By BRET BEVENS – Southern Ohio Today
The Scioto County Board of Commissioners has two seats on the line during Tuesday’s election and one pits Republican incumbent Cathy Coleman against Democratic challenger John McHenry, a Portsmouth attorney.
McHenry has lived most his life in Scioto County. He grew up on a small farm in Garden City, the son of a veteran killed in World War II and a school teacher.
McHenry graduated from Ohio University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Zoology and a minor in Chemistry. McHenry later earned a Master’s Degree in Psychology from The Ohio State University.
McHenry studied Substance Abuse Studies at Rutgers University in New Jersey for a summer and studied Psychology at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland. McHenry earned a Doctorate in Psychology at the Florida Institute of Technology and received his law degree from Capital University.
McHenry has been in private practice as an attorney since 1987. He has been Assistant Prosecutor in Scioto County Juvenile Court, Assistant City Solicitor of Portsmouth and Village Solicitor in South Webster. He has also had various positions as a psychologist, including a stint at Southern Ohio Correctional Facility.
McHenry believes the drug problem in Scioto County is something that needs particular attention.
“I think the county commissioners need to be pulled into the fight against the drug problem we’re having in Scioto County,” McHenry said. “We’re not going to have the economic revival we want in this county until we successfully cope with this stranglehold the drugs have on us.”
McHenry said Scioto County is above averages in poverty and unemployment and the major obstacle in the path to an economic recovery is drug abuse.
McHenry said is his careers – whether as an attorney or a clinical psychologist – has helped people and given him a thorough understanding of the issue.
“I just never have gotten away from that,” McHenry said. “I don’t want to stop helping people.”
McHenry said being commissioner would allow him to help the entire county and not people one at a time. McHenry thinks his background in law and psychology would be assets to the Board of Commissioners.
Coleman was born and raised in West Portsmouth. She has a daughter and two grandchildren and is a member of the Nauvoo Methodist Church where she is a junior church leader and vacation bible school teacher. Her website states she loves her community and will strive to see it reach its full potential. She was also served two terms on the Washington-Nile School Board.
Her website says she believes in integrity, perseverance and courage. She says her interpretation of integrity means being honest, having a strong moral compass, being trustworthy, patient, and gracious. She said having perseverance means pursuing something in spite of difficulties, obstacles, or discouragement. She said courage to her is showing strength in the face of pain, grief, and uncertainty.
Coleman worked for 42 years as a Chief Financial/Operations Officer at Boone Coleman Construction, Coleman Landholding, Dain Lyon/Boone Coleman Joint Venture and TT&K Construction. Some of her responsibilities included payroll accounts, payables and receivables, entering deposits and depositing checks. She reconciled bank statements for three companies on a monthly basis.
Coleman has received endorsements from the Scioto County Young Republicans, Shawnee State University College Republicans and the Scioto County Republican Party and U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup.
Coleman says she has experience maintaining budgets, executing bid packages, preparing and conducting audits and implementing and maintaining safety policies.
Coleman did not respond to multiple requests for an interview for this article.