Ray AcraEthan DoleUrbano GalindoRyan GrubbsMichael L. MainsRandy L. shank

City council candidates speak up

On Tuesday, May 2, the people of Harrison have the opportunity to vote for city council candidates in the republican primary. There are 4 seats up for grabs with all four incumbents running with two others running against them. In order to best inform the people of Harrison, The Harrison Press is giving the citizens a chance to learn more about the different candidates. Each candidate has submitted a letter answering three questions. They state their position, why they are the best person for the job, and what they view as problems and their solutions 

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Ray Acra

I am married to Debbie Acra and have three sons - Sam, Eric, and Mark. 

Employment: Comey and Shepherd Realtor and owner of Whitewater River Trading Post. Former employment Hamilton County Recorders Office and Hamilton County Auditors Office 

Office sought: Harrison City Council Public office experience: Harrison City Council, Harrison Planning Commission, City of Harrison and Harrison Township Republican Ward Chairman, Harrison Republican Precinct Executive, Harrison Civil Service Commission, Harrison Charter Review Committee, Public Service Experience: Harrison City Council, 23 year employee Hamilton County Auditor and Hamilton County Recorders Office, Former Director Hamilton County Republican Club, Served the Harrison Republican Party 1979 until present 

State your platform: 

Improve city services. Improve our city parks. Stream line our government while improving quality and professionalism. 

Why are you the best candidate for the job? 

When I became a member of council we were understaffed in our Police Department, Fire Department, and Street and Utility Department. Our Community Center had buckets in the hallways to catch water when raining. The roofs of two buildings in our oldest park were falling in. The roof on the City Garage on Thomas Lane had a hole in it big enough for animals to climb in. Our parks were in terrible shape. The City of Harrison and the Harrison Township Trustees relationship was so caustic the Building and Lands Committee had not met in years. Considering we are co-owners of the Community Center that situation had to change. 

I helped change all of that. I came up with the plan to reorganize our Building Department and Economic Development Department, consolidating them, decreasing cost while increasing service. I requested the Building and Lands Committee because it offered the greatest chance of major improvement. 

I spearheaded every improvement so far with our parks including the creation of our new River Park. I was the only Council Member who knew it was our Village Parks 200th birthday in 2017 because of my love of Harrison history. 

I pushed for parking at the park on Thomas Lane. After being a park for nearly 60 years there is now a place to park. 

I have pushed for improvements for the park in the Country View Subdivisions. Some running for this position didn’t know the park existed. Considering they were serving as council members for years that speaks volumes. This year that park will be improved. 

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving and what will you propose as solutions? 

I will continue working to strengthen our historic downtown, improve our parks and make our city a better and safer place to live. I will continue to work to find new innovative ways to increase city services and raise revenue without increasing taxes whenever possible. 

As the citizens head to polls I would like them to consider the following. A council committee is where you go to talk about work you have done and work you are going to do. Sooner or later some tangible evidence that you have been on the job should appear. 

I try and do work for the City of Harrison every day and if returned to office will continue trying to make Harrison the best city it can be. 

We should all dream for better parks and better schools, the creation of new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. Those who silently live their lives working and waiting for something better to happen while supporting their families deserve a government always pushing forward to create the city their hard earned money is supporting. 

Our goals as a city cannot be accomplished by any one person but I will continue to work as if the future of this city rest on my shoulders alone. When I get frustrated or tired I will draw strength from my love of the City of Harrison. 

 

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Ethan Dole

Political Party: Republican 

Employment: Project Manager/Civil Engineer for Miami University & Harrison City Council Member 

Office Sought: Harrison City Council 

Public Office Experience: Harrison City Council 2016-2017 

Public Service Experience: City of Harrison Board of Zoning Appeals 2015 

State your platform: 

I am a fiscally responsible Republican. In my next term I would like to concentrate on improving the quality of services that the City provides to its Citizens while keeping the City in a solid fiscal standing. 

I am a lifelong Harrison area resident with deep rooted family ties in the community. My family has been in Harrison since the 1830’s. Many members of my family have had the honor of serving this City, and I would like to continue this legacy. I love Harrison and I want to make sure that the growth of our City is properly governed to maintain the high quality of life that we currently enjoy as well as improving the conditions in some of the areas of the City where the growth was not properly governed in the past. 

Why are you the best candidate for the office: 

I feel that my intimate knowledge of the history of the area coupled with my education and industry experience as a Civil Engineer and Construction Project Manager make me a valuable asset to the City of Harrison. In my current capacity as a Council member, and as the Chairman of the Streets Committee, Utilities Committee, Environmental Solid Waste Committee, and Storm water Committee I feel that my education and construction industry experience enable me to make better and more informed decisions on behalf of the City in regards to the work of these committees than any of the other candidates. 

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving, and what will you propose as solutions: 

The primary issues that I would like to concentrate on solving in my next term all involve improving the quality of services that the City provides to its Citizens. 

As Chairman of the Streets Committee since the first of the year I have helped facilitate and expedite the paving of New Haven Road from Edgewood Rd to the City Corporation limits near The Parks of Whitewater Subdivision. We will also be seeing a complete reconstruction of South Sycamore and a large portion of Etta Ave this summer. 

Both of these projects were badly needed as the service life of the existing roads had come to an end. I would like to help ensure that as citizens of this City we do not have to traverse roads of this condition in the future. 

My main focus as the Chairman of the Streets Committee will be taking an active role in prioritizing road construction projects in the future based on condition and traffic volume. I also want to work to make sure that we are holding developers accountable for their projects before they are accepted by the City so that residents are not getting stuck with their mistakes. We can do this by working with our Building and Zoning departments to do a more thorough review of development plans and by conducting more thorough inspections of infrastructure prior to the city accepting developments into City maintenance. 

There are many roads in the City of Harrison that have outlived their service life and I want to see them improved to improve our quality of life. 

As Chairman of the Environmental Solid Waste Committee I have worked to increase the City recycling rate and I have collected nearly $20,000 from the Hamilton County Residential Recycling Incentive Program by continuing our involvement and submitting grant applications. I am currently working with Councilwoman Abrams to get our “Keep Harrison Beautiful Program” up and running. 

As Chairman of the Storm Water Committee since the first of the year we have instituted two storm water drainage projects which will solve street flooding problems on Fawn Drive and on Biddle Avenue that have plagued these two city neighborhoods for years but were never previously addressed. 

As Chairman of the Utilities Committee I have been working with our Utilities Director to look at the most cost effective ways to deliver softer water to our citizens, and how to more efficiently operate our wastewater treatment plant. 

With your Vote I can continue this work! 

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Urbano Galindo

 Political Party: Republican

Employment: Hill-Rom Senior Logistics Manager-Americas 

Office Sought: Harrison City Council

Public Office Experience: No prior public office experience

Public Service Experience: Over 21 years in the United States Air Force

State your platform. 

Good old fashion common sense. Don’t spend more than you make. If you make a promise to the community, then you better have a plan in place to deliver on your promise. I do not see myself as a politician so I am not sure to how address a platform with a politically correct response so, I will leave the platforms up to the politicians. I will tell you this if I give you my word it means something to me. I believe in integrity, accountability and service before self. After 21 years in the USAF I have for the first time in my life the ability to make a choice of where to live and work. I have chosen Harrison, OH because it lines up with our family’ ideals and beliefs. Below are a few bullets that I care about deeply:

• Maintain our core values as a community—Growth is coming to Harrison whether we believe it or not. Harrison will be better or worse, but it will not be the same. We need to make a deliberate decision today to make sure we are securing our way of life tomorrow. William Pollard states, “Without change there is no innovation, creativity, or incentive for improvement. Those who initiate change will have a better opportunity to manage the change that is inevitable.” As a community we can direct our narrative instead of reacting to change around us. 

• Manage Change (Growth) strategically—Define our goal as a city and provide a 3, 5, and 10-year roadmaps to get us to our vision. In order to attract the right business partners, we need to insure that we have the infrastructure in place so we can accommodate growth. This does not mean that we have to spend freely. 

• Sourcing Excellence—Implement best practices regarding service contracts and sourcing activities to leverage Harrison’s spend to ensure we are taking advantage of market conditions. How do we leverage these opportunities to lock up costs over the projects? Can we incentivize our contracts to come in on time and under budget? 

Why are you the best candidate for the office?

Wisdom comes from experiences and I have been blessed to live abroad most of my life (28 Countries) as a result of serving my country. I have had to deliver results in very difficult situations and in dangerous environments. During my 21-year military career I have been trained, mentored and led organizations and people to achieve results that were much larger than individual goals. Service before self is a way of life not a motto. I will bring this ethos with me every day to help Harrison become a model community in Southwest Ohio. I am a Christian Leader, a Global Manager and Military Retiree who understands Strategic Vision and how to execute those visions or plans into a working process. As a community, we must manage change while still holding on to our core values. This is something that we cannot afford to lose. We need to invest strategically to attract sustainable businesses that will partner with our community. I will work together with my peers to deliver win-win solutions for the residents of Harrison. I have a track record of success in business and government sector, that deliver results. I will bring all of my talents and gifts to the City Council so Harrison succeeds. 

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving and will you propose as solutions

This a very difficult question to answer because a primary issue I may see today could change or not be as big of an issue tomorrow. Stephen Covey says, “Seek first to understand, then to be understood”, I am a firm believer that before you change a process or allocate resources to it you first need to understand what is the root cause for the issue if there is one. When you apply continuous improvement principals to an issue you want to make sure that you are in fact addressing the fundamental problem. If you do not do this, you can waste valuable resources and time. Once we discover the root causes then we can systematically address the problem and put workable solutions in place. I believe we should implement a culture of Continuous Improvement to eliminate waste. We should also make a clear distinction between mandatory and discretionary spending and how that affects our return on investments as a community. I place a high level of priority regarding being financially responsible so we can become better stewards of Harrison’s resources. 

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Ryan Grubbs

 Political party: Republican

Employment: US Bank, Branch Manager/Business Development Officer

Office sought: Council Member at Large

Public office experience: Council Member, January 2014 – Present. 

I have served on the following Committees of Council:

Finance, Economic Development, Police, Fire, Civil Defense, Streets, Utilities, Personnel, and Recreation. I am also currently the City Liason which is responsible for interacting with surrounding Townships and Counties. 

Public service experience: I served on the Board of Zoning Appeals.

State your platform:

As a city council member the goal will be to continue to provide the excellent essential city services our community has come to expect from our Police, Fire, Streets, and Utility Departments. 

It will also be incredibly important to have a forward focus in regards to Economic Development to manage growth in Harrison. The goal will be to draw good retail, office, and light industrial business into Harrison that will provide excellent community partnerships, jobs, tax base, and professionalism that Harrison deserves. 

While providing the essential services and managing the growth, it will be important to keep the charm we all seek in Our Community. Working with the Recreation Department, Chamber of Commerce, and other religious and community organizations to bring events and activities that draw us all together. When friendship, involvement, and belonging are part of our community it will push out many of the bad parts that creep in. 

Why are you the best candidate for the office?

• I received my degree from Ohio State University 

• I have 19 years’ experience in Consumer & Commercial Banking, Business Development

• I have one term as a City Council Member

• Fourth Generation Community Member

The education, experience, and ability to listen to and learn from community members and work with all city leaders are why I feel I would be best as your City Councilman. 

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving, and what will you propose as solutions?

With the excellent essential service department managers we have in place and the staff that each manages, it makes it easier to focus on how and where Harrison grows. Dealing with residential growth, limited real estate for new commercial development, and how existing residents and businesses evolve are concerns and a focus. We are currently in the process of completing a new and updated Master Plan for our City and we hope to confront and cutoff many of these concerns. This Community Master Plan process will involve all aspects of our community; business owners, religious leaders, township leaders, and our residents.

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Michael L. Mains

 Political Party: Republican

Employment: Senior Software Developer at Bruel & Kjaer, North America

Office Sought: Harrison City Council

Public Office Experience: No prior public office experience

Public Service Experience: For the past 13 years, I have served as the lead volunteer with the Upward Sports Ministry at Legacy Christian Church. The Upward program serves approximately 200 children each fall and winter season. Upward provides a quality sports and ministry experience to children via soccer, basketball and cheerleading. I have also served as an Elder at Legacy Christian Church for the past five years. I have been a vocal and active supporter of keeping the Doug Dunaway Motocross and ATV park open as a valuable, unique recreation asset for the city.

State your platform. 

My platform is to ensure Harrison continues to remain the great city in which we live. I will focus on maintaining the city’s fiscally responsible budget, improve the recreational opportunities for Harrison’s youth, and ensure that the city keeps its high standard for quality streets, public utilities and emergency services.

Why are you the best candidate for the office? 

I am the best candidate for Harrison City Council because I am fit, capable and honest. I am ready to serve you on Harrison City Council.

I have been a member of the Harrison Community for 40 years. After graduating from William Henry Harrison High School, as Salutatorian, in 1985, I joined the Ohio Army National Guard. I served for 6 years in an Infantry Scout platoon, finishing my career as a squad leader and earning the rank of Sargent, E-5. In 1990, I completed my Bachelor of Science degree in Mechanical Engineering and stayed at the University of Cincinnati for two more years as a Research Assistant. I completed my Master’s Degree in 1994.

For the past 13 years, I have worked as a Senior Software Developer for Bruel & Kjaer, North America. I am an active member of the Society of Experimental Mechanics (SEM), chairing the Modal Analysis and Dynamic Systems Technical Division and serving on the Executive Board.

I am a Christian and an active member of Legacy Christian Church, where I serve as an Elder and for the past 13 years served as a Director, Coach and Referee of the Upward Sports Program. Upward is a uniquely designed sports experience that develops the total athlete mentally, athletically, spiritually, and socially.

I run 12-20 miles per week. This will be my 8th year participating in the Cincinnati Flying Pig Half Marathon. I am #FitToBeOnCouncil!

In 1989, I married my high school sweetheart, Willisa Redford. During our 27 years of marriage, I have been the father to four children. Two are WHHHS graduates, with a third graduating from WHHHS this spring and a fourth attending the Junior High School. 

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving and will you propose as solutions? 

As a city council member, the primary issue that I will focus on is pursuing grant funding for recreational activities for the city. Specifically, I would apply for a Recreational Trails Program grant that would provide funding to improve and maintain the trails at the community center, the new river park and the Motocross and ATV park.

Our current mayor and council have done a commendable job at ensuring that we have the finest emergency services and quality roads and public services. I will work with the mayor and council to continue to improve the services that are vital to a thriving city.

I plan to work cooperatively with other council members and the various city committees to determine what can be done to retain existing businesses and attract new business. I see this being done most effectively by reducing red tape, city ordinances, zoning restrictions and taxes. Businesses run best when government gets out of their way.

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Randy L. Shank

Political Party: Republican

Employment: Shank & Company. CPA

City of Harrison as a Councilman

Office sought: Harrison City Council at large

Public Service experience: This is my 16th year as a Harrison City Councilman, I have served on every committee except planning. I have served in Lake County Ohio as a Budget Analyst, also, I am a former Instructor at the University of Cincinnati, Cincinnati State College, and Great Oaks.

State your platform:

I am a conservative, pro-business elected official who has worked very hard to establish Harrison as a destination for those wishing to purchase homes and move here, and as a destination employer for our police, EMS, Street, and Office workers in the City, all while balancing 16 budgets and creating a city with more solutions than problems. Our success rate is that we are the fastest growing, most desirable location in Hamilton County.

Why are you the best candidate for the office: 

I am seeking re-election and am currently in my 16th year as your Harrison City Councilman. I have created revenue streams for the city that have allowed us to remain one of the lowest municipal tax rates in the State of Ohio. Full Police and Fire and EMS Departments that provide for our safety, as well as the fact that while we have balanced the budgets all these years, we have paved more streets in my 10 years as Streets Committee Chairman at greater savings, than any previous 10 year period of the city’s history.

What primary issues will you concentrate on solving and what will you propose as solutions:

The largest issue facing Harrison is the drug problem that faces all of America. Our approach to this endemic is to hire police and ems officers and equip them to do the job. Going hand-in-hand with the solution to this problem is how to pay for it . Bringing my experience as a CPA to bear has saved this city millions of dollars over my 16 years as your Councilman. We will continue to find ways to pave streets, and provide safety services to our citizens and establish more stringent financial controls to continue to bolster our credit rating.

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