By DENISE GRANT
The Republican race for Findlay’s 3rd Ward City Council seat is being contested by two write-in candidates, and neither name will appear on the primary election ballot.
The write-in candidates are Melissa Humphress, 65, of 915 E. Sandusky St., and Beth Warnecke, 57, of 1822 Windsor Place.
Current 3rd Ward Councilwoman Dina Ostrander is not seeking re-election.
There is no Democratic candidate for the post. Independent candidates have until 4 p.m. May 6 to file for the general election ballot.
Humphress said she was prompted to run for Findlay Council after “having witnessed firsthand this past year the arrogance of some elected officials. I can understand a person’s reluctance to run for office. It was this arrogance on the part of some of those officials, however, that prompted me to run.”
Humphress is the aunt of Matthias Leguire, of 830 E. Sandusky St., who has been at odds with council for more than a year, mostly over the city’s zoning code. Leguire is also seeking election to Findlay Council, as an at-large representative.
Humphress has never held or sought a public office in the past, but is running now, she said, to be “a candidate for the citizenry, for the constituents in my ward.”
Humphress is retired. She is a former employee of Cintas First Aid and Safety, and worked as a job coach for Capabilities Inc.
“In the modern world, the Constitution of the United States has been the blueprint for the most prosperous nation in history,” Humphress said. “Personal property rights are vitally important to us as a city and a nation.”
Warnecke said she is looking to follow in her father’s footsteps and try something new.
She is a business owner.
“My father was on city council in another city, and I thought I would like to follow in his footsteps. Also, I would like to have an inside look at city government,” Warnecke said.
“I believe we grow as a person as we try new things and allow ourselves to have new experiences. I cannot say that I have created a ‘platform.’ I believe in making decisions on issues by being logical and fiscally responsible with taxpayer dollars.”
As a council representative, Warnecke said she believes her primary role would be to listen to the concerns of residents of her ward and bring them to council, or direct residents to the appropriate department to get an answer for their issues.
Warnecke did offer some opinions on the issues affecting the city, including the need for affordable housing, the city’s rising suicide and overdose rate, and the overwhelmed foster care system.
Instead of providing low-income housing, she said, perhaps “we should look at providing job training so people can find a higher-paying job and afford housing,” she said. “There are a lot of the new companies on the north side of Findlay looking for truck drivers and it only takes, on average, seven weeks to get your CDL license. Most of the factories appear to be hiring as well.”
Warnecke said suicide rates, overdoses and the overwhelmed foster care system are directly related to drug use.
“We need to focus on prevention, which will lower all of these numbers. It is a better chance to stop someone from using drugs than the 10 percent chance of success of breaking the addiction of heroin,” she said.
Findlay Council members are elected for two-year terms. A council member’s pay this year is $7,209, and members will receive the same pay raise percentage, if any, as other city employees in 2020.
Third Ward residents who want to vote in the write-in contest, either during early voting or on Election Day, May 7, must ask poll workers for an instruction sheet on how to cast the ballot using the electronic voting machines.
The instruction sheet will list Humphress and Warnecke as the write-in candidates.
Absentee ballots will not list the candidates, but do provide space to enter a write-in candidate’s name where the office is listed.
Absentee ballots will be accepted until May 6.
If mailed, absentee ballots must be postmarked by the day before the election in order to be counted.
EDITOR’S NOTE: The names of Melissa Humphress’ former employers have been corrected in this story.