WAPAKONETA — Two candidates are vying for one Auglaize County Commissioner seat in the May primary: the incumbent Douglas Spencer and St. Marys Mayor Patrick McGowan.
Spencer has been an Auglaize County Commissioner for over 11 years. Before running for commissioner, he taught government at St. Marys Memorial High School.
“I think the key thing is proven results since 2007 and a thorough understand of the roles of the county commissioner,” he said as to what sets him apart.
Spencer alluded to two misconceptions about what county commissioners do. People seem to think commissioners control everything in the county, but that isn’t the reality of the job, he said. The main responsibility of commissioners is budgeting and appropriation of funds.
The other misconception is commissioners can implement ideas they have. Being a county commissioner doesn’t work that way, Spencer said. Commissioners instead have to collaborate with one another and other officials.
The commissioners are focused on bringing more business and housing to Auglaize County, as evidenced by a $1 million dollar project to install new water and sewer lines at the Auglaize County Airport and beyond to the east, Spencer said.
“The airport is such an important economic developmental resource,” Spencer said. “It’s the gateway to Auglaize County.”
McGowan has served seven years as mayor of St. Marys, serving one term on city council before being elected mayor. After becoming mayor, one of the major projects undertaken was rebuilding the city’s entire electric grid for $9 million, he said. The project came after residents were asked what improvements needed to be made, with many citing the grid as a key issue. Power outages were frequent after major storms to the point where businesses considered leaving, he said.
“We asked the question, we listened to them and we worked to solve the problem,” he said. “That’s one of the first things I’ll do when I’m elected county commissioner.”
McGowan said Auglaize County Commissioners have been asked multiple times to assist St. Marys in cleaning up the pollution in the St. Marys River, and they have ignored those requests. He will be a commissioner for every Auglaize County resident and not just those living in rural sections of the county, he said.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.