Three candidates have filed petitions with the Licking County Board of Elections for a seat on the board of county commissioners in the May 4 primary.

Three candidates have filed petitions with the Licking County Board of Elections for a seat on the board of county commissioners in the May 4 primary.

Incumbent Republican Doug Smith, whose term runs through Dec. 31, has filed, along with Democrat Naomi Mattingly Compton and Libertarian James Snedden Jr.

Compton, an Alexandria resident, filed her petition Jan. 21.

"I've been asked by lots of different people on both sides of the aisle to consider running for commissioner," Compton said. "The last year-and-a-half, that pressure has increased. Things seemed to fall in place the past 12 to 14 months."

Compton sees the top three issues in Licking County as jobs, development of the economy and job-related education, she said.

"We have the same issues in the county as the rest of Ohio in being hit by unemployment and lack of jobs," she said. "We can't continue to base our economy on selling farmland and doing residential construction on it."

Smith touts his government experience as a major asset.

"In addition to serving as an incumbent commissioner since July 2005, my experience includes 26 years as a Harrison Township trustee and owner of a small business over the past 36 years, uniquely qualifying me for the office," he said.

Compton said that as a lifelong Licking County resident, she has a deep understanding of how people feel.

"This is a large, complex county, and we need to understand how to best integrate the needs and wants of everyone to provide the best management services," she said.

Compton said open communication between the public and commissioners is important to her.

"It would be my job to interact with the people of the county on all levels," she said. "I look forward to a good primary and general election."

Compton helped found Ed Compton Construction Inc. in 2000 and has worked full time with the company since 2002, managing the budget, billing, payroll, marketing and client retention.

She currently serves as a citizen-at-large representative on the Licking County Transit Board and served from 2003 to 2009 on Alexandria Village Council.

Smith and his late wife formed Doug Smith Realty & Auction Co. in the early 1970s, specializing in the sale of estates, homes and land. Their sons continue in the family business as licensed real estate agents and auctioneers.

"Any success attained in public service has been a reflection of the successes of my colleagues and is shared with them," Smith told ThisWeek. "I'm a leader, a consensus builder, a problem solver and a good steward of Licking County's assets.

"Since 2005, our board has positioned the county to be better prepared for this difficult financial environment. We've addressed a number of capital improvement projects which had been in need of attention for years. Human services, public safety and highway projects and other essential services received priority funding from this board."

Smith said the commissioners have been effective and efficient in handling the affairs of county government for its citizens, and he would be honored to serve four more years as commissioner.

Snedden, of Eden Township, has an unpublished phone number and could not be reached for comment.

Nathan McMann and Ed Martin also took out petitions but had not filed as of Jan. 29. The deadline to file is Feb. 18.