MEDINA — Longtime Medina County Commissioner Steve Hambley wants to succeed Ohio House Speaker William G. Batchelder as the representative from the 69th District.
Batchelder, 70, of Medina, can’t run for re-election because of term limits imposed by the Ohio Constitution.
“I have supported and worked with Bill Batchelder for many years, first as a Brunswick City Council member and then as a county commissioner and am saddened to see him being forced to leave the House in 2015,” said Hambley, 59, of Brunswick.
“But with the creation of that open seat, I would be honored to represent the interests of Medina County residents at the state level, just as I have faithfully served them over the last 17 years as county commissioner.”
Hambley’s statements came in a news release issued Monday announcing his candidacy in the May 2014 Republican primary.
The 69th House District includes the eastern portion of Medina County, including the cities of Medina and Wadsworth and one of the city of Brunswick’s four wards; the villages of Lodi, Chippewa Lake, Gloria Glens Park, Seville and Westfield Center; and Granger, Guilford, Harrisville, Hinckley, Lafayette, Medina, Montville and Sharon townships and portions of Brunswick Hills and York township. The rest of the county is in House District 70.
Hambley has served as one of Medina County’s three commissioners since 1997. He also served two separate terms as a Brunswick city councilman — 1991 to 1993 and 1995 to 1996. As a councilman, he chaired the Planning and Zoning and Economic Development committees.
Since becoming commissioner, he has served on the county Emergency Management Agency Executive Committee and on the Medina County Drug Task Force and Council of Governments Governing Board, where he was vice chairman from 1997 to 2011.
Hambley also has served as president of the Northeast Ohio Areawide Coordinating Agency, the metropolitan planning agency for the five-county Cleveland area, in 2001, 2006 and 2011, and remains Medina’s representative to that group.
County Republican Party leaders Monday said they were happy to see Hambley in the race.
“As far as I’m concerned, Steve has always been dedicated to Medina County and has served for the past 17 years always with the county’s best interests in mind,” said party Chairwoman Nancy Abbott. “I think he’ll bring what’s needed for the future for our county and the state.”
Vice Chairwoman Sharon Ray was equally enthusiastic.
“Steve Hambley has always been a top-notch public servant and I’m sure, given the opportunity, he will serve the citizens of Medina County well in the House,” Ray said.
Democratic Party Chairman John Welker said Hambley’s decision to enter the race isn’t a surprise.
“I think everyone in the county knew that was going to happen,” he said.
Welker said the seat will not be won without a fight from his party.
“He has a history of success on Council and as commissioner,” Welker said. “But any time you have an open seat, there’s always the opportunity for people to come in and beat strong opponents.”
Hambley has until Feb. 5 to obtain 50 valid signatures from county voters and submit his official petition for declaration of candidacy for the two-year term of state office. The primary vote will be held May 6.
Hambley’s term as county commissioner continues until 2016. If he is elected to the General Assembly, the Republican Party will appoint someone to finish Hambley’s unexpired term.
Contact reporter Dan Pompili at (330) 721-4012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.