Apr 18, 2022
WARREN — Two of the three Republican candidates seeking to replace longtime Trumbull County Commissioner Frank Fuda, a Democrat, say their goals, if elected, will be to make sure the county works effectively for residents — and not to focus on confrontation.
Rick “Hern” Hernandez, Denny Malloy and Christina Lee are seeking the Republican nomination.
Hernandez and Malloy outlined their goals for the county during interviews with the newspaper. Lee chose not to participate in interviews with the newspaper’s editorial board and did not submit a candidate questionnaire.
Both Hernandez and Malloy emphasized they will be able to work with both commissioners Mauro Cantalamessa, a Democrat, and Niki Frenchko, a Republican, during the next term.
They said they believe the office does not have to be filled with continuous confrontation and acrimony.
“I think Commissioner Frenchko wants to get things done,” Hernandez, 60, said. “I know there is a perception of the ‘good ol’ boys’ in the office. They owe favors to a lot of people. However, I don’t think running around with a camera recording everyone is a good idea.”
Hernandez is a Hubbard Township trustee.
Malloy, 52, emphasized some of the ideas being expressed by Frenchko would be supported, if anyone else was proposing them.
“Sometimes, it is the messenger,” he said. “I fully believe in transparency.”
Malloy ran an independent campaign to become commissioner in 2020 and received nearly 42 percent of the vote in a campaign against incumbent Cantalamessa.
This time around, Malloy decided to fully embrace the idea of running as a Republican.
“I have had differences with the direction of the national Democratic Party for a long time,” he said. “I dipped my toes in the water last time by running as an independent. I’m fully embracing running as a Republican in this race.”
Malloy said he realized that his beliefs are closer to those espoused by the Republican Party than the Democratic Party.
“I still have beliefs of a Kennedy-era Democrat,” he said. “I don’t believe in the direction of the party today. I think if a lot of people would truly examine their views, they also would rethink party loyalties.”
Hernandez has been passionate in his fight against injection wells that can leach toxic and carcinogenic chemical into water. Hernandez said the county has the highest number of operating injection wells in the state.
“I will not allow our county to become a dumping ground for out-of-state trash,” Hernandez said.
He said he’ll work with public groups against the injection wells, and address current lax zoning regulations on placement of these operations.
“For 20 years, I have been fighting landfills being placed in Hubbard Township,” Hernandez said. He was one of the founding members of of the Hubbard Environmental Leadership Group.
“I’ve had an opportunity to work with a lot of political figures, including Democrats, Republicans and independents to stave off injection wells on township properties,” he said.
Hernandez expects to be able to work with commissioners and people working with them — even if they sometimes have differing opinions.
Being self-employed and a member of a band, Hernandez described learning how to work with people and said he will bring those skills to the commissioners office.
“I do have a lot of negotiation skills with the public and private sectors,” Hernandez said.
If elected, Hernandez said he will work to bring conclusions to long-overdue sanitary sewer, water and natural gas projects.
“We really need to work on the septic-to-sewer situation,” Hernandez said. “This is 2022, not 1822.”
“Raw sewage is causing public health hazards in many area townships,” he noted. “I will look to utilize American Rescue Plan Act money, federal and state grants, and any other available means to secure funds for studies and infrastructure for installing necessary tie-ins to sanitary sewer facilities.”
“We should use use ARP money to do a study to determine how to address this,” he said. “We have to get money and work with Eastgate (Council of Governments) to get some grant money. The state has withheld a billion of dollars of rainy-day funds. We should use some of that money to address toxic environmental problems.”
Hernandez would like the county to work with the Ohio Public Utilities Commission to get money to run water and sewer lines to residents and get roads repaved and resurfaced.
“Departments should work together whenever it is possible, so when sewer lines are being placed, waterlines can be placed or repaired and road repair work is done at the same time, whenever possible,” he said.
AREAS OF INTEREST
Malloy expressed interest in emphasizing necessary infrastructure around Mosquito Lake to bring more tourism and money to the area.
“We are blessed to have the second-largest lake in the state,” Malloy said. “The county has done nothing to capitalize on this resource. What do we have? A Dollar General and a grocery story that I used to go to when I was a boy. It is an embarrassment.”
Malloy would like to have the commissioners provide more interest in areas outside of Warren, Niles and Lordstown.
“As a county commissioner, I will be visible countywide and work to make local government partners for the good of all our citizens,” he said. “The townships need some love.”
“Trumbull is made up of 25 townships, with a few sprinkled-in municipalities,” Malloy said. “In my travels, I’ve heard that they get very poor service from our county officials.
“When people vote for someone, they want a return on their investment as far as them providing services that align with their views,” he noted. “I’m the right guy. I have a lot of skills that I’ll bring to the table, as far as bringing people together, negotiating contracts and other needed skills.”
Malloy does not believe the commissioners need to have a county administrator on staff.
“There are three commissioners that earn $90,000 apiece,” he said. “Why farm out the work an administrator would do and still pay the three commissioners?”
ADDRESS: 2646 South Fox North Road, Hubbard
ELECTED OFFICES: Hubbard Township trustee
QUOTE: “I will not allow our county to become a dumping ground for out-of-state trash.”
ADDRESS: 2162 Wilmar Drive, Cortland
ELECTED OFFICES: None
QUOTE: “As a county commissioner, I will be visible countywide and work to make local government partners for the good of all our citizens.”
Did not respond to a candidate questionnaire from the Tribune Chronicle
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