Warren County Commission incumbent faces longtime local mayor in GOP primary

Warren County Republicans have a choice in the May 3 primary election that features two well-known area candidates for county commissioner.

Former Lebanon mayor Amy Brewer is challenging incumbent Commissioner Tom Grossmann who is seeking re-election to a third term on the Board of County Commissioners.

Both have served as members of, or have led, multiple civic and nonprofit organizations in Warren County as well as in their home communities of Lebanon and Mason.

County commissioners have four-year terms and are paid $96,868 a year.

The Incumbent

Tom Grossmann is serving in 2022 as the commission president, which is annually rotated among the three commissioners.

Grossmann said he is seeking re-election because he wants to continue to serve the public and to ensure that the county is run based upon conservative policies.

“My word is true and can be trusted,” Grossmann said. “I have a proven conservative record of accomplishment because I am trustworthy.”

“I have kept taxes, spending and debt low; promoted infrastructure and business development; and provided the county with excellent public services and amenities,” Grossmann said. “The commission gave county taxpayers a tax holiday of almost $47 million on the county’s real estate taxes payable in 2022. The county also has less than $1 million in general fund debt, which we will pay off this year.”

He said voters should select him because of his proven record of success and accomplishments that have made Warren County strong and an extremely attractive community for families and businesses.

If re-elected to a new term, Grossmann said the county needs to continue to promote balanced growth to maintain its tax base so public services can be maintained and improved, including properly funding county offices and upgrading and improving county facilities; improving county infrastructure and roads to keep up with business and population growth; and maintaining the county’s top bond rating of Aaa from Moody’s Investment Services received in 2017, 2019 and in 2021.

Grossmann said the commissioners will carefully review the county’s budget needs in conjunction with its annual revenues so residents are not paying more taxes than what is needed for county operations. In addition to the property tax holiday for 2022, he said commissioners plan to roll back the county sales tax by 0.25% after paying off the remaining debt by June 2023 on the new county jail that opened under budget last fall. The county has less than $1 million in general obligation debt that will be retired in 2022.

Grossmann said the county is working to meet workforce needs of local businesses and working with the county engineer to fund new road and intersection projects across the county.

In addition to serving as commission president this year, Grossmann worked 10 years as an assistant prosecutor in the Hamilton County Prosecutor’s Civil Division; 27 years and a partner at the law firm Taft, Stettinius & Hollister; and nearly six years as assistant general counsel for Montedison S.p.A, a company based in Milan, Italy. He also served 11 years as Mason City Council member including terms as mayor and vice mayor.

The Challenger

Amy Brewer said she’s been humbled and blessed to have spent her life dedicated to public service.

In December 2021, Brewer stepped down as a member of Lebanon City Council after 32 years that included 20 years as mayor. She was appointed as member of the Lebanon Planning Commission several months ago.

“I wish to continue to be that voice to serve, inspire and help lead this incredible county,” she said, “to be an elected leader who is humble and works to establish a true working relationship and understanding of those they serve.”

“I believe my leadership skills, ability to connect with the public and energy to think out of the box brings a new and fresh approach to problem solving and moving in a good direction,” Brewer said.

She described herself as “passionate” because she lives her life with passion and a positive attitude and energy in all that she does.

Brewer quoted former President Ronald Reagan by noting, “The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. He is the one that gets the people to do the greatest things.”

“Our county is blessed with outstanding staff and employees who work tirelessly each and every day. The credit goes to their work ethic and commitment,” she said.

If elected, Brewer outlined her top three priorities: confronting the mental health crisis; addressing workforce challenges in small businesses and industry; and advocating and supporting Warren County law enforcement and first responders.

Brewer wants to confront the mental health crisis by establishing open lines of communication with mental health leaders. She wants to effectively promote and utilize county mental health resources for increased accessibility to those in need, utilizing the expertise of county administration, staff and law enforcement. Brewer also wants to leverage public and private service organizations to tap into resources that are available to Warren County residents.

If elected as a commissioner she wants to establish a true working relationship with all local elected leaders and business representatives throughout the county to support efforts and opportunities to help them grow and prosper, she said. In addition, she wants to increase the understanding of the individual needs and priorities of cities and townships and how the county can best assist them.

She also said the county has always supported its law enforcement and first responders. Brewer said those efforts need to continue as we look at a changing society and the pressure placed on those who serve and protect us.

A retired Lebanon school teacher, she is a tour manager with Classic Student Tours.

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