James Welch was sworn in as a Blendon Township trustee on Monday, June 28, filling the seat left vacant by the death of longtime trustee Jerry Ward in April.

James Welch was sworn in as a Blendon Township trustee on Monday, June 28, filling the seat left vacant by the death of longtime trustee Jerry Ward in April.

Franklin County Judge Alan Acker selected Welch from among the five applicants who expressed interest in filling the position. Trustees Stew Flaherty and Jan Heichel turned the choice over to Acker two weeks ago after they narrowed the list to Welch and Liz Ward, Jerry Ward's widow.

Flaherty said Acker interviewed all five candidates by phone before announcing his choice via email on June 24.

Welch, 44, has been a resident of Blendon Township for 11 years. He is president of the Huber Area Association and was co-chairman of Fight the Hike Ohio, leading residents' protests against water rate increases proposed by Ohio American Water.

Welch said that, at this point, he does plan to run for re-election in Nov. 2011.