The Canal Winchester Times

Fairfield County commissioner

Incumbent Davis being challenged by Bailey

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The economy and public safety are among issues Republican Steven Davis and Democrat Reed Bailey say they'll tackle head-on if elected to a seat on the Fairfield County Board of Commissioners.

Davis, 48, is an attorney. The Republican was appointed county commissioner in January 2011.

Bailey, 59, is a Democrat and self-employed information-technology professional.

They will square-off in the Nov. 6 general election.

The two are competing for a seat vacated by former commissioner Jon Myers.

The race marks Bailey's first shot at public office.

Bailey, a resident of Bloom Township since 1991 and who previously lived for nine years in Canal Winchester in Franklin County, has a grown son.

Bailey has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering from Ohio State University, as well as a master's degree in business administration from Capital University.

The former co-owner and business manager of a veterinarian hospital said he understands the challenges faced by businesses -- particularly small businesses -- in the current economy.

Bailey also said he seeks to bring a new spirit of cooperation and collaboration to county government.

"I don't care for the way Republicans are managing our county," Bailey said.

"What I want to do is crusade for people in the county through communication, cooperation, collaboration and moving forward."

Davis has lived his entire life in Lancaster, where he currently practices law in addition to serving as a county commissioner.

He is married to Lois, his wife of 18 years, and has two sons.

The only time Davis hasn't lived in Lancaster was during his college years.

He obtained a degree in Russian language from the University of Arizona before earning a law degree at the University of Texas School of Law.

In addition to his appointment as a commissioner, Davis was a Lancaster city councilman from 1995 to spring 2004. He served three years as that council's president.

He also was chairman of the Fairfield County Republican Party from 2004 to 2011.

Davis said he initially sought a commissioner's seat because he thought he could address some county problems. He said he believes he's done that.

Davis cited when he helped bring attention to the need for a levy for the Fairfield County Historical Parks last spring, and when he and fellow commissioners voted to add 100 beds at the Fairfield County Jail to reduce costs related to housing prisoners outside the county as examples.

"I thought I could get involved, be helpful and get things done," Davis said. "Turns out, I was right and I'd like to continue."

As for issues currently facing the county, Davis said aggressive recruitment of new businesses and retention of existing ones is his top priority for Fairfield County.

He also said he is committed to assisting law enforcement with the fight against opiate-based and other drugs, which is evidenced by his commitment to the "Summer Scrap" program, which last summer involved a round-up of approximately 20 wanted felons.

Additionally, he said the county must address the overcrowding issue at the county jail by identifying funds and strategies for building a new facility.

To that end, he supports using revenue from Ohio's new casinos to build a reserve for a jail project.

"We're going to begin building a kitty of about $1.5 million a year toward that project," Davis said.

"If we don't do that plan, we'll just argue about it for another 14 years and the problem will just get worse," he said.

"As a lawyer, I've been solving problems for people for about 20 years. That's basically what elected officials should be doing."

Bailey said he wants to ensure the commissioners provide enough resources for the Fairfield County Sheriff's Office to combat crime and what he said is rising drug abuse.

He also wants to improve communications with county residents and provide more information about the services that the sheriff's office and other county departments provide.

Further, Bailey said he supports launching a study in partnership with the Fairfield County Engineer's Office to examine possible traffic safety upgrades U.S. Route 33 intersections with Pickerington, Carroll-Southern and Sugar Grove roads.

"Route 33 is a high-speed road and people don't get stopped (at those intersections)," Bailey said. "This gets into long-term planning.

"I want to work with the county engineers to get (state and federal grants) to improve safety on that highway," Bailey said.

"You'll then get the side benefit that it's more efficient.

"These are the types of infrastructure that made America great," Bailey said.

"By maintaining and improving them, we can keep America great."

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