The News Journal asked the two Republican candidates for City of Wilmington 1st Ward Council in the May 7 primary election to provide answers to the below questions. Below is the verbatim response of Matthew Swindler.
Mathew Robert — After my grandfather on my Dad’s side – Swindler
Education: WHS Graduate of 04’. Received my certificate to be a firefighter from Hocking Technical College but decided to join Marine Corps which became the school of hard knocks. Took many Marine Corps continuing education classes like personal finances, weapon capabilities, or squad maneuver tactics. More importantly to my life-education, I shadowed and apprenticed under professionals in fields from logistics to leadership; men that kept me and many more alive. I was actively, and hands on educated on how leaders in these fields accomplished tasks. Not only accomplished but done better than expected, with less to work with. After the Marine Corps I took some time to reeducate myself to be a normal citizen again. I was a stay at home dad to three beautiful girls and decided to start the journey to becoming my own small business owner in the city that I loved. That’s when I enrolled in the Dayton School of Medical Massage. After 14 hard months and long nights I became a licensed Massage Therapist in January of 2019.
Family/Wilmington background: For as far back as I can think the Swindlers have been a name someone has either done business with, went to in school with, plays bridge with, or just knows personally in one way, shape, or form. That starts when your grandparents, Bob and Pat Swindler, own their own small-town business and have 5 children, one being my father Gerry Swindler. That small-town business being Swindler and Sons Florist which has always felt like a second home to me; the people who work there are like family. My Mother Judy (Kahlhamer) Swindler has been with Pitzer Family Eye Care since it was Clinton Optical, doing eye exams and fitting people into frames for 35 years. If you’re wondering if you’ve seen her, she the beautiful dark-haired lady with a giant smile that tells you the truth if you look good or not in that frame. I have two very successful and smart sisters in the Medical field as well (Jamie Thompson and Rachel Swindler). All of us still visit multiple times a week, trading off kids, cracking beers, grilling out, and just staying close to one another. There’s also a dozen or so cousins on both sides keeping ties close, and looking out for one another, just like family is supposed to do.
Business and/or public experience: I’ve had more part-time jobs can I can remember but only recently owned my own business. I started my own Medical Massage business, Veteran’s Healing Hands LLC, in March of this year, fulfilling a lifelong goal of being a small business owner in my hometown. I’ve also taken a part-time position at Stromberg Chiropractic as their LMT. I look forward to providing my skill set to another longtime trusted name and establishment in our community. When I first got home from the military, my great friend, Jennifer Woodland, gave me the job that would begin to teach me to talk to people normally again. She was still the owner of the Wilmington famous, First Choice Video, and talking movies all day with people in a low stress environment was exactly what I needed at that time. I can’t thank her enough for all she’s done for me and my fellow veterans over the years. After First Choice Video I was graced with a job at Drayer Physical Therapy as a technician. It was there, under great peer and friend support, that I got to know this town extremely well. It would be comical if it weren’t so sad how many people get hurt and find themselves on the other side of my clip board, hating me for a short amount of time as I guided them through the Doctor’s prescribed exercises. I feel like I know almost all of Wilmington after working at Drayer for 6 years. I’ve met hundreds of you in Wilmington and had thousands of conversations with you all. Laughing most of the time, trading war stories with the older fellas, talking about my grandmother whom everyone knows in some fashion, making small talk, having deep conversations, even crying with some of you. That business of patient care and making people happier caught me and I found what I needed to do with my life; make people smile and feel better. You may wonder why I don’t do something like comedy if that’s the case? Well, I am wickedly funny with great delivery, but I’m extremely good with my hands too, and want to take care of the citizens of 1st Ward and Wilmington personally.
What are your priorities for your term on council should you be elected/re-elected? I hope my term and terms are long enough to see all my hopes for Wilmington come to life. This town is a lifetime project for me, but I guess I must start somewhere. I want to ensure we, as a council, continue to spend responsibly on projects and construction going on around our city. I want to help as more hard work is put into improving our streets. A personal mission of mine is to work with the CCYC and schools in whatever way possible to begin to educate children on the drug epidemic happening in front of them. It’s an ugly subject, but one that needs addressed early and the dangers made apparent and clear; no different than educating children about talking to strangers or wearing a seatbelt. I want to make sure items brought to the council are legislated the way the people of Wilmington would vote and speak for if in my position. I want to ensure work on current infrastructure, as well as new infrastructure, is built to properly house or support our citizens as we continue to grow as a city. I’d like to work closely with the Air Park to support keeping business and jobs here in Wilmington. I want to make sure the city is doing all that it can to help the small business owners keep their doors open and people employed. As a community, we need to be actively thinking of ways to bring in commerce, visitors, and new residents coming to Wilmington.
Are there any specific priorities that you have for the 1st Ward? If so, please detail. My priority is personal attention. I do have my ideas for Wilmington as a whole, but nothing is a short-term mission of mine. Anything worth achieving, is worth putting the time into. Just like I was always was taught from my superiors in the Corps, “Any job worth doing, is worth doing to the best of your abilities.”. If you’re a citizen of 1st Ward, I wouldn’t want but a few months to go by at most before you hear me knocking on your door or leaving a note and number to call. I want to hear personally and look into the eyes of the citizen who has a question or concern for me. I want to give them an answer or do everything I can to help them. I, nor the current representative for 1st Ward or ANY councilman/woman can make laborer’s work harder. In saying that, unless you’re John Stanforth putting on gloves and a hard hat with the road crews, no one can push the project along any faster. However, when elected, I’ll be in direct contact with the project and site managers of goings on in 1st Ward. Not to be a nuisance, or look over their shoulders, but to learn what they are doing and why, to answer whatever questions my constituents may have.
Why should you be elected/re-elected? I’ve worked with people at their most vulnerable, and on several occasions, I’ve been told I’m “a trustworthy man” or that I am “genuine”. When I hear these things, I’m truly flattered that I’m keeping with my family’s good name and making a name for myself in the community as well. I’ve lived paycheck to paycheck. I now produce to provide a proper living for 3 girls, and dog, Bruce Willis. I budget like a like a pro. I budget like a businessman. I budget like a DAD!
What else would you like to say to the people of Wilmington? I’m like you, Wilmington. I’m a red-blooded American who likes apple pies and .45s. Wilmington needs lifelong learners and people with the attitude that “good is never good enough”. I have investments in this city, like a job, business, and children. I want to help create a community my children want to invest their future in, too. I’m here to help provide a safe environment for them and every child to grow up in. I’m running to aid where possible and create jobs and opportunities that employ generations to come. Wilmington is great; I believe it. I just will never stop believing we can achieve more together.