Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Is Commissioner Tom Harmon replaceable?  Of course!

We all remember the old adage:  "nobody is irreplaceable."

And there are four Stark Countians who want the replace him.

One is Karl "Butch" Kraus, Jr who recently lost (narrowly) in Canton's 8th Ward to Republican Mark Butterworh.

Why would Democrats choose him?  The answer:  they won't.  One of the main ideas of appointing someone is to choose a person who can hold the seat when it comes up for election come November, 2010.  Kraus loses in a ward that he is well known in and he's going to run countywide?  You have to be kidding.

Another is Jim Repace.  A former North Canton City Councilman and IBEW #1985 president, he has done nothing to distinguish himself countywide from a political perspective and likely would have a hard time holding the seat.

Still another is political newcomer Terry Nemeth from Richville (in Perry Township).  He has worked on a number of political campaigns, but never for office.  He openly tells the SCPR that he is not the odds-on-favorite to win this race.  The Report agrees with him.

Here is a copy of a letter he sent out to precinct committee persons:
Terry L. Nemeth
6910 Westwood Street Southwest
Massillon, Ohio 44646

(330) 830-0026 Home
(330) 936-0569 Cell


November 26, 2009

Democratic Central Committee Member


I have submitted my name for consideration for the position of Stark County Commissioner.

Please allow me a few minutes of your time to introduce myself to you:

I am 59 years old and my wife Barbara and I have been married for over 36 years.  We have one daughter. We have lived in Perry Township for the past 25 years. 

Although I do not have any political experience, I believe my personal and work experience would be well accepted by the general public. I would be a new face with fresh ideas.

I am an early retiree from the Hoover Company, so I know what it is like to be forced out of a job and to live on a fixed income.  I spent 38 years as a union member, so I know the trials of being in the workforce.  I have a degree in Accounting, so I would be able to better explain some of the financial aspects of running Stark County Budgets.

I appreciate your consideration in this matter and hope to hear from you soon.


Terry L Nemeth
That leaves only Steve Meeks.

Meeks has the polish, the important political contacts and legislative coordinating skills that are the equal of if not the superior to those possessed by Harmon.

However, the SCPR questions whether or not he can separate himself from the "inside politics" world to appeal to the "non-connected" world that most Stark Countians live in.

What Stark County needs more than any other attribute, is a county commissioner who is perceived to be his/her own person who can negotiate political mine fields skillfully and come out on the other side unscathed, and reiterating,  without appearing to be the captive of established political interests.

The SCPR believes that none of the four candidates to succeed Harmon fill this bill.

Meeks seems to be a personification of being a Stark County political insider.  He, and Gonzalez, and former Stark County Democratic Party chairman Johnnie A. Maier, Jr, in the opinion of the SCPR, have a stranglehold on Stark County Democratic politics.

Accordingly, it appears Meeks won't be able to do anything as commissioner without getting the approval of Gonzalez, Maier and, can I say it?  - Shane Jackson (political director of the Stark County Democratic Party who is the son of former Stark County commissioner Gayle Jackson).

To be fair to Meeks, he should be given the opportunity to show that, notwithstanding his associations, he can and will chart his own course in the face of disapproving party professional comrades.

The SCPR will be listening and watching Meeks very closely at the weekly meetings of the commissioners when he takes office.  It shouldn't be long until the SCPR knows enough about his work in office to make an assessment.

So unless there is a surprise (a la Bosley running against Todd Snitchler) in the form of a late entry of a better known or placed Democrat than Steve Meeks, "Meeks is the man" that the SCPR expects to be victorious a week from tomorrow.

But getting the nod from the Democrats is only the beginning of "life in a fishbowl" for Meeks.

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