NORTH RIDGEVILLE - Former North Ridgeville Mayor David Gillock and North Ridgeville Councilwoman Michelle Hung, both Republicans, are running for seats on the three-member Lorain County Board of Commissioners.
Gillock, who did not seek re-election last year after serving as mayor for 16 years, has filed to run for Lorain County commissioner in the March 17 Republican primary.
Gillock will face former Lorain County Commissioner David Moore of Amherst in the primary. Whoever wins will run against incumbent Democrat Sharon Sweda of Amherst in the Nov. 3 general election.
Hung, who was elected in 2017 and is in the middle of her four-year council term, will face Avon Lake attorney Gerald Phillips in the Republican primary. Whoever wins will face Democratic incumbent Commissioner Lori Kokoski in the general election.
Hung said she and Gillock are not running as a ticket. If she loses the election, she would retain her council seat.
"We were all surprised," Hung said of Gillock filing to run on Dec. 17, a day before the filing deadline for the primary.
Gillock said he started to consider running for county commissioner four years ago, but decided to run after Republicans such as State Rep. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, and her son, State Sen. Nathan Manning, R-North Ridgeville, encouraged him to enter the race.
Democrats hold all three seats on the board. Local GOP leaders see this as a good chance for one or two Republicans to get on the board, Gillock said.
"I always thought what would I do next after serving as mayor," Gillock said. "I want people to know I'm not running to run against somebody, I'm running because I think it's a seat or position I would like to run for because I believe I can do the job — and would enjoy doing the job."
Gillock noted that economic development, roads and infrastructure are major issues facing Lorain County and that working on those issues with cities and townships would be a good thing.
"Issues like economic development and stormwater sewers aren't completely city issues, they are regional issues," Gillock said. “As mayor, I've worked with a lot of people in other cities before and the townships, so the experience would help me."
During his last council meeting in December, Gillock said he planned to spend some time fishing, and would remain in public, eating at local restaurants with his wife and shopping around North Ridgeville.
"I never said I was retiring from life," Gillock said. "I said I was retiring from mayor. I still plan to do all those things. Being a county commissioner is a part-time job, but I know it would take a lot of my time. I think it would be a great job for me and my skill set."
Hung said Moore encouraged her to run. They served on the county's presidential campaign committee for Donald Trump in 2016 of which Hung was co-chair.
She said her experience in working with the city’s budget the last two years has helped her make tough decisions. Her work experience includes working as a finance and inventory manager for 10 years at Motorcars Honda in Cleveland Heights, now Foundation Honda. Hung said in her first month of work, she found $32,000 in unclaimed dealer incentives and leasing fees.
“I have a strong work ethic,” Hung added. “I like to be involved and make sure that we are making wise decisions for the residents of our county. Whether it be on the budget level or the personnel level, the people will find with me (that) I am an advocate for open lines of communication and holding all meetings that are open for the public to hear the discussion and are scheduled for times the public can attend.”
County commissioners serve four-year terms and earn about $80,000 annually. The three-member board oversees budgets for the other county government offices, sets policy and approves annexations. Commissioner Matt Lundy of Avon Lake, a Democrat, is not up for re-election until 2022.
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