Matt Von Stein wants to serve a second term on Hamilton City Council “to continue with the momentum we have right now,” with various economic development projects that have the city on the rise, he said.
The biggest challenge going forward for Hamilton is job creation, which can solve other issues the city has, he said.
Von Stein, 42, cited such projects as the Spooky Nook Sports Champion Mill immense indoor sports complex and convention center, which now is under construction; the 80 Acres indoor farming operation that has expanded into the city and made Hamilton its headquarters; the Kirsch CPA Group, which moved to Hamilton’s downtown from Fairfield; and ODW Logistic, which is expanding in the city; as well as “all the new restaurants we have going on,” as examples of recent success.
“Hamilton needs to keep up with that momentum,” he said.
80 Acres will be “the largest utility user in Hamilton, and that’s big for Hamilton,” after losing large industries, including the Champion and Beckett paper companies, as well as the Ohio Casualty insurance company, he said. The more large utility users the city can attract, the lower it can keep its residential utility rates, city leaders have said.
“We need to replace some of those utility users, and good-paying jobs,” he said. “I see good-paying jobs with benefits, and I think it’s going to drive people to live in Hamilton, in order to work there.”
Von Stein is among eight candidates for three council seats that are up for election on Tuesday, including incumbent Carla Fiehrer, Danny Ivers, Archie Johnson, Casey Hume, Eric Pohlman, Jason Snyder and Susan Vaughn. The winners will serve four-year terms.
Von Stein said the thing he’s most proud of from his first four years has been “working with council and the city administration to assist in bringing these jobs here, and seeing Hamilton grow. And this council does work great together. Nobody’s got an agenda. We handle everything very professionally.”
“I like the direction that City Council’s going in, I like the way they work with the staff, and I like the way we work with each other,” Von Stein said.
“No. 1 should be jobs,” as an issue the city should attack, he said. “I think that solves a lot of the other problems. Jobs is going to solve the streets. It’s going to solve police and fire. It’s going to solve giving money to the parks. But we need more home-ownership in Hamilton, too. We need better neighborhoods.”
Von Stein lived in the Lindenwald neighborhood until age 6, and then moved to Fairfield. He moved back into Hamilton in 1997, and he bought his first home in Lindenwald in 1999, and lived in that neighborhood until 2013, before moving to the city’s West Side. He is a 1996 Badin High School graduate.
His grandparents went to school in Hamilton, and, “I’m a third-generation IBEW electrician, and four generations of my Mom’s side worked in Champion Paper. My great-grandpa was a pallet-maker there.”
Von Stein noted that some worry Spooky Nook will bring more traffic, but said there was traffic when Mercy Hospital, the paper mills and other factories and large companies were in town, and “We got through it. Traffic can be a good thing, too much of it can’t.”
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