Democrat Jim Dugan and Republican Jason Wuliger are vying for Lake County Commissioner in the Nov. 3 election.

Jim Dugan, Democrat

Background and experience

• Assistant Prosecutor, Lake County Prosecutor’s Office

• Attorney in private practice in Painesville, Ohio

• Democratic precinct committee member

• Former in-house counsel, the Cafaro Company

• Former member, Painesville City School Board

• Former member, Perry Village Planning Commission

Why you?

• “My law and government experience far exceed my opponent,” said Dugan, adding he has practiced law for 40 years, including 33 years working for Lake County. His time with Lake County includes roles as assistant public defender, juvenile court referee/law clerk, and assistant county prosecutor.

Priorities

• Financial stability. Such stability is necessary to “keep Lake County jobs and provide Lake County citizens with the highest quality government services,” he said.

Plan to address the pandemic

• Follow experts’ advice. Dugan said county officials and the public must “follow the advice and recommendations of Dr. (Anthony) Fauci and other expert doctors and scientists, and at a minimum, wear masks and socially distance in public places.”

Plan to address systemic racism

• Enforce current anti-discrimination laws

• Investment in communities allows Lake County residents to “have safe, affordable housing, quality health care, and quality jobs,” Dugan said.

• Education. Dugan seeks more of a focus on African Americans’ contributions to the country as part of education curricula. Schools need to do a better job focusing on “the contributions of Black Americans to the success of our nation, like the thousands of Black soldiers who fought in the Civil War, or Sojourner Truth’s contributions to the women’s suffrage movement,” Dugan said.

Jason Wuliger, Republican

Background and experience

Jason Wuligar

Wuliger

• President, Nachshon Ventures

• Special prosecutor, Lake County Common Pleas Court

• Vice president, co-founder, SplashLink.com

• Former acting judge, Willoughby Municipal Court

• Former magistrate and deputy chief of staff, Lake County Juvenile Court

• Former assistant prosecutor in felony division of Lake County Prosecutor’s Office

• Former Lake County recorder

Why you?

• Wuliger cites his experience as a businessman and previous leadership positions in the county as evidence that he is the right person for the job. This experience sets him apart from his opponent and is essential given the various challenges the community is facing, he said. “Given the challenges we are facing, we cannot afford to elect someone who would need to learn on the job.”

Priorities

• Wuliger said his “No. 1 priority will be helping our families and communities recover from the impacts of COVID-19.” He added his experience as a small business owner allows him to understand what it will take for businesses to recover. In fact, Wuliger said he is already working with the business community on recovery. “Working with the Lake County business community and cooperating with officials at the local, state, and federal level, I have been taking care of our community and leading Lake County back.”

• Wuliger wants to see stricter enforcement of drug dealers, especially given the impact of opioids on the community. There is a need to “push back harder than ever on the drug dealers that are selling poison in our communities,” he said. His experience as a former assistant prosecutor and current special prosecutor, along with his work with law enforcement and nonprofits makes him uniquely qualified on drug enforcement, he said. “I know the difference between those that need treatment and those that need to be locked up,” Wuliger said.

• Wuliger said lower taxes and workforce training are essential to help the local economy recover by helping both small businesses and individuals. Workforce training is especially effective, Wuliger said as local manufacturers are hiring, but are having trouble finding qualified applicants.

Plan to address the pandemic

• Wuliger said he believes an essential part of his job will be getting people safely back to work. This approach is especially true, he said, because the local health departments and hospital systems are already ably handling the health response. To Wuliger, getting residents back to work can come through several means, he said. These approaches include facilitating access to personal protective equipment to make going to work safer, microgrants to prevent small businesses from closing, or providing greater access to job training to help residents re-enter the workforce.

Plan to address systemic racism

• Recognize the importance of this issue and the moral imperative to act. “Wherever we see oppression, we need to speak out. Wherever we see opportunities to improve our corner of the world, we need to act,” Wuliger said.

• Wuliger said he supports continued funding of best practices in policing that have been endorsed by both local police chiefs and civil rights activists.


Stephen Langel is a freelance writer from Pepper Pike.

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