I want to be a County Commissioner who truly represents all of the citizens of Hancock County. Want I don’t want to be is a representative who sits in an office, never has contact with his constituents, and votes on issues of which he has little or no knowledge. My pledge, if elected, to the hard-working citizens of Hancock County, is to hold monthly town hall meetings where residents can voice their concerns and ask questions. I pledge to hold these meetings on a rotating basis until I have held a town hall in every township, city, and village (where possible) within the county.
I will not put forward or indulge in discussion of national issues, religion, or ethnicity that provoke emotional, knee-jerk, or Pavlovian responses. These issues have nothing to do with the operations of Hancock County and only serve as a distraction. I intend to explore and represent the views of my constituents, the citizens of Hancock County. A representative must talk to his or her constituents in order to properly represent them. Residents will also be able to contact me by phone, email, or on my website. I intend to represent everyone in the county and not just those who are conveniently located and have lots of money.
A Brief Biography
I was born at Blanchard Valley Hospital on July 27, 1953. My father named me Bruce Wayne. He later stated that he was completely unaware of the Batman character and I was given the middle name, Wayne, in honor of Wayne Brewer, who was the CEO of Cooper Tire and Rubber Company and lived across the street and a few houses west of us on Hancock Street. I had one older sister and two older brothers. There were several families with children in the Hancock Street and Maple Avenue neighborhood. Our neighbors had children that matched up almost perfectly in ages with the Workman family kids. My time in Findlay was filled with fond memories, but it was Cooper that controlled my destiny at that time.
I attended Lincoln School from kindergarten through second grade. Cooper bought an industrial rubber products factory in Auburn, Indiana and I was moved there—with much protest—during the summer of 1961. I finished grades 3-12 in Auburn public schools and graduated from DeKalb High School. I began working summers at Cooper in Auburn on the continuous vulcanization line, which featured cure tanks filled with molten salt. As you might imagine, it grew quite hot in the summer. While sweating on the CV line, I noticed the lab technicians wearing clean blue lab coats in the air-conditioned lab. I cut short my time at Indiana University and employed nepotism to get a job in the lab at the newly opened Bowling Green, Ohio Cooper plant.
Utilizing observation and some self-taught organic chemistry, I secured a position as a chemist at what was then known at the Hydril Company in Houston, Texas, where my daughter was born. The common joke at the time was that rubber people bounced around and this was certainly true for chemists. I worked as a chemist in Alabama, a materials scientist in Michigan—where my son was born and where my family stayed for 23 years, and finally as the senior chemist at HBD/Thermoid in Bellefontaine. While working I received an Associate Degree with a Chemistry major and a Bachelor of Science degree in Information Technology. I was downsized by HBD/Thermoid in 2016. It is difficult to get a new job at age 63, especially within driving distance of Bellefontaine, so I retired three years earlier than I had planned. After evaluating whether to stay where I was or return to one of the many other areas where I had lived, I decided to come back home to Findlay and Hancock County. You would be surprised by how many things have not changed in over 50 years, including the flood mitigation plan.
Why I Became A Democrat
I am well aware that it would be easier for me to get elected if I ran as a Republican, but that kind of opportunism is unworthy of the support of the citizens of Hancock County. During my early years in Findlay, the political affiliation of the area was apparent in the name of the local newspaper, The Republican Courier. My grandparents were such staunch Republicans that they voted for Herbert Hoover for a second term. My parents were Republicans as were most of the neighbors. The first time I was made aware of the existence of Democrats in the area was at Lincoln School during the campaigns of Kennedy and Nixon, where shouts of “Nixon, Nixon he’s our man” were met with “Kennedy, Kennedy he’s our man.” I was astounded by the discovery. I remained a young Republican upon moving to Indiana. The atrocities of the early civil rights movement and the actions of the segregationist “Dixiecrats”, assured me that I had made the correct choice.
Soon after Lyndon Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, the “Dixiecrats” became Republicans and the party of Lincoln lost its way. The southern chapters became racist, the party began down the road to ultra-conservatism and became something “Ike” would not recognize. I became a Democrat and the actions of Nixon assured me that I had made the correct choice. The area where I now lived continued to be Republican as were many of my friends. That is what I miss most about those times and the following two decades. You could have different political philosophies and still engage in civil discussion. I had close friends who had differing points of view. We could always agree that who we respected had more to do with character than politics. Any arguments about politics were left aside when we were just being ourselves. Tip O’Neill and Ronald Reagan were friends. Ted Kennedy and John McCain were close. The differences between the parties were mostly concerning the interpretation of one phrase in “The Constitution of the United States”, known as “the elastic clause,” it reads, “... To make all Laws which shall be necessary and proper…”.
All of this began to change when FCC was ordered to abandon the Fairness Doctrine, which led to the rise of cable news channels. Television news outlets were no longer required to broadcast the facts impartially. “Facts” became malleable and could be altered to align with the political views of the media owners. People could now choose news outlets that conformed to their biases and did so to exclusion of other sources. Civil discourse gave way to ranting and opposing views were not tolerated. All of this occurred at the national level and only recently spilled over into the local levels. Interpretation of the elastic clause is not really much of an issue at this level and party differences center more on social issues. It would not make much difference politically if I ran as a Republican, but that would be deceitful and a betrayal to myself and those who I hope to represent.