Voters in Truro Township will choose two trustees Nov. 5 from a field of four candidates seeking election to the township board of trustees.
Incumbents Pat Mahaffey and Chris Long are being challenged by Mack Quesenberry and Joseph Sorenson, respectively.
Mahaffey, 69, is seeking reelection to the seat he's held since 2000. He is a real-estate broker and father of three who is serving as the board's 2019 chairman.
Quesenberry, 59, works as a union representative with United Food and Commercial Workers Local 1059. He is married to Jeni Quesenberry, a Reynoldsburg school board member. They have 15 grandchildren.
Long, 61, is running to keep the seat to which he was appointed in February, after former trustee Stephanie McCloud resigned. Long must win the November election to serve the remainder of the term, which ends Dec. 31, 2021.
He is married with six children and works as the director of client services for the North American division of JAAS Systems Ltd., a manufacturing software company.
Long is being challenged by Sorenson, 40, a Reynoldsburg High School social-studies teacher. Sorenson earned a master's degree in education from Ohio State University and is married with three children.
ThisWeek Reynoldsburg News reached out to the candidates, who were asked to answer three questions about their run for office.
What is the greatest challenge/need facing the township and, if elected, how would you address it?
Mahaffey: Technology is the No. 1 need in my eyes. To enhance our ability to better provide emergency services, we need to stay ahead of the curve in new ways to respond quicker and more efficiently. An Opticom system, which allows our responding vehicles to control the red light in their path, is one of those. No. 2 is collaboration and shared services with other government agencies. We are very proactive in this arena. Together we can apply for and receive government grants and also get better pricing for the cutting-edge technology I alluded to. We need to continue to protect our first responders. Firefighter cancer is a real issue. We have taken steps to provide protective gear and advanced cleaning systems, but we need to make sure we are doing everything we can.
Quesenberry: The completion of the new fire house. When elected, I will work with all parties to see it through.
Long: Priority No. 1 -- complete the new fire Station 161. Working collaboratively with the administration, board of trustees and the new general contractor, insuring the project stays on task and schedule. Continuing a constant focus on the costs associated with the project.
Sorenson: Truro Township firefighters will need a new fire engine. I would start with getting recommendations of the township administrative team and the fire chief in order to make an informed decision. As a trustee, I will be part of a team that will work to complete this goal. We will trust the people around us to create a budget and a plan that ensure our firefighters have only the best equipment. Once complete, my fellow trustees and I will decide on the correct plan we can all agree on, and then together, we will take that plan to the residents of Truro Township. As a teacher, I have a passion to learn new things and educate myself well enough to teach about them. I have also proven that I will reach out to the community for their opinion and share mine as well. This ability to communicate with the public will help in the future when problems or needs for our firefighters arise. I will not hesitate to learn every detail of a situation and reach out to residents and explain just what the township is doing on their behalf.
Are there any township services or facilities that you'd like to see expanded? Changed? Discontinued? If so, which services/facilities and why?
Mahaffey: We need a heated garage for our snowplow and to keep the soil warm that we have removed for a burial. A few years back, townships had their funds from the state reduced, which has placed a burden on what keeps streets and roads maintained. Our only recourse is to apply for grants in order to help us pay for these repairs.
Quesenberry: When I'm elected, I will be able to make a better assessment of anything that the township may need and work diligently with all involved to make any necessary changes.
Long: Completion of the community medic program. The community medic will work to identify citizens in our community who are in need and/or at risk. They will collaborate with local, county and state agencies to introduce those citizens to groups who can provide the help needed.
Sorenson: At this time, I do not see a need to expand or contract any services provided by the township. I do wish to keep my options open because as the township changes, the needs of the residents may become different. I will be an employee of the people; it will be my job to go out and seek the opinions of the residents. If enough of them see a need for a change, I will have to bring it forward to the other trustees and township administration.
The trustees recently voted to join the Mid-Ohio Regional Planning Commission. If elected, how would you work to build partnerships with surrounding municipalities and community stakeholders?
Mahaffey: I am the chairman of the MECC Regional Council of Governments. This is a quasi-government organization formed by Plain, Mifflin, Violet, Jefferson and Truro townships. This agency is designed to provide shared services, thereby providing us the ability to purchase top-of-the-line equipment and services while saving money. Currently, we have six partners for emergency dispatching and 15 Emergency Management Services partners. Later this year, we will be adding 75 partners to share in IT services. The potential for this organization is unlimited. Insurance and even supplies are on the horizon.
Quesenberry: The goal of MORPC is improving the lives of central Ohio residents. When elected, I will work hard along with the other trustees to utilize every aspect of this partnership that would benefit all the residents of Truro Township.
Long: Our need for collaboration goes well beyond just MORPC. We must continue to build collaborative relationships with the county engineer's office, county commissioners, MORPC and our neighboring fire departments. County engineer -- shared services. When possible, utilize engineering services for projects. County commissioners -- communicating needs of the township during the budget process. MORPC -- collaboration insuring best practices are followed for the future of the township. Shared services when preparing grant applications. Neighboring fire departments -- continuing to build on the existing teamwork on delivering services.
Sorenson: I have made this topic a campaign promise and have told every voter I have spoken to that it is my goal to spend quality time creating partnerships I otherwise could not make as a teacher or citizen to expand current services or bring new ones to the township for its residents. Also, as a teacher, I have had the wonderful opportunity to educate students and build relationships with many different community stakeholders. I also work closely with community stakeholders of the surrounding municipalities. Lastly, I have spent the last year knocking on as many doors as possible and having wonderful conversations with residents of Truro Township. Some of these conversations have led to great contacts and ideas that I look forward to start working on that will make Truro Township a better place to live for all of us.
In addition to the trustee race, township fiscal officer Natalie Nicodemus is seeking reelection but is running unopposed.