The Athens County League of Women Voters hosted a Meet the Candidate forum for the Dover Township trustee candidates. Of the six candidates, only Weston Lombard and Stuart Neal were able to participate.
When contacted by The Messenger, Mark Sanders explained that he was on a preplanned vacation at the time and John Snyder stated he is ill. Danny Brown and Harold Sycks did not return comment by press time.
Lombard, a lifelong resident of Dover Township, runs a farm and education center on Liar's Corner Road. He has experience in grant writing, organizing various festivals that include the Pawpaw festival, and other business experience which he hopes to use in the position.
Neal is a current first-term Dover Township Trustee and Marine Corps veteran. He retired as an executive plant manager with Tier 1 Automotive Supplier and attended Michigan State and Wayne State universities.
Both candidates mentioned the economic need in the township. Lombard focused on the lack of opportunity — both economic and recreational — while Neal brought up the labor shortage in the area.
Lombard wants to help engage residents in agriculture to help families feed their families and learn how to "get their hands dirty."
"I'd love to see some public farm-parks that are both recreational and have economic and nutrition benefits for the population," said Lombard. "I could see parks going in Chauncey and Millfield supplying fresh food to local convenient stores and food pantries."
To help solve the labor shortage, Neal proposed reaching out to local unemployment offices, meeting with the prosecutors office to discuss possible programs, more advertising for open positions and possible changes to the wage scale.
On the topic of road and intersection improvements, Neal brought up the link to the labor shortage, saying a full work force would help keep them clear and safe. Keeping plugged in to grant opportunities is also a focus Neal mentioned.
"If we can stabilize our work fore and have more employees out there trimming and clearing these roadways, we can implement road schedules and priorities if we have a full workforce," said Neal.
Focusing on identifying problem areas on local road through surveys and input from those driving in the area could help fix road issues according to Lombard.
When asked what they would like to see township American Rescue Plan funds used for, both candidates stressed the importance of stronger broadband infrastructure for various. Greater opportunities for those already in the area and the draw of connect-ability could encourage people to move to the townships.
"I'm wondering how many Dover Township residents are going to be able to watch this even, being live on Facebook," said Lombard.
Neal also hopes to use ARP funds assist in road resurfacing.