OTTAWA — The race for the Jan. 3 seat on the Putnam County board of commissioners pits a four-term incumbent against a recently-retired educator making his first run at elected office.
Vincent Schroeder, the incumbent Republican from rural Leipsic, is seeking his fifth term on the board while Tim Wehri, of Kalida, is running as an independent hopeful.
Wehri is a lifelong Putnam County resident who resides in Kalida, where he is engaged in farming. He retired prior to the current school year after a teaching career at Delphos St. John’s High School. He now finds himself with a desire to give back to his community.
“I don’t have any particular agenda,” Wehri said earlier this week. “I don’t have a road that needs fixed or a ditch that needs cleaned.”
Wehri said he has voted both Republican and Democrat throughout his life and opted to file as an independent candidate “although I am very conservative and align myself more closely with the Republican party than I do with the Democrats.”
Wehri listed no specific goals or projects he wants to undertake if elected.
“I just want to promote fiscal responsibility. I want people to see where their money comes from and where it goes. I also think it’s time for a change. The person I’m running against has been there for an awfully long time.”
Schroeder believes his 16 years of experience and his conservative approach to fiscal matters will resonate with voters.
“I really like this job and I enjoy serving the community. I have an interest in maintaining Putnam County as a great place to raise a family,” Schroeder said.
Keeping the county debt-free is a priority for Schroeder, and he pointed to the experience gained by county commissioners in the lean years of 2008 and 2009 as a selling point for his re-election.
“When the economy tanked we had to made cuts. We cut 15% of our budget across-the-board and it worked out pretty good,” the veteran commissioner said. “I can’t take all the credit; the commissioners and other elected official work as a team, and I want to continue that.”
A recently-completed $1.35 million courthouse renovation project, Schroeder said proudly, was completed with funds already on hand and did not put the county in debt.
While Schroeder hinted about possible building projects in the county, he said such information is “kinda confidential” at the present time. “But we (commissioners) do have some ideas on future building projects,” he said.
The bottom line in the current commissioner race, Schroeder said, boils down to experience.
“I would like to thank the people for their support over the last 16 years. I listen to the people and I think I’ve done a pretty good job. I’d like to continue,” he said.
Running unopposed for the Jan. 2 seat is incumbent Michael Lammers. He was first elected in 2016 after defeating then incumbent Travis Jerwers in the Republican primary earlier that year. He and his wife Diane are the owners of Log On Computers.