Montgomery-Brown vie for Pike commission seat

By BRET BEVENS

Southern Ohio Today


Two Pike County Commissioner seats will be up for grabs in the Nov. 3 General Election.


In one race, incumbent Tony Montgomery will face off against newcomer Chase Brown.


Montgomery a graduate of Western High School and started building businesses when he was 19 years old.


“I built the Corner Market (on State Route 124),” Montgomery said. “From there, I started owning and operating businesses and started the (23 Southbound) flea market in 1996.”


He lives in Pike County with his wife of 29 years, Karrie, and they have two children who are currently attending college.


Montgomery said he ran for office previously because he believes Pike County needs business ideas and business sense.


“That’s what this is, a large business,” Montgomery said. “We serve the public, but from the commissioners’ position it’s a business. We have money-in, money-out, the county general has a $9 million budget. The county, as a whole, has about 300 employees with a $33 million expense budget.”


Montgomery said he believes the commissioners’ office needs a business-thinking approach for the growth of the county. He said he realized there are many other aspects to the office, but the commissioners’ main job is to be the county’s Chief Financial Officer.


“When I came in and was looking at the budgets, it wasn’t something that overwhelmed me, it wasn’t something that scared me. I had looked at those kinds of numbers all my life,” said Montgomery, who added in his first term commissioners took a budget that had overruns of $300,000 to $500,000 and balanced it in 2019.


“I think that qualifies me from this point forward to continue to be the commissioner,” Montgomery said. “We took a bad budget and we fixed it.”


Montgomery said good things are happening in Pike County. He mentioned the Scioto Valley Water Reclamation Facility to be built in Piketon. Montgomery said that without infrastructure businesses will not be attracted to Pike County, which Montgomery thinks is a key job of the commissioners.


Montgomery encouraged people to vote early either in person at the Government Center or through absentee voting.


Brown, like his opponent, has spent virtually all of his life in Pike County. Brown is a graduate of Eastern High School and as a senior took advantage of post-secondary option and split his time between Eastern High School and Shawnee State University. He attended The Ohio State University and majored in Political Science.


During his time at Ohio State, Brown landed a job as a page in the Ohio Senate.


“That is kind of where my interest in public policy really started,” said Brown, who explained the job is similar to a mentorship program where he learned about the Legislature and performed work with various committees.


“That’s really what led me want to pursue public service in my life,” Brown said, who attended law school at Capital University after his graduation from OSU.


“I was really fortunate, while I was at Capital to intern with (Franklin County) Commissioner Paula Brooks,” Brown said. 


After a semester there, Brown was hired to a paid position in the office for two years while he was going to school.


“I got to learn a lot,” Brown said. “I learned how a commissioners’ office works, how a good one works and how a county that is firing on all cylinders can be a potent force for job creation, and really make a difference in people’s lives.”


After graduation from law school, Brown began practicing with a Columbus firm.


“I worked on public policy, election law, campaign finance contracts, and non-profit law,” Brown said. “I’m really ready to transition into elected office and feel like I’m ready on day one, with my experience, to really make a difference.”


Brown hopes to go to Columbus to testify for Pike County to get state funds for the needs that the county has.


“I want be an advocate and to see if we can get some state resources to solve some of our problems like roads, high-speed Internet, EMS funding, the Atomic Plant,” Brown said. “I’m think I’m well-suited to be an advocate and fight for us in Columbus, in addition to being a commissioner.”


Brown said his skill set would allow him to bring about positive change for Pike County.


“It would be a dream job to hold public office in my home and work on the issues day-to-day for our citizens,” Brown said.

BROWN

MONTGOMERY

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