DARKE COUNTY — Darryl Mehaffie was named “Republican of the Year” at the Darke County GOP Pig Roast held Sunday at the Darke County Fairgrounds.
An active presence in the Republican Party, Mehaffie has held a number of positions, both locally and statewide. He is a retired teacher who taught fifth and sixth grade classes at Northmont Schools in Englewood, Ohio, for 30 years. He is a longtime board member and chair on the Edison State Community College Board of Trustees in Piqua, Ohio, as well as the Ohio Association of Community Colleges.
Mehaffie was recently awarded the William L. Combs Patron of the Arts Award by the Darke County Center for the Arts, of which he is a trustee. He has also served on the Darke County Fair Board, Darke County Historical Society, and the Garst Museum Board of Trustees. He is a member of the Lions Club, Masonic Lodge 141, Scottish Rite and Antioch Shrine, among other community groups.
Statewide, Mehaffie has been a longstanding member of the Ohio GOP Central and Executive Committees. Ohio Governor John Kasich named Mehaffie to the Ohio State Board of Education in January 2013. He served on the board until resigning from the position in June 2014.
Mehaffie received accolades from the many elected Republicans attending the event.
Ohio State Senate President Keith Faber, in announcing Mehaffie as the award recipient, said, “He raised his family in Darke County, lives in Darke County, and is a proud Darke Countian.”
Ohio State Rep. Steve Huffman said, “You could not have a finer person chosen for Republican of the Year.”
Diane Delaplane, Darke County Commissioner, called Mehaffie “a true Republican.”
Darke County Commissioner Mike Stegall added, “I can’t think of anyone more deserving than this.”
Another notable event to take place at the gathering was the announcement that Sen. Faber would seek the 84th District House seat being vacated by Rep. Jim Buchy at the end of 2016.
Faber, who received Buchy’s endorsement for the seat, said, “I’d like to thank Rep. Buchy, Speaker Cliff Rosenberger, and all those who encouraged me for the opportunity to represent this district.”
Faber told the Associated Press that he anticipates running for statewide office in 2018, potentially for auditor or attorney general. Returning to the Ohio House, where he served previously, would allow him to remain active in politics until then.
Darke County Chief Deputy Mark Whittaker spoke to the assemblage on State Issues 2 and 3. State Issue 3 would legalize marijuana in the Buckeye State, and establish 10 state-regulated growing facilities as well as marijuana distribution centers. Issue 2 has been proposed as a preventative amendment against Issue 3.
Whittaker, who opposes Issue 3, said, “[Marijuana advocacy group] ResponsibleOhio has chosen to attempt to fast track the legalization of marijuana in one swift move while other states have typically started with medical marijuana.”
“If Medical Marijuana is beneficial we do not need a change to our constitution to make it legal,” he added. “It can follow the same procedures that all other medications have followed to be approved. There are already procedures in place for this process. There are many proven medications on the market that already meet the needs that marijuana claims to fulfill.”
Whittaker countered ResponsibleOhio claims that law enforcement is wasting resources on pot users.
“The fact is possession of marijuana is typically a minor misdemeanor charge and is NOT an arrestable offense our stats back this up,” he said, noting that of the 124 possession of marijuana charges reported by the Darke County Sheriff’s Office in 2015 to date, there were only 31 bookings into jail on this charge for the same time period.
Also on hand were five contenders for the U.S. House seat being vacated by Rep. John Boehner: State Rep. Tim Derickson, Butler County Auditor Roger Reynolds; State Sen. Bill Beagle; Miami County resident Scott George; and Miami County resident J.D. Winteregg.
Reynolds told The Daily Advocate his campaign has “hit the ground running.”
“I’m running on a record of cutting costs, helping folks at the local level being hurt by big government,” he said.
Winteregg said, “It’s been great meeting people in Darke County, connecting to them, listening to them. We’re all benefiting from the anti-establishment wave.”
George said, “Our campaign is going well and getting organized.”
No Democrats have formally declared their intention to run for the 8th District seat, and Gov. Kasich has yet to announce the dates for the special primary and general elections to fill Boehner’s seat.
An estimated 300 persons attended Sunday’s hog roast, including a great number of local and state Republican politicians.