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Published: Wednesday, 7/16/2008

6 Republicans vie on Aug. 5 to be on fall Bedford Township ballot

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

TEMPERANCE - Four of six Republican candidates for Bedford Township trustee will survive the Aug. 5 primary ballot to carry their party's banner in the coming fall general election.

Incumbents Rick Steiner and Paul Francis are among the candidates competing for the right to represent the Republican Party in the race for four open trustee seats.

Also on the partisan ballot for election to the four-year term are Tom Covrett, Arnold Jennings, Nancy Tienvieri, and Aaron Wiens.

Trustee Dennis Steinman will not seek an eighth consecutive term, but instead is running against fellow Republican George Welling in the primary for clerk. The winner will challenge Bob Schockman, a Democrat, in the fall election.

At 26 years old, Mr. Wiens is the youngest of the trustee candidates. A real estate salesman, he is seeking office for the first time.

Mr. Wiens said the township must work to reduce taxes and find ways to offset declining school enrollment. He believes that elected officials must be held accountable, and advocates having contracts, finances, and expenditures made available online for public inspection.

"The bigger problems facing the township are property values going down while taxes are going up, and the school district operating on a bare bones budget," he said.

Mrs. Tienvieri, 59, is attempting to make a return to township government. A two-term clerk, she was voted out of office in 2000.

In 2001, she joined the Monroe County Road Commission as a public information officer and recently was laid off because of cutbacks.

Mrs. Tienvieri said that her background and experience as clerk and representative to the road commission in Lansing have provided her with an understanding of the intricacies of how government works.

"I think residents need to understand that the board is a governmental entity and elected officials must work together and promote the township," she said.

Incumbent Mr. Steiner, 48, served appointments on the township Economic Development Board and Board of Zoning Appeals before winning election in 2004.

He cited the construction of the new township Government Center, the repaving of nearly 15 miles of roads, and the scheduled resurfacing of an additional eight miles of pavement this year as among his accomplishments while in office.

"The township, like every place else, is struggling. But we are working hard to attract businesses and trying to be friendly with business," Mr. Steiner said.

"I believe I have done an excellent job for Bedford Township. I have been fair and honest with everyone," he added.

Mr. Francis, who was elected to the board in 2004, also cites the construction of the new township office building and road improvement projects as accomplishments while serving as trustee.

The 63-year-old certified public accountant was a Bedford Public Schools board member from 1975 to 1983.

He said he has worked to improve efficiency in government and pointed to the implementation of a cost-saving health-care package for employees and the restructuring of salary compensation for firefighters and paramedics.

Mr. Jennings, 63, is asking voters to return him to elected office. He was elected trustee in 2000, but failed make the general election ballot in 2004.

The owner of A.J. Doolittle's in Lambertville, Mr. Jennings said he was encouraged by residents who were impressed with his accomplishments while on the board.

"Too many times people get elected and they forget who elected them. I am a firm believer that when you get elected, you need to remain focused on the people who elected you," he said.

Mr. Covrett, 39, is seeking election to public office for the first time and has been on the township Planning Commission for eight years and chairman of the panel for the last five years.

A group manager of environmental operations for Mannik & Smith Group of Maumee, he is looking to expanding his public service contribution.

"I like being part of the community. I have the education and training that I am able to give something back. This will be my way of giving back," Mr. Covrett said.

If elected, Mr. Covrett said he would push for creation of a capital improvement program that would inventory, budget, and prioritize the township's infrastructure, equipment, and property.

The four candidates who survive the primary will go on to face Democratic candidates James Goebel, Gail Hauser-Hurley, and Larry O'Dell.



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