Democrats in Trumbull should nominate Fuda for county commissioner


For MORE THAN 11 years now, Democrat Frank Fuda has been a sturdy anchor to the ship of Trumbull County government. As the accomplished Trumbull County commissioner seeks his fourth four-year term in office in this spring’s primary election, we see no reason for county voters to rock the boat.

The Vindicator therefore endorses Fuda in the race for the Democratic Party nomination for Trumbull County commissioner. If nominated and elected in November, the well-seasoned leader would serve through 2022.

In his three terms of service, Fuda has amassed a strong record of hard work and public service on behalf of the 200,000 residents he was elected to serve.

The highly energetic and personable septuagenarian has always made it a point to build solid working relationships with village, city, township, state and federal leaders. Those bridges he’s built often have led to substantial progress for county residents and their aging infrastructure.

Those fine-tuned networking skills have helped to produce about $93 million in mammoth water, sewer and other infrastructure improvements in all corners of the county. The vast majority of those project came to fruition thanks to grant awards that Fuda oversaw.

The resulting improvements heighten the quality of life for residents and make the county more attractive to potential new businesses and industries.

We also are drawn to Fuda for his long record of fiscal restraint in times of increasingly strrained finances for local and county governments in Ohio. For example, since 2007, when he first assumed office, the former teacher has steadfastly opposed the hiring of a costly county administrator. He’s also vocal in his opposition to any county sales-tax increase imposed by commissioners without public hearings and a vote of the people.

The longtime Niles resident also has a strong grasp of the looming needs and challenges Trumbull County faces. One of his top priorities, as it should be, is to work to reduce the scope of the opiate-addiction crisis that has hit his county particularly hard. Also on his radar are continued aggressive efforts to seek out state, federal and grant funding for additional infrastructure projects and keeping a close eye on the county’s budget to keep operating costs as low as possible without cutting services or forcing layoffs.

THE CHALLENGER

Challenging Fuda for the Democratic nomination for county commissioner is 17-year veteran Hubbard City Councilwoman Lisha Pompili Baumiller. The race is a rematch of the 2014 Democratic primary that Fuda won with 70 percent of the popular vote.

In a surprising upset, the county Democratic Party Central Committee endorsed Pompili Baumiller by a narrow margin over Fuda for the nomination. We respectfully disagree with the county party’s decision.

While we believe Pompili Baumiller is well-intentioned in her run, we have long held that any individual who challenges an incumbent officeholder should be able to articulate clear and plausible reasons why a change is needed. Based on an interview with The Vindicator Editorial Board earlier this month, we do not believe she has made a convincing case for Fuda’s ouster.

Though many of her priorities mirror those of Fuda, we find many of her criticisms of the incumbent without merit.

For example, she points the finger at Fuda for some of the responsibility in the county’s loss of 10,000 residents over the past seven years. One person, however, cannot negate longstanding demographic trends of population migration out of Rust Belt communities in the Mahoning Valley and elsewhere in the Midwest.

She also intimated that Fuda has mislead county residents in his position on hiring an administrator. Records show, however, that the incumbent has been steadfast in his opposition. We also find her criticism that he is not working hard enough for the county baseless.

In fact, in endorsing Fuda in 2014, we likened him to the Energizer Bunny in his public service to Trumbull County residents. Four years later, Fuda just keeps on going and going and going.

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