Thursday, May 1st, 2014
By Shelley Grieshop
Two vie to join county commission
CELINA - Economic development is the top concern of both candidates seeking the seat of Mercer County Commissioner.
Republicans Greg Homan and Jeff Buschor will face off Tuesday in the only contested race at this year's primary election. No other party candidates filed for the position; the winner's name will appear on the Nov. 4 ballot.
Homan and Buschor seek to replace county commissioner John Bruns, who is not seeking re-election. Bruns, also a Republican, began serving April 1, 2007, and will complete his four-year term Dec. 31.
County commissioner Jerry Laffin began serving in January 1981 and his term expires Jan. 1, 2017. The newest commissioner, Rick Muhlenkamp, took office in January 2013; his term expires Jan. 2, 2017.
Homan, 39, of Coldwater, is an associate professor of organizational leadership and agriculture at Wright State University-Lake Campus, Celina. His goal, if elected, is to help maintain the area's strong economic opportunities and work on job retention.
"We have to keep the young people here and attract others back," he said. "I think those issues are pretty important."
As a community leader he believes it is his responsibility to promote the positive aspects of the area and discourage youth from moving to metropolitan areas.
Homan vows to work with state and local officials to encourage business expansion, particularly in key employment areas such as agriculture/food processing, logistics, advanced manufacturing and professional services.
Homan was raised on a dairy farm in Coldwater. After graduating high school in 1993, he earned a bachelor's degree in animal science from The Ohio State University. He was employed by OSU for 11 years as an extension agent before completing a master's degree and doctorate in human and community resource development.
Homan said his background makes him a good fit for the ongoing Grand Lake water quality problem involving area farmers and state and local officials.
"I can work with the parties to find solutions we all can agree on," he said.
Farmers in the lake watershed are under new regulations to help minimize phosphorus that gets into the lake from manure placed on fields. Phosphorus feeds the blue-green algae that makes the water toxic.
"I will encourage and promote the best management practices local agricultural producers and community partners are implementing, and will support the continued success of our important agricultural industry," he said.
Homan has served on the boards of several local organizations such as Coldwater Chamber of Commerce, Red Cross, Coldwater Kiwanis, Ohio Farm Bureau, Mercer County Extension Advisory Committee and Coldwater Schools Advisory Committee. He also has served on the Republican Party's executive/central committee.
Homan and his wife of 14 years, Lori, have six children. They are members of Holy Trinity Catholic Church, Coldwater.
Buschor, 53, of Celina, is the owner of Hometown Mortgage Lending Co., St. Marys. He, too, believes job creation and retention are priorities in Mercer County.
"We've got to keep growing strong," he said.
Buschor said he fully supports Hometown Opportunity, an online job resource created by the county's economic development office. It is having a positive impact on the area's workforce but community leaders must stay vigilant, he said.
"We can't sit on our laurels right now," he said.
A self-employed businessman for more than 20 years, he believes his strengths include his business background and ability to daw on experience to make decisions.
"I think that's necessary for a commissioner," he said, adding the county must be run like a business.
Buschor is a graduate of Celina High School and earned a bachelor's degree from The Ohio State University in 1983. He served as finance chairman for his church, St. John's Lutheran, Celina, and volunteers as a financial presenter and speaker for the Cincinnati Diocese Pre-Cana program, which teaches couples how to prepare for the financial challenges of marriage.
He currently serves on the Celina Zoning Board of Appeals and the Mercer County Republican Party central and executive committee.
One of his proudest accomplishments, he said, was when he spearheaded the Rally in the Park event in 2012 where area organizations such as the Mercer County Right to Life, The Grand Lake Patriots and Mercer County Liberty Group, promoted conservative ideas prior to the General Election.
Buschor and his wife of 30 years, Cindy, have three daughters.