Wednesday, December 31, 2003

West Chester Twp. trustee to run for commissioner

By Steve Kemme
The Cincinnati Enquirer

HAMILTON - West Chester Township Trustee Catherine Stoker, a Democrat who has been a vocal critic of Butler County government spending practices, will compete for the seat of county commissioner held by Mike Fox.

A primary election is one way for the major political parties to allow members to sort out their candidates for the general election.

The primary election is also a time for voters to decide local questions and issues.

The primary election in Ohio this year is March 2.

You may take a ballot with just Republican candidates, just Democrats, or a ballot with just issues. The ballots for candidates contain the issues to be voted on in your community.

Under Ohio law, your party affiliation is determined by your participation in a party's primary election.

Voter registration deadline for the primary is Feb. 2.

She will run in next year's general election against either Fox or Ohio State Rep. Greg Jolivette.

Jolivette is challenging Fox for the GOP nomination in the March primary.

Stoker, who has been a West Chester Township trustee for 10 years, said she would be the watchdog commissioner that the Republican-dominated county government badly needs.

"The commissioners just keep spending and spending the taxpayers' money, whether they have the money or not," Stoker said. "I think that happens because they have no oversight. Important decisions are being made by a few people and are not being discussed in public."

Stoker, who was defeated four years ago by Chuck Furmon for a commissioner's seat, conceded that as a Democrat in a heavily Republican county, she faces an uphill battle no matter whether she faces Fox or Jolivette in the election.

"I'm very much the underdog in this race," she said.

Fox disputed Stoker's accusations that the county engages in wasteful spending. He said Butler County is one of the lowest per-capita spending counties in Ohio.

By contrast, he said, West Chester has one of the highest per-capita tax rates in Ohio.

"If there's an expert on spending, Catherine's it," Fox said.

Fox said that if he wins the primary, his campaign will focus on his accomplishments and plans for the county, not on Stoker.

"There's a lot at stake in this election," he said.


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