GALLIPOLIS — Michael Brown is expected to run beneath the Republican banner for a seat on the Gallia County Board of Commissioners in the March 15 primary election.
Brown will be running against fellow Republican and incumbent Dr. David Smith.
Brown said he was born and raised in Gallipolis and has been a Gallia County resident all of his life. He attended Gallipolis City Schools and also attended the University of Rio Grande. He has a bachelor’s degree in communications and public relations. He also said he had furthered his education with a number of hours in business administration.
He worked for Ohio Valley Bank and also worked for Holzer Clinic in the general services purchasing department and later in the computer services department. He said he has also worked for Haskins-Tanner Men’s Clothing as a salesman. Brown added that he and his brother had run a shop called French City Florist years ago.
“I’ve done a lot of things,” Brown said. “I’ve sat on the Gallia County American Heart Association’s board and served on Gallia County’s American Cancer Society’s board. I’ve also served as a board member for the Gallia County Historical Society and also as a past president of the Gallia County Historical Society.”
Brown said he is a strong advocate for promoting the history of Gallia County and southeastern Ohio. He said he was a “driving force” in getting a historical marker placed to commemorate the tragedy of the Silver Bridge’s collapse.
Brown has served as a past Gallipolis City Commissioner and said he “greatly enjoyed” serving the people of Gallipolis. He said he learned a lot about civic administration from the experience. He said he was the first member of his family to run for public office as well as sit in office. He said that he spent no money while campaigning for the position.
Brown sought another term in the last election for city commission and was not elected. He still wishes to serve the people of the region and his desire to do so pushed him to run for the seat of a county commissioner.
“In a way I felt maybe it was a blessing in disguise,” Brown said. “I’m running because I’ve got some things to bring to the table that might be beneficial for Gallia County.”
Brown said he strongly felt that the county needed a homeless shelter for individuals struggling in the area.
“We also desperately need jobs here, especially for future generations of young people growing up here,” Brown said. “A lot of people are leaving this area and we need the jobs to promote futures here.”
Brown felt it was necessary for young people to consider getting a two-year or four-year degree. He promoted Buckeye Hills in Gallia County as an asset and that students who may desire to have a different set of skills than a college graduate should seek education in a trade. For Brown, it is important that individuals continue to educate and better themselves to make Gallia County stronger.
Brown condemned the drug problem that has commonly been regarded by residents of the county to be one of the issues of the region. He said that he would like to partner with groups such as the Field of Hope Community campus to promote addiction rehabilitation. Brown also expressed a desire to partner with local law enforcement to combat drug traffickers. He lauded the efforts of the local law enforcement in its efforts as well as the Gallia-Meigs Major Crimes Task Force in combating crime as well.
“I have zero, zero tolerance for drugs,” Brown said. “I don’t understand why young people are turning to drugs. It is so sad. It breaks my heart to think that they are turning to that when they could get a high at church (said in promotion of spiritual fulfillment). I don’t know if it’s lack of education or peer pressure.”
Brown encouraged youth to seek opportunities in educational pursuits and spiritual activities as a means of pulling themselves out of the hole of drug addiction.
Brown feels the county should make more use of the Ohio River as an economic resource in the region. In the past, Brown was a vocal advocate of bringing more retail store options to the downtown Gallipolis area. He felt that tourism would be one avenue of drawing business to the area. The public access area of Gallipolis has been well-known for its use as a transfer dock for fishing tournaments.
Brown said that “everything takes money” and he would do what he could to work with budgets and exercise restraint and efficiency of county government were he to take office.
Dean Wright can be reached at (740) 446-2342, Ext. 2103.