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CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE | Niki Frenchko, candidate for Trumbull County Commissioner

Niki Frenchkho, candidate for Trumbull County Commissioner has answered Mahoning Matters' questions about her campaign and platform.
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Niki Frenchko, candidate for Trumbull County Commissioner

Mahoning Matters reached out to candidates running for local office with a standard list of questions aimed at helping voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. Each campaign's response will be published in the Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana County Voter Guide as it is received and all responses are subject to minimal editing for clarity and/or length. Mahoning Matters does not endorse any candidate.

If you have questions please contact us at news@mahoningmatters.com


Candidate Name: Niki Frenchko
Office Sought: Trumbull County Commissioner
Candidate's Party Affiliation: Republican
Candidate's City of Residence: Warren

Candidate Biography:

I am a lifetime Warren resident, who grew up on the North End of town under less than desirable life circumstances. I had a single mother, and a father who moved out of state when I was 5. My Baptist grandparents were instrumental in my upbringing, and I am incredibly thankful for them. I was emancipated at 16, graduated from Warren G. Harding in 1992, and enjoyed basketball in high school & on inter mural teams while in Army training. I joined the Army Reserves for 8 years, worked though college, acquiring my Bachelors in Social Work Degree, and obtained my Masters Degree in Public Administration with a full academic scholarship. My thesis was a study to revitalize the central business district of Waren. I was blessed with 4 children, ages 25, 22, 21 & 16, and I raised them largely as a single mother. I worked in Mental health, with senior citizens, as a substitute school teacher, at the Planning Commission, and in the private sector as a community and housing development specialist for 9 different communities. I then worked as a REALTOR, HUD consultant, and investor in my small family business. I have been a member of the Trumbull County Senior Services Advisory Council for 3 years, and served as the Chair of the Transportation & Adult Protection committees. In my work on that council, I identified and corrected some corrupt and unlawful county dealings with a vendor, and that is what motivated me to seek office. We have 5 family cats, and have rescued & rehomed or kept 15 total. I enjoy Latin Dancing, arts, outdoor activities, yoga, mediation, exercise, & traveling with my family.

 

 

Candidate Questionnaire

 

1. What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?

I am a lifetime Warren resident, who grew up on the North End of town under less than desirable life circumstances. I had a single mother, and a father who moved out of state when I was 5. My Baptist grandparents were instrumental in my upbringing, and I am incredibly thankful for them. I was emancipated at 16, graduated from Warren G. Harding in 1992, and enjoyed basketball in high school & on inter mural teams while in Army training. I joined the Army Reserves for 8 years, worked though college, acquiring my Bachelors in Social Work Degree, and obtained my Masters Degree in Public Administration with a full academic scholarship. My thesis was a study to revitalize the central business district of Waren. I was blessed with 4 children, ages 25, 22, 21 & 16, and I raised them largely as a single mother. I worked in Mental health, with senior citizens, as a substitute school teacher, at the Planning Commission, and in the private sector as a community and housing development specialist for 9 different communities. I then worked as a REALTOR, HUD consultant, and investor in my small family business. I have been a member of the Trumbull County Senior Services Advisory Council for 3 years, and served as the Chair of the Transportation & Adult Protection committees. In my work on that council, I identified and corrected some corrupt and unlawful county dealings with a vendor, and that is what motivated me to seek office. We have 5 family cats, and have rescued & rehomed or kept 15 total. I enjoy Latin Dancing, arts, outdoor activities, yoga, mediation, exercise, & traveling with my family.

 

2. If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?

I want to bring Trumbull County into the 21st century & implement hiring, promotion and human resource policies that we should have had decades ago--including an anti-nepotism hiring policy & a civil service commission & include management evaluations. We also need a grant writer and a comprehensive economic development plan, like communities have that actually attract industry. I also want to fight against annexation for profit and work to equalize water and sewer rates-- including regionalizing where necessary. Howland, Liberty and Vienna township should not be at risk for annexation, and Liberty water customers should not be price gouged.

 

3. What do you feel will be the top issue facing this office over the next term? How would you focus your efforts to tackle it?

Economic development, proper planning (with consideration of future impact & costs to taxpayers) & dealing with very serious reductions to revenue. We have to get out in front of the anticipated problems and plan-- not just for recovery, but for sustained growth. I would like to see a comprehensive economic development plan which includes diversifying our industry bases. We must be proactive in economic development and work toward revitalizing and repurposing vacant buildings, ensure we have adequate supportive industry and infrastructure (broadband to sewers) for agriculture and other business needs. We must work to retain and strengthen existing businesses, and used economic development financing tools to finance the improvements.

 

4. What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?

Failure to communicate in public and making decisions behind closed doors has been an area where the county has been deficient for decades. We must include citizen input, post all jobs, utilize zoom and other technology to include the public in our processes and improve communication. We need to utilize the press, invite more public participation for board meetings, and use the press and other media outlets to ensure residents have continued access to services they need via public transportation. I will make sure Senior Citizens, Veterans, and other at-risk populations have access to services they need.

 

5. What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?

 I have rejected the notion of recognizing certain individual as "political power brokers"-- both Democrats & Republicans. More than just s campaign slogan, i believe we need to put people over politics--- that in itself disrupts status quo. I have been fighting the good old boys way of conducting business for the last few years, and created a name for myself by putting people first, not going along with political agendas-- rather fighting against them for the good people of Trumbull County, as i have done in my work with transportation in Trumbull County. The immediate change I would make is implementing a civil service commission for hiring promotions, and ensuring a rubric for hiring is used to rank all applicants for jobs and promotions fairly. I would also immediately restructure our 911 center. They need new management, and to possibly work with the Sheriff's department.

 

6. Are you satisfied with Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?

I believe Ohio's response was aggressive, and lacked consideration of businesses. I believe that taking temperatures at the doors of businesses would have been better than shutting down the economy, and it would have contributed to tracking and controlling the spread. This is what was done in some Caribbean islands, whose industry was tourism, and it would have been better to use these practices here.

 

7. The state is expected to make cuts in its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?

At the county level we should be seriously considering the cost savings suggestions of budget studies that were done in past years, but not implemented. We need to look at streamlining, regionalizing where possible, and look at restructuring in county management positions. Adding a grant writing position, which would be self-sustaining and bring in millions of dollars would be useful, also. We currently have no full-time grant writing position.

 

8. What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Ohioans who may be voting for the first time?

Quality of life to keep our residents from leaving. Increasing employment opportunities, promoting entrepreneurship, improving safety, developing our arts, culture and parks, and promoting equity in hiring, bidding as well as environmental equity is in the best interest of first time voters. All decisions should be made in consideration of the impact on future generation. We have the lowest population since the 1950's and it has dropped since my opponents 37 years holding local office. We must act now to stabilize our population and promote sustainable development which maintains a sense of "place". We should be implementing better planning principles.

 

9. Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that has diminished respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?

Absolutely. We have to be able to disagree without being disagreeable and get back to respecting diversity --- including diversity of opinion. This is a symptom of what happens when people feel disconnected from the process. Local leaders need to face people rather than the party; I will continue to do this. We have more in common that we think, across the aisle, across religions, races & and creeds--- this is where we build and we need to use those commonalities to build connections and strengthen our communities. I have a goal to unite. With my social work background, experience working with people & my understanding that we the public needs to be involved in the process-- this situation will be improved.

 

10. Who is your hero, and why?

One of them is Rosa Parks. She was defiant, stood her ground for what was right, and claimed what she believed was hers. She paved the way for others, and made history in the process. Her activism during the civil rights movement was admirable, and I will make my best effort to live as she did-- by standing my ground, disrupting the status quo where needed, and doing what is just.
 




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