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Three throw hats into the ring for jobs on county commission

December 6, 2011
By DEANNE JOHNSON - Staff Writer , Morning Journal News

LISBON - Three men filed on Monday to run in the spring for Columbiana County.

Democrat John H. Payne and Republican Tim Weigle will both run for the seat currently held by Commissioner Penny Traina.

Traina, a Democrat, has announced she will end her term at the end of this year, a year before the four-year term ends. It will be up to the Democrat Party to fill the position until after the election.

Democrat Joseph Csonka has also filed Monday to run for the position currently held by Republican Commissioner Jim Hoppel.

All three men who filed Monday have experience in public service.

Weigle, who has spent 22 years as a Unity Township trustee and also 20 years as a manager in the private sector, sent a statement to the Morning Journal Monday. He said he decided to run after giving careful consideration to the responsibilities of this important county office and with the urging of the county Republican leadership and the support of my wife and family.

"I believe that I can make a positive contribution to the current board of commissioners," Weigle wrote. "Recognizing the serious challenges that face this county, I would hope to combine my private sector business and township government experience to the day to day business that is before the county board of commissioners."

Weigle said he looks forward to waging a county-wide campaign, which he said would be as much a "listening campaign" as a "speaking campaign."

"I am interested in what is on the minds of the citizens of this county for this is who I intend to represent in county government," Weigle said.

Payne said he has experience on the local, state and federal level. He has negotiated union contracts. He dealt with budgets while serving on the county Board of Elections. With the board of elections he also worked with the schools and townships as they worked to pass bond and levy issues.

Payne also dealt with a fiscal emergency situation while mayor of East Liverpool. Working with former Congressman Charlie Wilson, Payne worked to help veterans.

He said he wants to continue working with the 10,000 veterans in Columbiana County, the farmers and others. He wants to make sure fracking planned in Columbiana County is being done safely.

" I feel I can bring something to the table," Payne said, adding he will also apply for the final year of Traina's current term. "Penny will be a hard act to follow. I feel I bring a lot of experience and a good attitude."

Payne also would like to work with the Progress 32, a consortium of counties in the Allegheny County region, which also includes Columbiana, Mahoning and Jefferson counties. He believes it is important to cooperate with other people to work on economic development as well as make sure students have more opportunities for a career waiting for them near home when the graduate.

"My door's always open," Payne said of his public service philosophy. "Come see me and we'll see what we can do."

Csonka's experience includes eight years as a Center Township trustee and also the past 10 years as the county plumbing inspector. He said he sees many issues throughout the county which need to be addressed.

He also has a background in small business, construction, industry and farming.

"With that experience I think I have a better feel for what the majority of people in the county would expect from a commissioner," Csonka said.

He also believes it is important for people to stand up when necessary to the gas drillers who are coming into Columbiana County. Csonka said he is not a politician, but also someone not afraid to speak his mind about the gas drilling. His experience also makes him knowledgeable about the roads.



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