For trustee Dave Ferguson, a desire to bring "business sense" to the Ohio General Assembly is his stated motivation to seek public office outside of Plain Township.
"I really felt like we need more businesspeople in the Statehouse, not career politicians," Ferguson said.
Ferguson is one of three candidates certified to run in the May 8 Republican primary election for the 19th Ohio House District, which covers the cities of Westerville, Gahanna and New Albany; Blendon, Plain, Mifflin and Sharon townships; the village of Minerva Park; and parts of Columbus.
Two Democrats are running on the other side of the ticket. The deadline for independent candidates to file is May 7 and for write-ins is Aug. 27, according to the 2018 election schedule posted on the Franklin County Board of Elections website.
If Ferguson, a New Albany resident, were to advance to the Nov. 6 general election and win, that would mean Plain Township would have a new face at trustee for the first time since April 2012, when Tom Rybski was appointed to replace Bud Zappitelli, who became fiscal officer.
Ferguson has served as a trustee for more than a decade, and he is in the first year of a four-year term that concludes in 2021.
According to Ohio Revised Code, the other two trustees, Dave Olmstead and Rybski, would appoint someone should Ferguson be elected as state representative, Olmstead said.
After the township advertises the opportunity, the trustees would hold either a regular or special meeting based on time to review submitted resumes, Olmstead said. An appointed replacement would have to run for re-election in the fall 2019 general election, he said.
Ben Collins, the township administrator, said the township would wait and see what happens with the election.
The 19th District seat is up for grabs because state Rep. Anne Gonzales (R-Westerville) is term-limited. She is finishing her fourth and final two-year term as the district representative after entering office in 2010.
Ferguson is the only major-party candidate who lives in New Albany. The other four in the field are Westerville residents: Republicans Tim Barhorst and Chris Curry and Democrats Noni Banks and Mary Lightbody.
None of the others appear to be current public-office holders for local governments.
Ferguson, who is employed with American Electrical Power as managing director of transmission financial services and has worked for AEP for 18 years, said he is running because special-interest groups are developing and influencing too many pieces of legislation.
Ferguson said the issues that matter to him include reducing taxes, addressing local control of education standards, evaluating regulatory issues to make it easier for businesses to expand, supporting U.S. veterans and first responders and combatting opioid addiction.