Stewart, Woods face off in commissioner race


CLINTON COUNTY — Incumbent Brenda Woods and May Stewart, the general manager at Charlie’s Bar & Concessions at the Murphy Theatre, are facing off in one of two Clinton County Commissioner primary races in the March 19 Republican primary election.

Woods has served as county commissioner for two terms and previously served as the Wayne Township fiscal officer, executive assistant to former Wilmington Mayor Randy Riley, and clerk/assistant county administrator for the commissioners. Stewart has served as the election clerk at the Board of Elections and was president of the Wilmington Republican Women’s Club.

Woods told the News Journal she hopes to “continue seeking the will of the public” if reelected to the role.

“Being accessible and listening to the many ideas and suggestions of area residents has been a cornerstone to my service in this position. I pledge to continue seeking the will of the public as we work together in moving our county in a positive direction,” said Woods.

Stewart advised she decided to quit her job as the election clerk in October, feeling county money wasn’t being well spent.

“As a county employee and taxpayer I felt like I had to do something about the outrageous way money was being spent and employees were being treated,” said Stewart.

When it comes to issues in the county, Woods said she feels the most pressing issues in the county are affordable housing and improved infrastructure. She told the News Journal that both must be developed simultaneously to meet the growing needs of residents and businesses.

“I will continue partnering with our Port Authority and economic development offices to provide access to desired infrastructure as a way of attracting diverse companies. Upgrades to such services as water, sewer, and broadband internet will benefit both residents and businesses alike,” she said. “By working with developers to provide adequate housing while adhering to the County’s Comprehensive Plan, we will ensure that the needs of our growing community are being met without sacrificing the things we love about living in rural, Southwest Ohio.”

Stewart said that as the community grows, they need to work with multiple agencies and not just within the county departments.

“Our county is continuing to grow and we welcome more growth. As a commissioner, one of my goals would be to build working connections between, not only county departments, but agencies and stockholders to create accessible services and resources for all of our constituents,” said Stewart.

She added she feels there’s a need to work together in the county.

“While I understand the leadership of each township, city, village and county department has their own specific responsibilities, I feel it is totally important that coordination and cooperation be encouraged and facilitated,” she said.

When it comes to what sets them apart from each other, Woods highlighted her experience with the various aspects of county government and her full-time role as a commissioner as to why she’s qualified.

“While serving in this role, I have gained a unique understanding of projects dealing with community growth, employment, finances, and governing policies. This expertise will allow me to assist Clinton County in maintaining a positive trajectory,” said Woods.

Stewart highlighted her people skills and how she’ll work with community members to make her tenure successful.

“I listen when people speak to me and I am thoughtful when I make decisions. I have empathy and hold all people in high regard. I’m a people person,” said Stewart.

In their final words for the voters, both believe their respective experiences make them qualified candidates for the position.

“As a lifelong resident of Clinton County with over 36 years of public service, I am humbled by the confidence and trust you have afforded me as your county commissioner. It has been an absolute pleasure serving and collaborating with the many wonderful residents of our community,” said Woods. “If re-elected, I promise to continue my commitment and dedication to ensuring that Clinton County will move forward, all the while remembering what makes us unique.”

“I was a special education teacher and counselor for over 20 years. To support being a teacher, I worked and managed restaurants and bars. I volunteer and support my church, Wilmington Church of the Nazarene,” said Stewart. “I have a servant’s heart and I am happiest serving others. I want to serve the people of Clinton County respectfully and fiscally responsibly.”

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