Photo by Stan Diamond / Observer-Reporter
A member of League of Women Voters of Washington County, briefs candidates for commissioner before a recent forum at Washington & Jefferson College.

Bickering marks commissioner races

BY JON STEVENS, Staff writer

WAYNESBURG - If there is one common thread running through the campaigns of the six Democratic candidates for Greene County commissioner, it is the need to improve the county's infrastructure.

But if James Rizor, Greg Ayersman, Dave Coder, Tom Boyd, Miles Davin Jr. and Pam Snyder are not talking about water and sewers, they are discussing ways to create jobs and attract businesses here.

The interesting thing about all this is that jobs, new business and infrastructure are all tied together. Simply, without water and sewerage systems in place, attracting business, whether high tech or light industry, is unlikely.

These issues make for popular political rhetoric. Who wouldn't want a sound infrastructure that would enable companies to locate here and employ county residents?

The question before the voters is which candidates can deliver. The answer will not be quick in coming. As one candidate said, it is easy to say expand the infrastructure, but it is hard to find the money to do it.

There is little doubt the money is available for improving the county's economic climate, but the money is not sitting in the county's treasury. For any ambitious project, state and federal money would have to be acquired.

And frankly, listening to speeches about water and sewers probably doesn't stir voter fervor.

But up to this point the campaign for commissioner has been void of contentious name-calling and general rancor. For some, this makes for boring politics. For others, this is what politics is all about - addressing issues that are deemed to have the greatest appeal to the electorate.

Whether voters can distinguish among the positions of the six Democratic
candidates will be decided May 20.