Editor’s note — This is the fourth of four stories detailing the four candidates running for Highland County commissioner seats in the Nov. 6 General Election. For a full term seat commencing Jan. 1, 2019, Republican incumbent Jeff Duncan will oppose Democrat John Dale Knauff; and for an unexpired term ending Jan. 1, 2021, Republican Gary Abernathy, who has filled the seat since Shane Wilkin resigned this summer to become a state representative, will oppose Democrat Randy Mustard.
While he was unsuccessful in two previous bids to win a seat on the Highland County Board of Commissioners, Randy Mustard believes he is the best candidate for the job.
A 1978 graduate of McClain High School in Greenfield, Mustard started working at Computer Stock Forms while he was still in high school, stayed there for 13 years, started and has operated his own trucking business for the past 26 years, and has served 19 years as a Paint Township trustee.
Mustard has also served on the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District Board of Directors and Highland District Hospital Governing Board.
Mustard said he was also appointed to help bring a health clinic to the Rocky Lake area, a facility for which Highland District Hospital recently broke ground. The clinic’s tentative opening date is March of next year.
“I think I have a little bit of experience through my 19 years as a township trustee,” Mustard said in an interview this week. “I know things are a little different in the commissioners office, but we have made ends meet here for the last 19 years. I think I can turn it around a little bit and make things work.”
Mustard, who ran for commissioner two and four years ago, said if he is elected, the most important tasks he would like to work on in the next four years are identifying more funding for the Highland County Sheriff’s Office and working more progressively on economic development.
“I think a lot of things could stand some improvement, and another big thing is grants,” he said. “I think there’s some grants out there that could possibly help the county out.”
He said he recently helped the Paint Township Trustees secure a $50,000 grant from the Ohio Department of Transportation to upgrade road signs in the township.
“My biggest thing is trying to help the sheriff’s office secure more money and get more deputies on the road, and get a handle on the drug problem,” Mustard said. “And I’d like to do something to help the factories we have stay here, and try to find something else to fill the vacant buildings.”
Mustard says he is not sure where money for the sheriff’s office would come from, but that there may be grants that could help.
Mustard said he would like to see the commissioners office work more closely with the communities it serves.
“I’d like to make sure everyone’s voice in the county is heard through the commissioners office,” he said. “And I wouldn’t be opposed to having some commissioners meetings at other locations in the county than Hillsboro, especially if there’s an issue that’s important to a specific area.”
While he said he’s not sure how the county can recoup about $800,000 in annual sales tax revenue lost due to a federal directive, he said he thinks his agricultural background can be a benefit to many of the county’s residents.
“The main thing is I live on a farm, I know the agricultural part of things, and I understand where farmers are coming from and what they need,” Mustard said. “I want to make things as good for young farmers as we can, because we all know they’re the ones that are going to be taking over for us.”
Reach Jeff Gilliland at 937-402-2522.