GALLIPOLIS — Gallia County Commissioner Dr. David Smith will be making another run for a seat with the Gallia County Commissioners under the Republican banner for the March 15 primary elections.
Smith is anticipated to run against former Gallipolis City Commissioner Michael Brown.
“I grew up in Gallia County,” Smith said. “I went to grade school in Centerville and graduated from Southwestern High School. I attended a few years at Rio Grande Community College and then graduated from Miami of Ohio (Miami University) with a degree in chemistry and then enrolled in the college of dentistry at Ohio State (University), where I graduated in 1983. I’ve been back here ever since and have a little over 32 years practicing general dentistry.”
Smith is a resident of Gallipolis and shares two sons with his wife. Both sons are attending universities.
“I’ve always been interested in politics and government operation,” Smith said. “I like the local level. I like where I am. I like to contribute and I kind of see it as my contribution to help the community. I bring to the table a little different perspective as far as experiences and what I want to accomplish.”
Smith has said that he would like to see Gallia County grow and become a progressive economic force in the area. Within the constraints of a budget, Smith sees it as a large part of the job of a commissioner to provide the county with services without breaking the bank. He has told the Tribune in the past that he views the commissioner position as chiefly responsible for maintaining the flow of local governmental resources to provide services that the community needs.
Smith first joined the Gallia County Commissioners in 2004. He was defeated in another run for commissioner in 2008 but soon regained the seat in 2012. Smith has served as both president of the commissioners and vice-president. He currently serves as vice-president.
Smith said that one of the basic functions of government is to support law enforcement. He feels that there is a large crime and drug problem in the county and he said it is one of his goals to continue to try and allocate resources to address those issues. He said it is necessary to continue replacing equipment in the sheriff’s office, and noted that once a police cruiser reaches around 150,000 miles that maintenance costs can become expensive.
Smith said he would also like to add another investigator to the sheriff’s office. He said the commissioners wanted to add another investigator at the beginning of the new year but did not feel comfortable with the current carryover budget. He said commissioners may address the issue of adding a new investigator again in March or April once the commissioners can take stock of what funding is like at that time.
Smith is a supporter of having school resources officers in the county school system so that students can build a relationship with officers as well as maintain security within schools.He said he believes that he has a good working relationship with Gallipolis officials and forming that relationship was one of his first priorities when he originally entered office. He believes the county and Gallipolis will both benefit from the recent sewer project renovations going on in the city and in the county. Having a central waste water treatment facility allows the county to operate without having the addition of multiple smaller facilities throughout other townships or maintaining the cost of their upkeep, he said.
Smith was also an advocate of the Red Dot campaign and school issues. Smith said that he and Wade Leslie, owner of River City Outdoor Advertising, had worked together on putting together billboards to promote the campaign.
“I am a firm believer that we, or our children, have as much potential here as anywhere else,” Smith said. “It’s just that we have to have the right opportunities. I saw new schools opening as those kinds of opportunities.”
Smith has met with state legislators, U.S. legislators as well as Ohio Governor John Kasich.
“I think that they (state government representatives) are there to help us,” Smith said. “I don’t sugarcoat it. If I think we are being shorted in an area, I don’t have a bit of problem of telling them what I think that is or how to correct it. Now they can’t always do that, and I appreciate that. I think we have good two-way communication. We have unique situations in Gallia County and from my perspective it’s always important that we make sure our state legislators and our governor know what they are and that they are different than in major metropolitan places. I try to be a strong voice to make sure our perspective is heard.”
As a small business owner, Smith believes that he can help make “sound financial decisions” for the county. He understands what it is like to look at a cash flow and what it is like to provide for someone else’s livelihood. He wished the county had more opportunities and would like to promote what he sees as a “strong labor force,” should potential employers seek to set up businesses in the region. Smith believes it is important to make the most of what resources there are in the region.
Smith said everyone has a right to be heard. He may not agree with what they have to say, but it is important to respect and treat individuals civilly in democratic government. He added that he believes that education is important in nurturing the hardworking nature of midwestern culture. He believes Gallia County residents are a durable people and are not afraid to get their hands dirty when life gets rough. He sees it as his job to help make sure opportunities are there for people that are willing to work hard.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.
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