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Macedonia residents Darrow, Koehler compete for Summit County Council District 1 seat

by Mike lesko | reporter Published: October 17, 2016 4:22 PM

Two Macedonia residents that were previously city/township elected officials will square off Nov. 8 for the Summit County Council District 1 seat.

Rita Darrow, who served one term on Macedonia City Council and was council president, defeated three-term Summit County Council District 1 incumbent Nick Kostandaras in the March 15 Democratic primary election.

Ron Koehler, an attorney for 30 years who served one term as a Springfield Township trustee and served two years as the director of the Summit County Board of Elections, ran uncontested in the Republican primary election.

If elected, Darrow said she would like to help tackle the heroin issue, which she said presents "a safety and health emergency in the county."

"We need to pursue every possible way to reduce the rampant supply and use of heroin," she said. "We urgently need more treatment options, law enforcement and alternative judicial programs."

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Darrow said the county also needs to focus on "every possible way to create good jobs with good pay."

"There are many ways to do this," she said. "We need to go after them all -- economic development, attracting new small businesses and retaining existing businesses to providing new skills and expanding infrastructure programs."

If elected, Koehler said he would like to restore funding to the county sheriff's department "so we can use the full capacity of the jail, so we don't have to pay Geauga County to house our prisoners, and so criminals who are convicted of crimes can begin serving their sentence, instead of waiting for months."

Koehler also said he would like to provide more beds for in-patient treatment of people fighting heroin addictions and would like county government "to be much more careful about spending on capital projects."

Darrow was a Macedonia Council member from 2012 through 2015.

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"I have actively served our community for many years before taking public office -- with both our government and our school system," she said. "I've learned a great deal as a legislator. I remain dedicated to serving our community."

She said she gained a reputation for bringing people together to find the best solutions to problems.

"For example, while serving as president of Council, I worked very hard to achieve consensus on every legislative item we considered," she said. "This resulted in items moving smoothly through the process and Council voting unanimously more than 90 percent of the time."

Darrow said her experience also allowed her to build good working relationships with nearby local and county officials, getting their input on many issues they tackled.

"The relationships I've established with federal and state officials will help ensure the voice of our county is heard," she said.

Koehler was a Springfield Township trustee from 2002 through 2005.

He said he learned many things, including labor union negotiations, preparing budgets, conducting termination hearings, overseeing construction projects, and communicating with county and state legislators on matters that affected the township.

"I also learned how much townships, villages and cities depend on the county," he said.

Koehler was deputy director, and then director, of the Summit County Board of Elections from 2010 to 2012.

"This experience taught me more about budgeting, management and leadership," he said. "I learned to get along with people who didn't like me simply because I am a Republican. I gained insight into how county council worked by appearing before it to request additional funding for the 2012 presidential election, and I got to meet many of the elected officials from the communities in District 1."

Email: mlesko@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9432

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