Economy focus of Lebanon Council candidates

Candidate information

Amy Brewer

Age: 59

Education: Bachelor’s in education Eastern Kentucky University, Master’s in art therapy Eastern Virginia Medical School.

Current Employment: Lebanon City Schools art teacher, Lebanon City Council.

Political experience: Councilmember since 1989

Stephen L. Kaiser

Age: 61

Education: Bachelor’s in accounting University of Cincinnati

Current employment: Owner Stephen L. Kaiser CPA & Co.

Political experience: None

Charleen Ann Mehaffie-Flick

Age: 70

Education: Attended Bowling Green State University, Miami University and Chase Law School.

Current employment: Retired as Centerville city tax commissioner

Political experience: Councilmember since 2005

Wendy Monroe

Age: 41

Education: Bachelor’s in public relations University of Central Missouri

Current employment: Co-owner and vice president 22three Inc.

Political experience: None

James Norris II

Age: 60

Education: Bachelor’s in education Taylor University, Master’s in education Xavier University

Current employment: Retired Lebanon City Schools teacher

Political experience: Councilmember since 2001

Learn more about Lebanon candidates and their plans. Plus compare candidates in hundreds of races around the region in our interactive voters guide at

The candidates for Lebanon Council share a belief that the city is pretty well run. All are focused on economic development and protecting the historic downtown and none called for major changes in city operations.

Five candidates, including three incumbents and the wife of another incumbent, are running for four seats on council. The non-partisan job pays $6,000 annually and the winners will serve four year terms. All five are Republicans although party affiliation will not be on the ballot, as the race is non-partisan.

Here’s a look at each candidate:

Amy Brewer is the senior member of council, serving in the job for 24 years. She said she is running because she wants to be a “problem-solver” and to make a difference.

“I have a tremendous amount of energy (and) passion for the community I live in,” Brewer said.

She spent a good portion of her interview touting the attributes of Lebanon and it’s citizens. She said her proudest moment as a member of council was to be a part of the community that responded with such heart to the 2011 death of Warren County Sheriff’s Sgt. Brian Dulle, who was killed by a fleeing car theft suspect.

Brewer said she tries to be a communicator on council and thinks it is important to listen to all sides of an issue.

She favors continued fiscally responsible spending, promoting existing businesses and trying to get new ones and working with community organizations to make Lebanon better.

“We are working on a big project now that can’t be disclosed,” Brewer said.

As a certified public accountant Stephen L. Kaiser said he wants to bring his fiscal expertise to the city.

“I would like to accomplish being able to look at the budget, being able to make comments about areas of spending in order to reduce the budget and work with other council people to give them a different perspective other than what comes from the administration,” Kaiser said.

Kaiser, who ran for council two years ago, said he would “like to see a little bit smaller government and government that doesn’t limit the rights of people.”

For example, Kaiser said there should be fewer signage restrictions and less spending on things that are not “government related.”

“Sometimes the city will make grants to some non-profit organizations and the citizens don’t really have a choice as to where those funds go,” he said, advocating a system where citizens could directly influence what groups get city help.

He supports the 7-mill fire and emergency services levy on the Nov. 5 ballot but believes the city should not be threatening to make cuts if the levy fails.

Incumbent Charleen Ann Mehaffie-Flick said she is running for reelection because she likes helping people. She prides herself on reading each piece of legislation council considers.

Mehaffie-Flick wants to preserve the historic downtown and is a big supporter of the LM&M Railroad. And she also wants to bring in new businesses to industrial parks.

“I call myself a building hugger and a tree hugger,” Mehaffie-Flick said.

She said the city should continue to do things to encourage tourism, such as the decision to upgrade the railroad so that excursion trips could continue. The city should be a little less strict on signage rules for special events like festivals, she said.

Mehaffie-Flick said the city needs to keep strong architectural rules for the historical sections.

“We have beautiful historic architecture,” she said. “Do you want to put brick ranches all over the city?”

Wendy Monroe said she is “definitely a conservative and I want people to know that.”

She is the wife of Councilman Jeff Monroe, who is leaving council after being appointed to the Warren County Board of Elections.

“I’m a small business owner who understands business,” Monroe said.

Monroe says she wants to maintain the city’s conservative leadership by being a leader on fiscal matters and improving relations with all businesses. She said the city has done a good job keeping a reign on the budget in a bad economy.

“There are those that would raise taxes at every opportunity. I want to help them look for ways to continue to grow our local economy so that our revenue is raised that way,” Monroe said.

She said economic development tools can include big things like property tax abatements or simpler things like relaxing rules on having a dining table on the public right of way outside downtown restaurants.

Monroe said street repairs suffered as city money was shifted into other areas during the recession and she would like to see that reversed.

James Norris II is a three-term incumbent whose wants the city to continue to be welcoming to businesses and visitors while providing great services to residents.

When asked what he is proudest off he said, “I center any response in that area around the success of the current city administration.”

“I want to give staff the credit for a really fine run for the last 12 years,” Norris said.

He said a key accomplishment was ensuring the city has a good water supply by switching to Cincinnati Waterworks. He’d like to find ways to give more support to the downtown businesses and said one thing would be to allow restaurants to put tables on the sidewalk.

As a councilman he says he has become know for “furthering good conversation and diplomacy in the deliberations of council” to make sure things get done.

“The collective agenda should be far more important than someone coming in to make a point and persuade the other six that this and that have to be done,” Norris said.

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