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Published: Friday, 4/28/2006

Race for commissioner in Henry County includes 6 veterans of other races

BY JANE SCHMUCKER
BLADE STAFF WRITER

NAPOLEON - Among Henry County's seven candidates for county commissioner - the biggest field the county has seen in decades - all but one have experience running for office, from township trustee up to U.S. president.

Jeff Benson, a heating, ventilation, and air conditioning service technician with AW Heating & Cooling LLC in Waterville, was on the Liberty Center school board for a term that ended in December.

Matthew Gloor, a self-employed construction contractor from Napoleon, was on Napoleon City Council in the early 1990s.

James Junge, a customer service manager at the Sears Auto Center in Defiance, was a county commissioner in the 1980s and has been a mayor and village councilman in Holgate.

Richard Myers, who farms and owns a computer software firm, has been a Washington Township trustee for five years.

Wallace Snyder, who operated a chain of six funeral homes for years, is mayor of Holgate.

And Robert Moyers, an inspirational speaker and former sports information director at Bowling Green State University, ran for U.S. president as a write-in candidate in 1992.

That leaves Thomas Von Deylen, who was employed in his family's former farm equipment dealership until it was sold last year, as the only newcomer to the ballot.

On Tuesday, only the four men running as Republicans are competing directly against one another for the party's nomination: Mr. Benson, Mr. Gloor, Mr. Snyder, and Mr. Von Deylen.

The winner of the GOP primary will face Mr. Myers, who is unopposed in the primary as a Democrat, and two independents, Mr. Junge and Mr. Moyers.

Mr. Junge, however, will appear on the Republican ballot in Holgate in a different race Tuesday. He's running for a seat on the county Republican Party central committee in a rare contested election that has raised the ire of the county GOP chairman.

"It's not right," Chairman David Grahn said of Mr. Junge's candidacy for the central committee while running as an independent for commissioner. If elected to the committee, Mr. Junge would be privy to the GOP's strategy to win the county commissioner's seat while running against the party's nominee as an independent.

Whoever is elected as the GOP nominee on Tuesday and whoever ultimately is elected commissioner in November will deal with the results of what happens with the county sales tax request on the ballot.

Mr. Gloor said he plans to vote against the 0.5 percent request, adding: "I'm against raising taxes over and over and over again."

Mr. Snyder said he will vote for the tax, but he believes it should not be on the ballot. He said if he had been a commissioner last winter, he would not have voted to put it there.

Mr. Benson said if he had been on the board, he would have voted to put the tax request on Tuesday's ballot.

"I would like to see it pass just for the fact we need revenue," Mr. Benson said. But he also would have put the tax on the ballot last summer rather than imposing it without taking it to the voters, as the commissioners did.

Mr. Von Deylen said he favors the sales tax, in part because he does not like the cuts that were made to the sheriff's force when voters repealed the tax in November. He said he trusts local officials who say the tax is needed to fund such services.

Here's more about the four GOP candidates:

●Mr. Benson, 49, of Liberty Township, has been employed in heating, ventilation, and air conditioning at several area firms since he completed a two-year degree in climate control technology at the University of Toledo in 1983.

●Mr. Gloor, 43, of Napoleon, returned to construction this year after being employed as a manager at Carson Industries in Napoleon since 1999. He filed for bankruptcy protection in 1992 and was absolved of his debts the following year.

●Mr. Snyder, 59, of Holgate, sold his last funeral home in 1999 and now operates a shop selling cremation urns and is a substitute schoolteacher. He is beginning his third year as mayor and was a village councilman from 2000 to 2003 and for four years in the mid-1980s.

●Mr. Von Deylen, 52, of Freedom Township, was employed by the former Harry Von Deylen Co. in Napoleon from the time he was in high school until it was sold last year. He graduated from Bowling Green State University in accounting in 1976.

Contact Jane Schmucker at:

jschmucker@theblade.com

or 419-337-7780.



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