Ravenna trustee to run for commissioner

By Mike Sever Record-Courier staff writer Published:

Ravenna Township trustee Pat Artz has entered the Republican race for Portage County commissioner, saying the board of three Democrats lacks balance. Artz announced she is seeking the Republican party nomination at a meeting Monday night of the executive committee the Portage County Republican Party. She will be vying for the seat now held by Democrat Chuck Keiper. The other two commissioner seats were decided in 1996 and are held by Democrats Chris Smeiles and Kathleen Chandler. Chandler, a former Kent mayor, defeated Republican Jack Groselle of Hiram Township in his bid for election to a full four-year term. "I decided to seek the office of county commissioner for the very same reason I ran for Ravenna Township trustee. It's called caring." Artz was first elected trustee in 1995, defeating incumbent Beverly Jennings Hartung who had been appointed to an unexpired term. After being elected to serve the remained of the unexpired term, Artz was the top vote-getter last November when she elected to a four-year term on the board. Artz is the former owner of Randall's clothing store in Ravenna, which she owned and operated for 27 years. She was also the first woman president of the Ravenna Area Chamber of Commerce, and was a trustee of the Ravenna Balloon A-Fair. She is an employee and a part owner of Marshall's Dry Cleaners in Ravenna. "Right now there's no checks and balances in our county government," Artz said Monday. She also said she would put issues to the people, such as the recent flap over raising county license plate fees. "I've always felt (the people) are my boss. You put me in office. You hired me and you can fire me." Artz said she would be on the job every day. "As a commissioner I would work hard and work for the people. In the end it's the people who count," she said. "I've always felt that plain old common sense and hard work were the key to success. Artz said she was persuaded to make the run by several members of different parties. "They were concerned with the lack of balance" on the board of commissioners, she said, "and their not being there for the people when needed. You can't do it in two days a week. It simply isn't right. The people expect more and they deserve more." On county issues, Artz said she is concerned with the county's general fund being depleted and with the commissioners' plans to purchase a building outside the county. The Portage Women, Infants and Children program, which is the federal grantee for both Portage and Columbiana counties, is in the midst of buying a building in Lisbon to house its Columbiana clinic for pregnant women and infants. Artz said she had no particular programs she wished to promote, "except to be a hard-working commissioner and be there for the people."

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