Hillsboro City Council, Ward 2


The Times-Gazette



Jason L. Burns


Claudia Klein


Editor’s note: All 12 candidates for Hillsboro City Council were contacted by The Times-Gazette and asked to provide some basic background information, along with answers to five specific questions, and an opportunity to make additional comments. Candidates were given no specific word limits, but were asked to avoid overly-lengthy answers.

Most candidates answered all the questions, but some did not. If information is missing it is because it was not provided despite multiple efforts, including the involvement of the respective party chairs, to give candidates the opportunity to answer all questions.

In some cases their responses have been edited for grammar, to make an answer clearer or for excessive length. Today we present the responses from candidates for Ward 2, featuring Democratic Party candidate Jason Burns and Republican Party incumbent Claudia Klein.

JASON L. BURNS

Age: 41

Family: Wife: Brandie Burns. Children: Thomas and Tatum.

Party: Democrat

Education, work and public office experience: 1994 graduate of Hillsboro High School, 2-year degree from SSCC Arts and Science, volunteer for Good News Gathering for approximately 18 years.

Q. In general, why are you seeking election to this office?

A. Recently, an article originally posted at www.roadsnacks.net was updated for 2017 and ranked Hillsboro 6th out of 248 worst cities in Ohio to live in. These were cities with a population of over 5,000 and it considered criteria such as the unemployment rate, average median household income, and violent crime per capita. The article explains that the data was taken from the Census’s most recent American Community Survey and from the FBI Uniform Crime Report. I decided before reading this article that Hillsboro needs a vision for the future, someone willing to do what is necessary to make the difficult decisions to bring about that change, and this is why I’m running for council. Specifically, I believe we need to look at Hillsboro as a whole. We rank 48th worst in home values, median household income is $31,492, and the unemployment rate is 15th worst out of 248. Citydata.com backs up these figures and shows that from 2000 to 2015 Hillsboro’s population only grew by 209 people from 6,368 to 6,577. I have lived in Hillsboro most of my 41 years and unfortunately didn’t need this article to confirm what every citizen is feeling on one level or another.

Q. Why are you a good choice for this office?

A. I feel that my business experience and common sense approach makes me a qualified candidate… I’m a business owner uptown and recently my building I’ve bought or leased has been renovated, my utilities are down, and more customers are coming to my business. This sounds great if you’re uptown. However; there’s always 2 sides. Let’s consider the other side for a moment and for the sake of this discussion I would like to use an apple pie as an analogy for Hillsboro. So first if I bake a pie and it comes out of the oven and one side appears to be golden brown and the other half looks less than desirable compared to the other, I as a consumer will naturally gravitate toward the most delicious looking piece of pie. The same thing happens in the business world. So they make the uptown beautiful, then citizens will flock there, but now businesses in other areas are at a disadvantage and aren’t as competitive. What happens to these businesses? The answer: Cash flow becomes more difficult and they fade into obscurity and close. If anyone has lived in Hillsboro for any length of time we saw this happen to the uptown area when Harry Sauner was created and new, shinier businesses popped up there… The only way in my opinion to get Hillsboro off “the list” is to focus on Hillsboro as a whole, and make a bigger, better, and healthier pie. So the million dollar question is, how?

Q. What do you see as the top 2 or 3 issues facing the city of Hillsboro?

A. Recently council has chosen to focus on uptown redevelopment. As I stated earlier I believe we need to look at Hillsboro as a whole and not just uptown, which seems to be the overwhelming focus of the current administration. Now that being said, I do feel uptown is important, but I think there’s a better way to accomplish this goal than using current city taxes to fund a program that will benefit a few property owners and their respective businesses. I believe Hillsboro’s main focus should be on how we can attract larger companies and factories that want to set up shop here and do business. We need businesses that would employ hundreds. If this could happen, unemployment goes down, median household income goes up, more people wouldn’t be uninsured, people might not turn to crime, and there are opportunities where before there were no viable options. More good jobs will equal more people potentially moving here. More people living and working here means more business for restaurants, hotels, retail, carpenters, mechanics, plumbers, doctors, and the list goes on and on. In my opinion this is an approach that would be more successful.

Q. Mayor Drew Hastings has been in office since January 2012, and his current term runs two more years. Some credit him with improving the city in a number of ways, including aesthetically and financially. Others say he is a divisive presence, and his social media comments have been controversial. Since council must work with the mayor, please share your own thoughts about Mayor Hastings.

A. As far as the mayor is concerned, I would say that some good things have been accomplished in the past couple of years, but it’s impossible to support someone who for whatever reason makes the remarks he does on social media. I think he could use his platform and popularity to make Hillsboro better. Give us positive publicity instead of negative.

Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of, either in public service, the private sector or your personal life?

A. Some of my biggest accomplishments include Cowaburger LLC and Jumpstart Music.

Additional comments: I think voters need to decide what’s more important for Hillsboro. Should we give taxpayer dollars to renovate uptown? How many more pawn shops do we need? If we’re concerned about business uptown, why do we write parking tickets to customers and owners alike that have more than 2 hours’ worth of business to conduct? Also, do you think parking tickets is where we should be utilizing our men in uniform with all of the other crime that’s in our community? Should I vote for the same people that seem to be considering policies based upon self-preservation, or should we be trying to grab the lowest hanging fruit to move Hillsboro forward? There’s a saying I use all the time and it’s true in every aspect of life: “When we are green we are growing. When we are ripe we are rotten.” Please, in November, consider voting for me if you’re interested in someone who wants to see all of Hillsboro grow.

CLAUDIA KLEIN

Age: 71

Family: Husband: Dan (deceased). Children: Sharon (David) Hurley,Doug (Kim) Klein, Rick (Lynn) Partin, Bridgette (Fred) Kirker, Matt (Tina) Partin, Daphne Norris (deceased), Brent (Angie) Klein, Danie (Carrie) Klein, 16 grandchildren, 6 great grandchildren.

Party: Republican

Education, work and public office experience: Associates Degree in Business from the University of Cincinnati, 18 years as deputy clerk of courts legal division of Highland County, four years on Hillsboro City Council.

Q. In general, why are you seeking reelection to this office?

A. I would like to see the completion of the many projects council has begun for the city.

Q. Why are you a good choice for this office?

A. I have the experience needed for this office. I enjoy meeting with the citizens, listening to their ideas and helping when I can.

Q. What do you see as the top 2 or 3 issues facing the city of Hillsboro?

A. Infrastructure is definitely an important issue. If we do not stay on top of improving our infrastructure, we will find it impossible to fund and fix it all at once. We need to have a maintenance schedule to keep on top of this. Blight in the city is another top issue. We are working on improving the looks of the city by taking care of the blight. This should help to attract more people and businesses to the area. Finally, make sure we have the funding to keep on track with our projects as well as other necessary improvements.

Q. Mayor Drew Hastings has been in office since January 2012, and his current term runs two more years. Some credit him with improving the city in a number of ways, including aesthetically and financially. Others say he is a divisive presence, and his social media comments have been controversial. Since council must work with the mayor, please share your own thoughts about Mayor Hastings.

A. Mayor Hastings sees things a little differently than a lot of citizens as he has an “unbiased eye”. He is sometimes ahead of himself in the vision he has for the future of Hillsboro. I have always personally found him easy to discuss ideas and solutions with, even when our ideas were completely opposite. I understand the controversy surrounding the mayor and I do not approve of everything said on either side of the controversy, but we all need to learn to respect everyone regardless of their opinions. I believe tolerance is the word. He has accomplished a lot for the city, and hopefully everyone can move forward for the good of the city and let go of all the political bias.

Q. What accomplishments are you most proud of, either in public service, the private sector or your personal life?

A. My greatest accomplishment (with help from Dan) is our children. They have grown to be fine citizens and I am very proud of them all. Three are college graduates, three took courses in a vocation (EMT, semi driver, hazard waste cleanup). I enjoy my volunteer work with my church and the VFW auxiliary. I enjoy my hobbies whenever I get the time.

Additional comments: I have always enjoyed meeting and talking with people and hearing different ideas from them. I was always proud to tell people I am from Hillsboro, even though I have only lived here 30-plus years. I have seen a lot of positive changes in the past few years, even amid the controversies, and I sincerely hope the citizens want to see these changes continue. I would like to be a part of the team that helps Hillsboro keep moving forward. Your vote in November will be greatly appreciated.

Jason L. Burns
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/10/web1_city-candidate-burns.jpgJason L. Burns

Claudia Klein
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/10/web1_city-candidate-Klein.jpgClaudia Klein

http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2017/10/web1_Election2017-Logo-4.jpg

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