Athens County Commissioner Candidates Face Off

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Mark Sullivan, Mike O'Brien, Chris Chmeil, Robert Baughman and Paul Barrett talked about themselves and appealed for votes at a candidate forum in Athens last evening.

They're all Democrats running for the Athens County Commission seat now held by Sullivan, who said he had accomplished a lot while in office and his experience helps make him the best choice.

O'Brien called for adoption of a no-kill policy at the dog shelter.

Chmeil proposed cutting the commissioner's salary to save money and Barrett said if he's elected he'd give five percent of his pay to charity.

Baughman said economic development is important and partnering with private investors is a good way to create jobs.

And he contends the county needs more open locations to attract business to come here.

Sullivan said with the budget stretched thin, the county should give priority to basic services.

O'Brien and Chmeil expressed concern about oil and gas drilling with the controversial fracking technique.

And Barrett called for new facilities for the Athens County 911 Center.  

Meanwhile, in the other contested county commissioner race there are only two candidates — Democrats Charlie Adkins and Gary Edwards.

At the forum, Adkins challenged Edwards on the fracking issue.

Edwards downplayed the danger of oil and gas development using the drilling technique while Adkins said he's worried about damage to the envirionment.

The winner of the Edwards-Adkins face-off will go up against incumbent Republican Athens County Commissioner Larry Payne in the General Election.