Hecht, Lantz File Petitions For County, House Spots

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Two people who surfaced this week as candidates and filed at the Athens County Board of Elections by Wednesday's deadline were Democrat Kathy Hecht, a candidate for county auditor, and Republican Daniel Lantz, candidate for the Ohio House in the 94th District.

Hecht, who is Athens city auditor, will have no competition on the May 6 primary election ballot, and is seeking to challenge incumbent County Auditor Jill Thompson, who will be unopposed on the Republican Primary ballot.

Hecht, who has served as city auditor for more than 10 years and was on Athens City Council for two years prior to that, said in a news release that she wants to have a working and cooperative relationship with other county officeholders and reduce audit findings against the county.

"It is imperative that the elected county auditor serve as a watchdog to ensure that all county funds are spent appropriately and in a matter according to law," Hecht said. She said that if elected she will work diligently with local government and township officials to guard against theft and fraud.

Hecht said she received state auditor awards for exemplary financial reporting in 2010 and 2011. Hecht has made improvements to the city auditor's office, she said, citing as examples the upgrading of software, streamlining of purchasing processes for city departments and putting comprehensive policies and procedures in place.

Hecht, who has lived in Athens County for 34 years, has a bachelor's degree in criminal justice.

Lantz, 49, of Route 684, Pomeroy, is facing opposition in the Republican Primary from Yolan Dennis of Fleming, who recently announced her candidacy for the Ohio House seat in the 94th District. The winner will face Democrat incumbent Debbie Phillips of Albany, who is unopposed on the primary election ballot.

Lantz, who is from Washington County, part of which is in the 94th District, has lived in Meigs County for 26 years. In the 1980s, he was co-owner of Albany Lumber in Athens County, and he received his sawyer certificate from Hocking College. He currently works as a log buyer for DJM Hardwoods & Veneer in Gallipolis Ferry, W.Va.

Lantz said that as a state representative he would work to create jobs so that people can be less dependent on government programs.

"What we need is the independence of a job, so we can lead our lives as we see fit," Lantz said.

Lantz said he sees oil and gas development as a potential source of jobs in the region, and that Southeastern Ohio needs to position itself to take advantage of the jobs that will be offshoots of the ethane processing plant planned for Wood County, W.Va.

He said Southeastern Ohio has abundant natural resources — including oil, gas and coal — and rather than just exporting energy the area needs to use it as a basis for creating manufacturing jobs.

"There are a host of avenues that can be pursued to create jobs," Lantz said.

"I feel that Southeastern Ohio has an opportunity to be a leader in the state of Ohio," Lantz said, if it has the right representation in state government.

Lantz, who was a volunteer firefighter for 21 years, said he has been active in the community, citing as an example a public meeting he helped organize last fall concerning the Ohio Department of Transportation's plan to convert portions of state highway in Meigs County into county roads.

He is married and has three daughters.