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Keep Davis and Carano in Austintown

Today’s growing network of bustling, urban and densely populated townships, including Austintown in Mahoning County, demand intelligent, responsible and experienced leadership. The increasingly large and complex sets of responsibility thrust upon Ohio trustee boards require nothing short of top-notch and variegated skill sets.

That’s why residents of Austintown should examine closely the four candidates seeking two seats on the board of trustees through 2025 to determine which of them best meets those essential requirements.

This fall, Austintown residents can consider themselves fortunate to have four serious, responsible and community-minded candidates passionate about their desire to serve.

Among them is Robert Santos, who came in third in a seven-person field in last year’s 13th Congressional District Republican primary. Santos, a proud veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, has demonstrated his desire to serve the best interests of township residents by knocking on about 7,000 doors in the township to gather input on residents’ concerns.

Among his thoughtful priorities are improving infrastructure, adequately equipping township police officers, fighting blight and ensuring transparency in government.

Candidate Monica Deavers, owner of the popular Charly’s Restaurant on Kirk Road, also presents productive priorities in her campaign. She seeks to improve communications among trustees, township department heads and residents, in part by improving the township website and through periodic mailings to residents. She said she also would work closely with the regional chamber and local businesses to strengthen economic development in the township and would make herself easily accessible to tackle any and all concerns they may have.

Santos and Deavers also argue it’s time for longtime incumbents Ken Carano, with 16 years of trustee service, and Jim Davis, with 12 years, to make a graceful exit.

Both challengers attempt to make the case that “new blood” sorely is needed at the top.

But given the high-caliber and results-oriented records of both Carano and Davis in office, we respectfully disagree.

Through their combined 28 years of service as trustees, both incumbents have come to know Austintown, its people, its problems and its potential inside-out.

Carano, whose resume also includes stints as a state representative and a regional director for former Gov. Ted Strickland, has a track record of which he and township residents can be proud.

He’s been a detail-focused steward over township finances by ensuring stability in township services despite a $2 million cut in state aid several years ago. To fill that gap, he worked to eliminate unnecessary expenses while saving taxpayer dollars through successful grantsmanship and through partnering with other townships to increase purchasing power in water service, road resurfacing and other projects. He also led a coalition of leaders from communities with Penn National gaming sites to ensure the township received the promised millions Hollywood racino officials pledged to the community.

Davis also has been no slouch. He has been a stern watchdog over township finances and takes pride in avoiding any tax increases for residents in recent years. He points to private grant funding for park development, safety services, road upgrades, infrastructure improvements and blight removal that benefits Austintown while keeping its budget in check. Like Carano, he was an aggressive warrior for the racino, traveling to Columbus seven times to make the case for Austintown’s site selection to the Ohio Racing Commission.

Despite all that, Davis maintains his biggest accomplishment during his tenure has been the opening and ongoing expansion of the Austintown Senior Center. Along with former Trustee Lisa Oles, Davis carried the concept of an active and inviting center for older township residents from inception to the success it is today in giving many seniors opportunities for socializing, learning new skills, entertainment and engagement that have made their lives richer and more purposeful. Today, the center ranks as one of the most expansive and successful in the Valley.

Both Davis and Carano have matured in office and have proven they have what it takes to lead Austintown. In its broadest sense, a trustee is anyone who assumes a position of trust, authority and responsibility. Carano and Davis have skillfully embodied those traits in fulfilling their elected duties and, therefore, have earned re-election.

editorial@vindy.com

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