BY D’ARCY EGAN
For the first time in the history of Ottawa County, all three county commissioners are Republicans. Trying to buck that trend, Democrats Randall Schiets of Oak Harbor and Gary Quisno of Port Clinton will run with Republican incumbents Mark Stahl of Williston and Mark Coppeler of Port Clinton in the March 17 primary election.
Unopposed in the primary, all four will move on to challenge one another in the Nov. 3 election.
Ottawa County Candidates – Primary Election
County Commissioner: Mark W. Stahl – R – Willston, Gary Quisno – D – Port Clinton
County Commissioner: Mark E. Coppeler – R – Port Clinton, Randy Schiets – D – Oak Harbor
Prosecuting Attorney: James VanEerten – R – Marblehead
Clerk of Court of Common Pleas: John C. Klaehn – R – Marblehead, John A. Brikmanis – D – Oak Harbor
County Recorder: Nathan J. Daniels – R – Curtice, Beth Gillman – D – Port Clinton
County Treasurer: Anthony L. Hatmaker – R – Port Clinton, Richard Schott Hines – D – Port Clinton
Judge Court of Common Pleas Probate/Juvenile: Frederick C. Hany II – R – Oak Harbor, Dawn Haar – D – Oak Harbor
Sports star Quisno feels need to give back to Ottawa County
Football fans in every corner of Ottawa County know the legendary coach Gary Quisno, who is retired from sports and now wants to give back to his legion of friends around Ottawa County.
“I’ve thought about it for a long time, and feel I’m finally ready to serve, giving back to a county that has given me and my family so much over the years,” said Quisno, 65, of Port Clinton.
The tall, lanky Quisno first made his athletic mark as a football, basketball and track star at Port Clinton High School. At Miami (Ohio) University, Quisno helped to anchor the team’s amazing 1973-75 era, when they went 31-1-1, won three Mid-American Conference titles and three Tangerine Bowls.
After college, Quisno coached Danbury High School’s football team before taking over at Oak Harbor High School, where he achieved legendary status from 1979-2007. Quisno’s 224-83 record earned him a berth in the Ohio High School Football Coaches Hall of Fame.
While always an expert when it comes to athletics, Quisno has turned to old friend Jim Sass, a Port Clinton High School football teammate and now-retired Ottawa County Commissioner, to be his campaign manager for this election.
“What’s most important is to talk to the people and find out what is important, and what we can do better,” said Quisno. “Lake Erie is our No. 1 resource, economic development is critical and so is a shortage of skilled labor.
“Programs like the TNT Mentoring Program are very important to my wife, Becky, and me. I know a lot of people around Ottawa County, and Becky knows more people than I do,” said Quisno, with a familiar laugh.
Quisno is a huge fan of high school, college and pro sports, and he still enjoys the high school life, tutoring students at Perkins High School in Sandusky and working with the school’s digital academy.
Oak Harbor’s Randall Schiets relies on business savvy
Randall Schiets, 41, of Oak Harbor, strongly feels his business acumen is his strong suit in running for Ottawa County Commissioner in the March 17 primary election. The Director of Purchasing for Gordon Lumber, Schiets had steadily worked his way up the company ranks after joining Gordon Lumber as a yard worker after graduating from Bowling Green State University.
“I’ve now been in the lumber industry for the past 23 years, and enjoy going to work every day,” said Schiets, whose sister, Dawn Haar, is running for judge of the common pleas, probate and juvenile courts.
“Since I was in high school, I always thought I’d run for public office,” he said. “I consider myself a moderate, level-minded person. When making a decision, I try to take everything into consideration. I’m a guy who likes facts.”
One fact that will be a challenge for him is multiple sclerosis, or MS, a debilitating disease that attacks the central nervous system and requires Schiets to walk with a cane.
“I’m not going to shy away from explaining MS,” he said. “I’d like my candidacy to be a platform for those who have it. It’s my motivation and inspiration, that I can overcome adversity and the physical challenge, going above and beyond MS in order to contribute to the community.
Schiets says he will use his background in industry to cultivate new business for Ottawa County.
“Ottawa County is stagnant right now, despite all of the benefits it offers,” he said. “We’re right on Lake Erie, with large highways running through the county. We have industrial parks that are empty or half-filled. We need to fill those up, pushing businesses to come to our county.”