The president of Hillsboro City Council plans to run for Highland County Commissioner in the 2016 Republican primary election.
Lee Koogler, who has served on city council since 2006 and as council president since 2010, said Friday he has pulled petitions for the commission seat currently held by Tom Horst, who is not seeking re-election.
Commission seats currently held by Horst and Shane Wilkin are up next year. They are two different terms, with the seat held by Wilkin commencing Jan. 2, 2017, the seat held by Horst starting Jan. 3, 2017.
Koogler, 41, said that after serving several years on council he believes his experiences have prepared him for a “greater role and influence in the county.”
“I’ve been thinking about it for some time,” said Koogler, a local attorney. He said that if elected he would push for the county to come up with a 5-10 year economic development plan and work on establishing the best role for Highland County to play in in the region to enhance the local economic climate.
Koogler said that after serving a decade in the legislative side of government, he is excited about the possibility of being part of a body that not only legislatives but is able to take executive action and put plans into motion.
Koogler is a 1992 graduate of Hillsboro High School. He earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Cincinnati and his law degree from the University of Dayton in 2000. He was admitted to the bar in 2001 and has practiced in Hillsboro since then.
He and his wife, Katharine, reside on Meadow Lane in Hillsboro with their three children, Abigail, 10, and twins Hannah and Michael, 8.
Koogler was elected to council at-large in 2005, then ran for president of council and won that seat in 2009. He was re-elected as council president in 2013.
Horst confirmed Friday he is not seeking reelection.
“After two terms as commissioner, three terms as sheriff, five years with the attorney general’s office, a year-and-a- half with Homeland Security, 10 years with the Hillsboro Police Department and two years with the Lynchburg Police Department, it’s time,” said Horst, recounting his career.
Horst said that after four decades in law enforcement and public service, “I think it’s time for somebody else.” He said he still enjoys his job and working with fellow commissioners Wilkin and Jeff Duncan. Duncan took office this year after winning election in 2014.
Meanwhile, early voting continues for this year’s election. In-person early voting in Highland County takes place in Hillsboro at the board office at 1575 N. High St., Suite 200. Hours of operation for the board office during early voting are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday).
During week four of early voting, the hours will be:
• 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. on each weekday (Monday through Friday).
• 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the Saturday before Election Day
• 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. on the Sunday before Election Day
• 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the Monday before Election Day.
Election boards began mailing absentee ballots at the start of the early voting period to those who have requested them. Voters must complete, sign and seal their voted ballots, taking care to provide the required information, including proper identification, said Husted.
Voted ballots must be postmarked the day before Election Day and received no later than the 10th day after the election (Nov. 13, 2015). Absentee ballots may also be delivered in person to boards of elections no later than the close of the polls on Election Day. They may not be returned at polling locations.
Voters have until Saturday, Oct. 31 at noon to request an absentee ballot by mail, though they should do it as soon as possible to allow for plenty of time to receive, complete and return their ballot. In addition to the statewide mailing, voters can also get an absentee ballot by contacting their county board of elections for more information. Election Day is Nov. 3.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.