Three vying for township trustee seat

By Allison C. Gallagher -

John Ryman

Michah Mitchell

Ben Sampson

MIAMI COUNTY — Three candidates are running for Elizabeth Township Trustee on Nov. 3, and each bring their own background and focus to the position.

President and general manager of Quality Lawn, Landscape & Fence Inc. John Ryman, city of Troy Firefighter/paramedic Ben Sampson and Belmont High School freshman math teacher and farmer Micah Mitchell have petitioned for the position.

Ryman served as a trustee about two years ago for an eight-month period after being selected by a Miami County judge to fill the position vacated by a retiring trustee, while Sampson and Mitchell are both running for office for the first time.

Reason for running

Ryman credited owning his own business for nearly 30 years for giving him experience with human resources, contractor relationships, scheduling, and safety. He said he has attended about 85-90 percent of all township meetings and through community involvement he has excellent rapport with much of the township community.

“I really enjoy being involved in the community first and foremost,” he said. “I believe that I have a lot of to offer when it comes to having the unique blend of business experience, knowledge, qualifications, and personal attributes, to do a great job for our wonderful township and its residents.”

Sampson’s experience comes from working in the public sector for 11 years for both a large metropolitan city and small township governments. Although he has not held public office before, he felt that in today’s society someone who does not come from a political background could be more appealing to voters.

“Having not been subjected to a background of traditional politics allows me to think outside the box and be more focused on the big picture, and that’s making sure the interests of the residents of Elizabeth Township are met,” he said.

Sampson also added that he and his wife Tiffany have chosen to raise their daughter Bailey here, and he felt the best way to give to the community and broaden the demographic on the board was to run for office.

Mitchell’s experience includes running a business by running the family farm and repairing equipment. He holds a bachelor’s in Computer Information Systems from Cedarville University and a teaching certificate from Wittenberg University.

“My reason for seeking office to serve the community and to provide extra income for my family,” he said, which includes three teenage stepchildren — Noah, Jacob and Rebecca — and three children of his own — Samuel, Catherine and Anna.

Candidates’ goals

Ryman and his wife Carla have lived in the Township for 17 years and raised their two children, Zachary and Gabrielle, there. His main goal if elected would be to continue to make Elizabeth Township a great place to live and raise a family for others.

“This is a beautiful, rural, historical township that is listed on the National Registry of Historical Places and we need to promote and support the preservation of this for our future,” he said.

Ryman’s plan includes maintaining and striving to improve upon the valuable services and amenities that the Township has in place such as the Township Community Center, 24 hour EMS/Fire protection, the farm land preservation program, historic cemeteries, Walnut Grove Learning Center, and carefully monitored road maintenance program.

“These services and amenities are an excellent asset to the township residents and certainly help increase our property values, safety, and quality of life,” he said. “I will reach out to the township residents to hear their concerns, answer questions, and listen to any input and ideas they may have.”

Mitchell also cited historic preservation of the township as his goal for elected office, as well as continuing to be fiscally responsible.

Sampson agreed that fiscal responsibility was one of his goals.

“I want to continue the quality and efficient services that we as residents have access to, but also be an advocate for those with concerns,” he said. “I want to be available and approachable to the residents to make sure their needs are met in any way that I can.”

Greatest need of township

Ryman expressed the need of the township to remain fiscally strong, adding how the township was fortunate to be in the current financial position.

“I plan to make very smart and well thought out financial decisions,” he said. “Any monies spent should be evaluated, budgeted, and planned, based on need and careful consideration to the financial impact to the township.”

Sampson said maintaining quality public safety and roads in cost effective ways was the township’s greatest needs.

“It’s also important to me to promote an open channel of communication with the residents,” he said. “After being out and speaking with the residents, many have voiced their favor for having a younger person on the board of trustees that may have a different perspective on issues.”

John Ryman Ryman

Michah Mitchell Mitchell

Ben Sampson Sampson

By Allison C. Gallagher