DARKE COUNTY — A local business owner is hoping to do his part to make Darke County more prosperous by seeking election to the Darke County Board of Commissioners in November 2018.
To do so, John Kennedy of New Madison, Ohio, is collecting petition signatures, enabling him to run in the May 8, 2018, Republican Primary Election for the seat currently held by incumbent County Commissioner Mike Stegall, who is seeking election to a third term.
As he sat down to speak with The Daily Advocate, he said he has about 20 more signatures to gather before he can file his candidacy with the Darke County Board of Elections.
Kennedy is the owner of The Beanery on Broadway coffee shop (formerly Brenda’s Beanery) in Greenville, as well as Kennedy Vineyard, Big Rack Brewery and the Darke County Moonshine Company in New Madison.
“I’ve got you covered from morning til night,” he said.
A four-year U.S. Navy veteran and a former Ohio State Police Officer, Kennedy’s current “day job” is an investigator/marketing director for a law firm in Columbus, Ohio.
Asked why he’s seeking election to the board, Kennedy said, “Darke County has always held a special place in my heart.”
“It’s one of the best places to live in the country, and I’ve lived all over the world,” he said. “Every time I come back here, I’m a different person, a different feeling — it’s just unbelievable. I want to share that passion with the entire county.”
Economic development in the county, particularly the establishment of small businesses, will be emphasized if Kennedy is elected.
“Small business is a huge, huge concern of mine and I want small businesses to have every opportunity to succeed like the big corporations do,” he said. “If somebody has an idea to start a small business in Darke County, I want the doors to be open, arms to be open, and not met with a bunch of rigmarole or red tape.”
He added, “With recent events in the county, fiscal responsibility, to me, is very key. Things should be done with the concern, ‘Is this good for Darke County? Is this good as a whole for everyone? Will this make Darke County a better place?’”
Kennedy cites recent improvements to the Darke County Airport, related road construction around the airport, and the failure of November’s countywide communications levy to purchase MARCS radios as instances in which things might have been handled differently by the current board.
“I think the MARCS system should have been funded with the money already set aside for it,” he said. “I’m a former military fire fighter and a former police officer. Paramedics, fire fighters, police officers — any first responder in the county — if they need something, they should have it.”
Regarding the airport improvements, Kennedy said, “I’ve seen many people complain about the way the road was closed, I’ve seen where the cul-de-sac was put in. It’s creating havoc for the residents that live there. I think that could have been done better.”
“I’m a pilot, I love to fly. A strong airport is key to business, but it shouldn’t take precedence over other things that need to be done,” he added.
Kennedy stressed his belief that every voice among Darke County residents should be heard.
“If somebody wants something done or needs something done, then we as county commissioners should do everything in our power to see if it’s doable,” he said. “We need more emphasis on making Darke County a place where people want to come and bring business. We don’t grow as a community, we don’t grow as anything if small businesses go out of business.”
For more information on Kennedy’s campaign, search for his “John Kennedy” Facebook page.
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