Three running in Republican primary for Greene County Recorder in March

A former Xenia councilwoman, a local businessman, and the chief deputy for the Recorder’s office are all vying to be the Republican candidate for the seat of Greene County Recorder.

Republicans Rebekah Dean, Joe Kennedy, and Ken Kraus face off in the March 19 primary, and with no Democrats filing petitions for the position, the winner would run unopposed in November.

The County Recorder is responsible for keeping and maintaining accurate land records, including deeds, titles, liens, and other documents, which enables people to establish a “chain of title” or history of ownership, of a parcel, and ensures that any debts against the property are evident, per the Greene County Recorder’s website.

The seat is currently held by longtime County Recorder Eric Sears, who will retire at the end of this year.

Joe Kennedy

Joe Kennedy is president and director of Operations at Kennedy Property Group in Xenia, and is a “fifth-generation Greene Countian,” with 20 years of experience in the real estate industry.

“I’m not able to be here without God letting me be here and putting me in this position,” Kennedy said. “I’m invested here, and it is from a real estate and business background, a key component of the recorder’s office. I know this community well, have strong relationships within the industry, and will never stop improving the office for the betterment of our community.”

As a political newcomer, Kennedy, 42, said his top priorities if elected include building relationships with staff, having meaningful conversations with people that use the Recorder’s office, and improving efficiencies between the office and other related government agencies.

“Property owners, title agencies, real estate professionals, developers, and — some may not be aware — our veterans utilize the office to file their military discharge papers, or their DD214 documentation. Conversations with these communities is imperative,” he said.

Kennedy said he would continue the office’s modernization improvements, such as cloud document storage, and other user experience upgrades, where economically feasible.

“Sometimes being an outsider can have huge benefits in getting a broader view of the story, and what things can make the office run more efficiently, not just for the taxpayer, but for the staff. They are really the ones that keep things running,” he said.

Kennedy studied Business Marketing and Management at the University of Kentucky, and holds a bachelor’s degree in Organizational Leadership from Wright State University. He is a member of the Dayton Area Board of Realtors, served as a member of the Xenia Economic Development Advisory Board, is a third generation board member of both the Xenia Area Chamber of Commerce and the Rotary Club, and has served as Rotary President.

“I have an affinity for small business. That’s really my passion,” he said. “Ultimately I want to see the small businesses grow here, stay here and create a legacy. This really is a great county. I’m proud to live here and want others to know about it too.”

Ken Kraus

Ken Kraus is the chief deputy to the Greene County Recorder, and is running to “continue the leadership that has made the Greene County Recorder’s Office one of the best-run offices in Ohio,” he said.

Kraus of Bellbrook has more than 35 years of experience in real estate and title examiner/abstractor industries, he said, and currently leads the department’s $125,000 back-scanning project, converting and formatting all deed books from 1925 to the present. If elected, Kraus said he will continue to ensure all documents are protected with microfilm and securely digitized for ease of use.

The work, which will make deed documents accessible and available online, “will make Greene County one of the most technologically advanced offices in Ohio,” he said.

“I will continue to oversee its progress in the transition of new technology that will allow the office to be more efficient now and in the future,” he said.

Kraus added that he will continue to help the public avoid scams, teaching citizens how to use the free Fraud Protection Notifications program, and assist veterans with filing their military DD214, which is the Certificate of Release or Discharge from Active Duty, safely and securely.

“When experience matters, I am the candidate that you should vote for. I am running against two other candidates who lack the experience and knowledge needed for this position” he said.

Kraus studied at Miami University of Oxford, Hondros College of Real Estate and Sinclair Community College, and also works as an independent contractor providing abstractor and title examination services to various local companies.

“My wife and I have lived and raised our children in the Bellbrook/ Greene County community for over 20 years,” he said. “I have owned several local businesses and will continue to support our great county in any way possible.”

Rebekah Dean

A former Xenia City Council member, Rebekah Dean said she is running to make a positive impact in her community.

“I am very blessed to have grown up in and worked in my family’s plumbing business, here in Greene County. Businesses, of all sizes, are the backbone of every county and here in Greene County, we need to be business friendly,” Dean said.

Dean’s top three priorities are data security, transparency, and pursuing new opportunities for the office.

“While serving on Xenia City Council, transparency was top priority as well as limited government and low taxes,” she said, adding that she has a “proven track record of conservative leadership and fiscal accountability.”

Dean has also served as a board member of the Xenia City Improvement Coalition, City of Xenia Public Safety Committee, and the Xenia Legislative Review Committee.

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