Jerry Mazur
Jerry Mazur

VAN WERT – The Heartland Patriots held a Meet the Candidates night on Tuesday where candidates running on the primary election ballot spoke. All candidates running are Republican, and only two races are contested for the March 17 election – County Treasurer and Probate/Juvenile Judge.

Former Van Wert City Mayor Jerry Mazur and Van Wert County resident Jeff McIntosh are both vying for the Republican County Treasurer nomination.

Mazur has lived in Van Wert for more than 20 years. He began his working career as an apprentice in the elevator/escalator industry. He later worked for a Fortune 500 company. After 15 years of field operation, he moved into management as a lead construction superintendent on a project. Mazur worked internationally on assignments for 12 years, including over four years in China. He has taken continuing education classes and has participated in annual business and financial courses.

“I have a strong, diversified background with an extensive experience in managing both budgets and human resources,” said Mazur, who noted that he’s been responsible for regional operations exceeding $100,000,000 in annual sales and managing staff of over 100 people.

Mazur said that if elected as Van Wert County Treasurer, he would like to implement an in-depth, cross-training program for Deputy Treasurers. Among many items, Mazur said he will be a diligent steward of the County’s investment portfolio and would put emphasis on real estate tax receipts, and place special attention on record keeping.

“I want to be your treasurer because I have the background and the passion to bring renewed respect and order to the office, and furthermore, specifically to the County of Van Wert,” said Mazur.

McIntosh grew up in Convoy and currently manages Greve’s Guaranteed Auto. He attended Vantage Career Center for accounting and went on to get a college degree in accounting. After graduation, McIntosh was offered a job in the automobile industry and has worked in that industry for 34 years. He’s been in management for the past 24 years.

“Every day, we take money in and out – cash, electronically; we have to balance every day,” said McIntosh of his job. He also noted that he has shadowed the Van Wert County Treasurer’s Office and feels confident that he can do the job, which in a lot of ways, he says, resembles the duties he is currently doing.

McIntosh said he is well versed in computers and even used the system that is utilized in Treasurer’s Office in college. If elected treasurer, McIntosh said he would like everyone to be cross-trained, including himself, to be able to do all the jobs in the office.

“With the job, the County’s funds are at stake and the safety of the County’s money is very important; that is priority one in the office,” said McIntosh.

For the Probate/Juvenile Judge position, incumbent Judge Kevin Taylor and attorney Scott Gordon are both on the ballot for the Republican nomination.

Taylor, a Van Wert resident, was appointed as Probate/Juvenile Judge in 2012. Later in 2012, he won the November election for the position. He was reelected in 2014. Prior to becoming a judge, Taylor worked for 31 years in private practice, predominantly in the areas of estate planning and criminal law. He has 26 years as a part-time assistant prosecuting attorney, seven of those years he devoted almost all of his time to juvenile court cases.

“The Probate Court is one of the most active and demanding courts in the judicial system,” said Taylor. “It’s no simple task to perform all [of the court’s] responsibilities – administering over estates, guardianships, adoptions, trusteeships, and other issues that face the Court.”

In his seven years as judge, Taylor said he’s made some changes. In 2017, the Court was awarded a grant that allows them to scan all documents so they have a digital record of everything that is filed, which is then available online. In 2018, the Court added marriages to the available online documents so that a person can go online to prepare for the process of obtaining their license. Taylor also said there has been a goal to be fiscally responsible, and during each of the last five years, the Court has returned, on average, $55,000 from out of their budget back to the County.

Taylor said that when it comes to juveniles that enter into Juvenile Court, he believes in rehabilitating them so that they can grow up to be productive adults. He said that while sometimes it is necessary to place a juvenile in a detention center, he believes that the most effective way to deal with juvenile delinquents is through local treatment programs, activities, and community service work.

Scott Gordon, also a Van Wert resident, has operated his own private legal practice in Van Wert for 30 years. He obtained his law degree and Master’s of Business Administration from Capital University. His practice includes juvenile defense, estates, and guardianships. Gordon has worked as an Assistant Attorney General, an assistant prosecuting attorney in Franklin County, Ohio, was the past president of the Van Wert Chamber of Commerce, and is the head of the Van Wert County Public Defender’s office.

“I am seeking the office of County Juvenile/Probate Judge on the belief that I have the experience and knowledge to do the job,” said Gordon. “I believe with my nearly 30 years of experience I can do a great job as your judge. I believe I have a rounded perspective of the law and how it is to be applied.”

Gordon represents several villages in Van Wert County and said he has heard the needs of the people and their concerns, namely on how the laws are applied to their children.

“As a judge, you must remain neutral,” said Gordon. “The law is the law and you apply it as it is written. I am not coming here with an agenda on how I believe the law should be written. That’s our legislator’s [job].”

“If you elect me as your Juvenile/Probate Judge, I will do the job,” he continued. “I believe I am experienced and ready for that position.”

County Commissioner Todd Wolfrum and Van Wert County Sheriff Tom Riggenbach also spoke at the event on Tuesday. Along with County Commissioner Stan Owens, the duo will run unopposed on the March ballot.

Early voting for Ohio begins Feb. 19. The primary election is on March 17.