Voter guide 2023: In three-way Brimfield race, candidates emphasize keeping services at pace with growth

image of the brimfield town hall, a white siding and brick building, on a cloudy day
Brimfield Township Townhall Natalie Wolford/The Portager

Brimfield Trustee Sue Fields will face Bob Losey and write-in candidate James McKey this election season.

The Portager’s Around Brimfield columnist Shirley Mars sent a questionnaire to Fields and Losey and shared their responses in her Oct. 2 column.

Fields told Mars she has been a Brimfield resident for 37 years.

“My qualifications include 30 years in corporate business as a human resources administrator for local businesses (Goodyear Aerospace, Ohio Brass and Mansfield Tire and Rubber). I also have 27 years experience as a Brimfield Township trustee, past president of the Brimfield Chamber of Commerce, eight years president of the Brimfield Community Food Cupboard and past secretary for the Portage County Township Association,” Fields told Mars.

Fields said she aims to continue serving township residents and see projects in which she is involved through to completion. She said she brings “a calm, logical decision-making process to the board [of trustees], with a high degree of integrity.”

“My biggest concern is a controlled growth in compliance with the township’s resident-approved Land Use Plan,” she said.

Should she be re-elected, Field said she would like to “continue organizing community activities such as our annual Brimfest and various parks and recs activities where the residents can have face-to-face conversations.”

Losey told Mars he has lived in Brimfield for 30 years and recently retired after a 43-year engineering career at Goodyear. He said his experience in “trying to accomplish more with less” will translate well to wisely managing township funds.

“I care about Brimfield and want to see it be the best version of itself, whether that be the safety of the residents, managed growth or better recreational opportunities. Since retiring, I now have the time where I can fully devote myself to being a township trustee,” Losey told Mars.

He said he will bring “a fresh set of eyes to the current board,” as well as “a strong desire to set achievable goals that will benefit community members.”

Losey told Mars he has seen Brimfield’s considerable growth and believes the township’s services need to keep pace.

“I think that the police, fire and roads departments have done a decent job, the parks are starting to grow, but more can be done. Youth activities are an area where I feel there is more opportunity. The new library and soccer fields will be a great asset. Of course, anything that can be done to improve safety for the community needs to be a top concern. In that regard, working to complete the new fire station should be a priority,” he said.

Write-in candidate McKey has lived in Brimfield for more than 50 years and has worked in the medical field for more than two decades.

“My mission statement is to bring transparency to Brimfield Township government, be a voice for the residents and do what they think is right for their side of town, to slow down industrial development so the fire department, EMS, police and road crew can catch up, and there are no more mistakes. Let’s have a plan so things can be done right the first time,” McKey said.

He said he would prioritize completion of Brimfield’s new fire station, which he said seems to have stalled. Ensuring township rules and regulations already in place are followed and that township officials are doing what they should also tops McKey’s to-do list.

Alleging that the township is growing “way too fast,” he said Brimfield is gaining too many businesses and housing developments, placing a stress on township schools. Classes must be limited to 25 or 26 students, he said.

“I saw exactly the direction of Brimfield Township, and I didn’t really like the direction it was headed. I’m hearing a lot of people are not being heard by the zoning aspects of things here in the township, and the industrial development is, I believe, going too fast. It should be slowed down to make sure it’s done properly the first time,” he said.

Above all, McKey said he would like honesty and transparency to be at the forefront of what Brimfield Township’s leaders do for their residents.

An advocate of First Amendment free speech rights, McKey said he objected to a township government official removing a resident’s comment from the township’s Facebook page, allegedly because he or she disagreed with the content. The issue was raised in a recent trustee meeting, he said.

“The First Amendment is very important: freedom of speech. It must be maintained and only censored if extremely necessary or there’s any sort of criminality or risk of any type of health or injury that could possibly or potentially be involved,” he said.

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Wendy DiAlesandro is a former Record Publishing Co. reporter and contributing writer for The Portager.