GRAFTON — So far, five candidates are competing for Grafton Village Council’s 3rd Ward seat.
The candidates sat in on Tuesday’s Council meeting to present their resumes and speak about why they should be chosen to fill the open seat.
The candidates are trying to fill a vacancy created by the death of Council President John Lescher. Lescher, 71, had been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments for throat cancer.
A councilman for the 3rd Ward since 1985, according to the village website, Lescher was elected Council president in 2016.
Lescher also was a Vietnam veteran. He served in the Army infantry from 1971-72 carrying a radio in the 101st Airborne Division.
Lescher also was a founding member of the Soldiers of History, a veterans group dedicated to educating residents on America’s military service.
Inside is a look at the five candidates vying for the seat.
Brandal has been a village resident for more than 40 years and a registered voter in the area for even longer. Brandal said he has a financial background from when he graduated from the Oberlin School of Commerce in accounting in 1967. Afterward, he served about two years in the U.S. Army military police in 1967.
After his discharge in 1969, he served as a cost accountant for five years. In 1975 he joined the Elyria Police Department, where he worked 30 years as a patrol officer and detective. Using his financial background, he also worked for the D.A.R.E. and Safety Town programs during his police career.
After retiring from the Elyria Police Department in 2004, he worked as a firefighter and EMT until 2019. With his background he believes that he would be a perfect candidate.
“I just feel that I would be a good asset to keep the village moving forward,” he said.
Campbell is a lifelong village resident who graduated from Midview High School in 1984. From there, Campbell worked a number of jobs, including a foreman, equipment operator and mechanic. Since 1996, he has owned Campbell Property Maintenance, a landscaping company. Since 2015, he has been a driver for the United Parcel Service Air Freight in Middleburg Heights. Although he knows he may not have has much experience in the community as the other candidates, he hopes to make up for it in his passion for his home town.
“I’ve lived in Grafton my whole life. It’s always what I wanted to do, and I want to see Grafton move forward,” he said.
Carter has lived in the village for about 30 years and graduated from Midview in 1985. She attended Ashland University, where she received her bachelor’s in office education and vocational/nonvocational business as well as a master’s degree in educational technology.
Carter has spent most of her career in education, either as a teacher or in administration including for the Cleveland Heights and Keystone school districts.
She also has been heavily involved with the community, organizing events that have raised funds for various organizations. She also helped organize the Midview Alumni Band.
The things she did while working for public schools include writing news releases, managing employees, helping apply for grants, helping in efforts to pass school levies and managing departmental budgets. If elected, Carter said she’d want to work on the financing and infrastructure of the village, strengthening its economic base.
“I have an extensive expertise in managing public entities, moving people to reach common goals, acquiring new funding and business processes,” she said.
Louge has been a resident of Grafton since 1975. He graduated from Elyria High School in 1966 and joined the U.S. Navy that summer. He spent three years in the Navy, including a year in the Vietnam War as an aircraft controller. After his service, he worked as an aircraft controller for the Federal Aviation Administration in Oberlin from 1970 to 2002.
Louge has served on the zoning board and the zoning board of appeals and has worked with the Fire Department and as an EMT. He also volunteered in the community as a bowling and football coach for youths.
From 2007 to 2010, he served as the commander of Grafton Veterans of Foreign Wars and in 2016, he returned as commander. The biggest accomplishment he ever made in Grafton, he said, was working with other officers of the Grafton VFW to get the organization 100 percent out of debt. Louge said he believes he is a viable candidate because of his experience and general knowledge of the area.
“I moved to Grafton because it was a small, friendly, growing community and I would like to continue the progress the village has made to stay that way.”
McDonald, a native Grafton resident, has lived in the 3rd Ward for 18 years and has been working part-time as a music teacher for St. Mary’s Elementary School in Elyria since 2008 and as a Grafton correspondent for the Rural Urban Record since 2005.
She has volunteered with community and school organizations including 4-H, the Midview Band Boosters, the Midview Diamond Club and the Immaculate Conception Parish Council.
“I’d like to see more businesses coming into Grafton; they’ve had a great start in that, but I’d like to continue that work Mr. Lescher did as well as in the work of honoring veterans,” she said.
McDonald has a bachelor’s in public relations and communications.
Village Manager Joe Price said more candidates, who must reside in the 3rd Ward, can apply for the position by the April 2 Council meeting at 7:30 p.m.
Council members will decide on Lescher’s replacement through a majority vote. Price said Council could appoint a candidate before the April 2 meeting if it chooses or ask the mayor to call a special meeting of Council to appoint someone.