XENIA — A former Greene County commissioner and Fairborn’s deputy mayor are vying for an open seat on the Board of Commissioners.
Voters will choose between Republican Rick Perales, current state representative from Beavercreek, and Democrat Colin James Morrow, current Fairborn councilman, to replace outgoing Commissioner Bob Glaser.
Morrow, 52, has served in the Army for more than 33 years as an enlisted soldier and officer, according to a questionnaire sent to both candidates. He’s currently a colonel in the US Army Reserve, serving as division chief of staff, and is also a defense contractor in the private sector supporting Wright-Patterson Air Force Base (WPAFB).
“As a result of my military and civilian experiences, I understand and have advocated for the missions at AFRL, NASIC, and LCMC as well as leading work force development efforts around WPAFB,” Morrow said.
While on city council, Morrow said he’s been focusing on infrastructure improvements and economic development.
Beyond that experience, Morrow said he will bring fresh ideas and patience to the office if elected.
“Greene County commissioners should be a mix of views to bring a balanced and collaborative approach to county decisions,” he said. “I believe in representing all the citizens of Greene County. I have spoken with residents of the more rural areas of our county who feel they have not been adequately represented or advocated for compared to other areas.”
The city councilman said he will prioritize the budget while in office, something he said he has experience doing in his current job in the private sector — analyzing data, making decisions, and creating profit.
“I will apply the same type of stance towards the county budget, but instead of being focused on profit, the focus would be to services of the citizens and support to the municipalities and townships,” Morrow said. “As a result of COVID-19, tax revenues have been reduced due to less consumer spending in Greene County. Spending priorities will need to be established and the delay of new projects. These priorities should not be made on the backs of employees, nor at the expense of services to the citizens of Greene County.”
Morrow, his wife Karyn, and their son Patrick are members of Christ Episcopal Church.
Perales, 61, served as a United States Air Force civil engineer officer and executive director facilities manager for the University of Dayton before he was elected to Beavercreek City Council, serving as mayor in 2002 and 2003. In 2005, he became Greene County commissioner, serving until he was elected to the Ohio House in 2013. He will be term-limited at the end of his fourth term.
Perales said he believes he’s the right candidate for the seat because of his background, commitment to service, and communication skills.
“I wake up every morning looking forward to how I can make lives better for my constituents,” Perales said. “Serving in local, county, and state government gives me a unique perspective for understanding all levels of government and how best to interact with each for the benefit of my constituents. I respect and appreciate all people, their heritage, and skills.”
Perales said the major issues facing the county right now are the budget, jail, infrastructure, social services, and COVID-19. But the issue on which he said he can make the most impact is WPAFB.
“I’ve been a leader and major advocate for WPAFB throughout my career. I know WPAFB extremely well based on my experience as the 788th Civil Engineer commander,” Perales said.
Perales served as the community representative during BRAC 2005. He said he’s also led legislative efforts to better the lives of veterans, military members and their families, as well as enhance the base’s opportunity for mission gains. He said he initiated General Assembly support advocating for locating the Space Command Headquarters at WPAFB.
“I will continue to work closely with base and DoD officials to understand their issues and opportunities, as well as with state and local officials to ensure we continue to be an attractive location for related missions and jobs,” Perales said.
Perales and his wife Becka have four children and seven grandchildren.
Both Morrow and Perales serve as executive members of the Greene County Regional Planning and Coordinating Commission.
The term start date is Jan. 2, 2021. Commissioner Tom Koogler is running unopposed for the other open seat.
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