Erie County Commissioner > Huron City Councilman Brad Hartung

Huron City Councilman Brad Hartung

Hartung hunting for county commission seat
Andy Ouriel, Staff Reporter | Sandusky Register

2.09.18 - HURON — In his hometown of about 7,000 people, he’s overseen many successful initiatives, shepherding the community through an ongoing renaissance period.

Now Brad Hartung set his sights on a grander stage, a nearby place where he can still implement parallel philosophies yet help almost 77,000 people, including those he’s represented for almost a decade.

Earlier this week, Hartung, a Huron city councilman, submitted his petitions to the local elections board so he can run for Erie County commissioner.

“We have had a lot of success in Huron, and I have been watching what has been happening at the county level for the last several years,” said Hartung, who also serves as the city’s mayor. “I think they are headed in the right direction, and I would like to be a part of that positive change.”

He seeks the office occupied by incumbent Bill Monaghan, who won’t seek a fourth term.

Hartung, who will run as a Democrat, faces three other people seeking a particular party’s nomination. The deadline to file came and went Wednesday. The candidates include:

• Democrat Julie Farrar, a former Sandusky city commissioner

• Democrat Tim Riesterer, a Margaretta Township trustee

• Republican Steve Shoffner, news operations director for BAS Broadcasting

Out of three positions, there’s only one contested commission seat this year. State officials scheduled a primary race for May and a general election taking place in November.

The winner stands to join officeholders Matt Old, a Republican, and Pat Shenigo, a Democrat. Both men won four-year terms — Old’s first and Shenigo’s third — which began in 2017.

Running for a reason

Hartung, a Huron resident, boasts plenty of political experience. He’s served on city council for the past nine years, including the last five as mayor.

Since taking office, Hartung has collaborated with the local government’s administrators, namely city manager Andy White and law director Laura Alkire, while simultaneously creating unity on council. The elected officials rarely argue or divide into blocs on contentious matters.

Hartung’s support on both ends led to officials executing aggressive and innovative policies enhancing the community.

It’s resulted in a cultural and commercial rejuvenation sweeping across the city, with companies more confident than ever about investing capital in Huron.

Among the more notable initiatives he touts, Hartung has:

• Oversaw the implosion, cleanup and redevelopment of the former ConAgra property; After securing $8.3 million in state grant funds, paying for this work, the city has since partnered with a development company. The company plans to commit about $6 million in private funds to construct high-end, multistory residential properties there. Construction could begin as soon as July.

• Quarterbacked negotiations with Mucci Farms, a Canadian-based company, to bring its first U.S. base to Huron; Plans call for a $70 million investment, largely involving crews constructing massive greenhouses to grow produce on land near BGSU Firelands. Workers then distribute the fruits and vegetables to supermarket chains across North America. The facility should debut this fall.

• Partnered with a medical marijuana company, which led to Huron receiving one of 13 coveted statewide “large grower” licenses; Plans call for a $20 million investment, largely involving crews constructing a warehouse-like facility within the Huron Corporate Park. The operation should debut this fall.

• Approved a record-breaking budget entering 2018, evident with unprecedented revenues, about $4.9 million, and surpluses, about $1.3 million; Officials earmarked the money to repair roads and market the city to other outside developers.

• Backed many other projects improving, among other areas, Fabens Park, Main Street, the Huron Memorial Bridge, Lake Front Park  and the Oklahoma housing subdivision

“When I do something, I keep three points in mind: operational efficiency, fiscal responsibility and strategic growth,” Hartung said. “That is my formula, and it has worked for Huron, and it can work for Erie County.”

Hartung believes he can make a seamless transition to county commission if elected in November.

The main priorities he’d focused on include addressing the drug epidemic, supporting the addiction recovery movement and improving Erie County’s aging infrastructure. More specifically, he wants to figure out what went wrong with a severely flawed water system, involved in a $21 million ongoing lawsuit.

“I want a total review of that so we don’t have a problem like that in the future,” Hartung said. “My background is in engineering and surveying, so that is my strong suit.”