ones were discretionary and could be cut.
The leaner years for the county are gradually disappearing, as revenue has recovered by $500,000. However, Baldridge and Commissioners Stephen Caraway and Paul Worley aren’t simply reinstating what was originally cut. They are re-examining each old program and asking the question. “If the county could do without this program, did the county need it to begin with? Thus, they are working to restrain spending in the county government.
“We have moved in a positive direction,” Baldridge said. “I will continue to fight to bring in additional funding for growth, as well as continue to be a watchdog for the taxpayers.”
Baldridge’s big concerns have been with the county’s infrastructure. One of the major projects that Baldridge points to as effective government is the Jaybird Road project. The original Jaybird Road, which leads to the GE Testing Facility, had gotten to a point that even with regular maintenance, the road would have to be occasionally closed for flooding or snow issues.
The commissioners and the county engineer rerouted the road in a manner that would allow maintenance to be easier and more cost-effective. This, in turn, avoided the need to occasionally close the road, which might have caused GE to reconsider using Adams County as the site of their testing facility.
Baldridge was also a big proponent of the Louden-Louisville area and Sunshine Ridge water line projects that extended the county water system to areas that had gone without county water service until now.
Looking to the near-future, Baldridge discussed the need for updating the county courthouse. Currently the Commissioners are focusing on increasing the security of the building, and what steps can be taken in the wake of the various shootings across the country.
“I truly enjoy serving the people of Adams County,” Baldridge said. “I am trying to make the best decisions for today, tomorrow, and the next generation.”
Paul Hannah can be reached at (937) 544-2391.