Hillsboro Mayor Drew Hastings on Monday told BBC Radio that he will not seek a third term in the 2019 mayoral election.
Hastings made his comment in response to a question during a live BBC broadcast from the offices of The Times-Gazette, which featured interviews with a number of local political and government officials.
Later, Hastings told The Times-Gazette, “I think I’ve done a lot of the heavy lifting that needed to be done for the city. We’ve raised expectations for what an administration should do.”
The mayor said, “We’ve accomplished a great deal. Not that I’m done by any means, but by the time we finish up a number of projects, I will have left the city in a good place for someone else to lead into the future.”
Hastings was first elected in 2011, and reelected in 2015, both times with about 60 percent of the vote.
During the live BBC broadcast, Gary Abernathy, publisher and editor of The Times-Gazette, served as a co-host with BBC OS (Outside Source) host Nuala McGovern.
Guests also included Paulette Donley, chair of the Highland County Republican Party; Dinah Phillips, chair of the Highland County Democratic Party; Anneka Collins, Highland County prosecutor; and Bill Fawley, Highland County auditor. Jeff Gilliland, assistant editor, and reporter David Wright also participated in the program.
On Sunday, the BBC crew set up its makeshift studio in The Times-Gazette newsroom, and then spent the afternoon with Branden Jackman, public relations officer for the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District. Jackman escorted the crew on a trip around the county and taped an interview about the opioid crisis, and his comments were used extensively in Monday’s live broadcast.
Collins also discussed the opioid issue, including her decision in recent months to bring manslaughter charges against people who sell fentanyl-laced heroin to individuals who in turn die from taking the drug.
Donley and Fawley discussed Trump’s first year in office, as well as gun issues and the opioid epidemic. Phillips talked about the challenges of being a Democrat in Highland County, where Republicans significantly outnumber Democrats among registered voters.
The Times-Gazette was one of a handful of newspapers in the U.S. to endorse Trump for president, and after Trump’s surprise victory, the newspaper and Hillsboro have been the focus of increased national and even international media attention.
During Monday’s show, Abernathy discussed the newspaper’s endorsement of Trump last November, the president’s performance so far, and other local and national issues.
The theme of the BBC’s tour is “Trump’s Towns.” Last November, Trump carried Highland County with 76 percent of the vote, while winning Ohio by about 8 percent over Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton. After its Hillsboro visit, the program will venture to Waxahachie, Texas, next Wednesday, and then visit Phoenix, Arizona, next Friday.
Abernathy said host Nuala McGovern, producer Arja Haikonen and their technical crew were talented professionals who made a point of exploring the town, patronizing local establishments and taking an in-depth look at the issues in the community.
“It was a pleasure to host the crew from BBC Radio,” said Abernathy. “They said they might come back at the end of President Trump’s first term, and we hope they do.”
For a few days, both hours of the BBC broadcast from Hillsboro can be heard online at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172vrb5cv0szbh and http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/w172vrb5cv0t32m#play.