Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, The Daily Sentinel will be running articles allowing the candidates in contested races to introduce themselves and tell the voters why they are running for office. Each candidate is asked, in their own words, to respond to two questions — tell us about yourself and why are you running for this office.
MEIGS COUNTY — Voters will be deciding between two candidates in the race for Meigs County Sheriff — incumbent Keith Wood and Republican challenger Mony Wood.
Candidates, along with their responses submitted to The Daily Sentinel, are listed below in alphabetical order.
Keith O. Wood
Tell us about yourself:
It has been an honor and privilege to have served and protected the citizens of Meigs County for the past 8 years as your Sheriff. I am again seeking your support for a third term.
I am an Eastern Local alumnus, a graduate of Hocking College with an Associates in Police Science, and Ohio Hunter Education Instructor.
I am a lifelong resident of Meigs County, served as a Meigs County deputy sheriff, and served as the Ohio State Wildlife Officer/Investigator for 29 years. In total, I have 43 years in law enforcement.
Memberships include: Shade River Masonic Lodge, Farm Bureau, NRA, Meigs County Ikes, Ohio Cattlemen’s Association and the Ohio Hereford Association, Buckeye State Sheriff’s Association and National Sheriff’s Association.
Special appointments include: ODNR Honor Guard and Deputy US Marshal
Programs created or taken part in during the past 8 years include: Loyalty is Forever, Shop with a Cop, Hooked on Fishing Not on Drugs, Prevention Coalition, Tip Line, Treat Street, School Safety Council and Task Force.
I am lucky to have a family that has supported me and endured my not being present at many holidays and special occasions. My parents are Evelyn Wood and and the late Ivan Wood. My siblings and their spouses are Bonnie Wood Warner (Gary Warner), Lora Wood Bing (Jim Bing) and brother Rodney Wood. My wife, of soon to be 19 years, is Julia Houdashelt Wood. My children and their spouses are Chelsey Wood Burton (Josh Burton), Jordan Wood (Brittany Durst Wood), and Olivia Wood. My grandchildren are Grant Burton and Greyson Wood.
Why I decided to run for this office?
The reason I ran for Sheriff in 2012 was to bring many positive aspects to Meigs County. My focus was mainly on the youth in our community. My primary goal/promise in 2012, was to bring officers into the schools not only to provide security but to bridge the gap between the officer and the student. In 2012, our community was overridden with drug problems. The goal/promise I had at that time and have continued to work on within the last 8 years, was to make community policing a priority. Another goal/promise I had was to have a K9 officer and to create a drug task force within the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office. My commitment as your sheriff is to be ahead of the problem by providing more training for the officers while maintaining the connection we already have made within our various programs. The effort of the Major Crimes Task Force, our K9, deputies, and drug interdiction team have proven to be very successful. Since 2013, we have made countless arrests and seized over 10 million dollars of illegal drugs off the streets of Meigs County. My efforts and message of “Not in our backyard” will continue to be the number one priority. We must continue to fight this battle and find help for those that struggle with addiction.
Another priority that I have as Sheriff is to seek an answer and a solution to housing. Housing has become a very serious expense to the taxpayers of Meigs County. Budget, unknown expenses, and staying within budget is something I have always worked one on one with each of the commissioners to maintain a balanced budget.
My promises made in 2012 have been accomplished, my goals today are to keep those promises. Please support me Nov. 3rd.
Tell us about yourself:
My name is Mony Wood and I am your Republican candidate for Meigs County Sheriff.
I live in Racine, Ohio, with my wonderful wife Stephanie. Together, we have five children and one grandchild.
I am a Meigs County native of over 48 years. I have been in law enforcement since 1993, when I was hired as a Deputy Sheriff under Sheriff Soulsby. I then became the first D.A.R.E officer in Meigs County, teaching our youth the dangers of drugs and importance of making good choices for 6 years. During my time as a deputy with the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office, I served as a Lieutenant and Jail Administrator. I learned a lot from the “behind the scenes” work of the Sheriff’s Office, including how the budget was created and maintained every year.
In 2007, I was hired to the Middleport Police Department in order to help re-open the jail facility. I worked directly with the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (ODRC) in order to create and update policies and procedures. It was through that work that the Middleport Police Department was able to re-open their four-inmate facility to hold inmates once again. From 2010 to 2012, I was promoted to Sergeant, Lieutenant, Jail Administrator, and finally Assistant Chief. I was again, tasked with working with the ODRC in order to build a 16-inmate facility. This facility was funded through a loan, as opposed to burdening the taxpayers of Middleport. Since 2012, the Middleport Jail has been able to house inmates throughout Southeast Ohio.
Why I decided to run for this office?
My plan to improve the Meigs County Sheriff’s Office has four important components:
I know from personal experience how difficult our Deputies have it day in and day out. Too many times, I see their hard work and dedication down-played and often viewed as the work of one person. As Sheriff, I will work hand-in-hand with them daily by covering dispatch, patrolling, and transporting inmates in order to not only help relieve some of their already stressful days, but because I believe in leading from the front.
As previously stated, through my years of experience within law enforcement and other professional experiences, I believe I can run an effective and respected department that will work with the County Commissioners in order to stay within the allowed balanced quarterly budget. I will utilize manpower efficiently and keep the administrative staff to a minimum. Communication and a strong working relationship with my deputies will lead to a lower forced overtime rate and will reduce unnecessary spending within the department.
As your Sheriff, I will be available to all citizens within Meigs County. I will work side-by-side with the Meigs County Commissioners and other elected officials to continually work to make Meigs County better. I will also equip, empower, and support my deputies. Whether they are on the road patrolling, completing investigations and reports, or simply providing a known presence in order to deter crime, I will always have their back.
Meigs County has been and always will be my home. I love this county enough to put my life on the line for its citizen’s every day, and the deputies of Meigs County do just the same. They deserve our love and support. Now I ask for your support Nov. 3, 2020.
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