Candidates vie for commissioner’s seat in Fulton County

By David J. Coehrs -


A Wauseon resident will try to unseat incumbent Fulton County Commissioner Jon Rupp in the March 17 Republican primary.

Jon Rupp

The 60-year-old Fayette native is seeking his second term as a commissioner. A graduate of Fayette High School, Rupp retired after farming for four decades. He held a seat for 27 years as a Franklin Township trustee.

Among his accomplishments during his first term as commissioner, Rupp lists his involvement in the Fulton County Courthouse renovation project and his airport restructuring contributions through the Fulton County Airport Authority Board.

“There are (also) a lot of little things that happen every day that I hope I’ve helped to improve,” he said.

Rupp credits his time as a township trustee with preparing him for duties as a commissioner. “I was pleasantly surprised that the township had made it possible for me to understand the budgeting process,” he said.

He was also surprised to learn as a new commissioner that the panel has control over only the county’s general fund. “We have oversight over so much more that we have very little control over. People just don’t understand that,” he said.

The commissioner is satisfied with the fiscal responsibility he, Jeff Rupp, and Bill Rufenacht have shown during their tenures, and doesn’t think major changes to the county are necessary. For that reason, Rupp won’t enter a second term with a specific agenda.

“I just want to make sure we take care of what we have, to be good stewards of the money the taxpayers give, and make sure we serve people the right way,” he said. “The only thing I care about is making the county run as efficiently as possible.”

He said he generally receives few if any complaints about the county’s operations, and maintains an open door policy for county residents to express concerns or kudos.

Rupp said one pleasant surprise he’s encountered as a commissioner is the county’s personnel. “We get along great, and it’s been a true pleasure working for the county. I truly enjoy my job and the people,” he said.

Rupp has been married to his wife Debra for 40 years. They have two children, Tiffany Johnston and Tyler Rupp, and five grandsons.

Dale R. Morgan

A Fulton County resident the past 34 years, Dale R. Morgan, 75, took an interest in a county commissioner’s seat after what he called a disappointing conversation with Jon Rupp last summer. As a part-time transportation specialist and job coach for Quadco Rehabilitation Center in Stryker, Morgan contacted Rupp for help regarding a complaint a client filed on behalf of their rights as a developmentally disabled person.

“It seemed to me that he didn’t care about hearing about it,” Morgan said. “I sort of promised at that time that I’d find somebody to run against him. So guess who I found.”

A native of Wheelersburg, Ohio, in Scioto County, he graduated from Portsmouth East High School and earned an associate degree in business administration from Portsmouth Interstate Business College. After 27 years, Morgan retired from the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services (ODJFS), where he briefly managed the office in Kenton.

He was appointed to the Scioto County Central Committee in 1980, and ran unsuccessfully for Wauseon City Council in 2011.

Morgan said the facilitating skills he gained from ODJFS to assist at various state meetings qualify him for a commissioner’s seat. He said his experience with the department’s spatial programs would assist with selecting government programs for the county. “I know which ones work, and which ones don’t,” he said.

With his experience as a member of the American Christian Council Association, “I know how to get things started and get things done,” Morgan said.

He said his top priority as a commissioner would be the rights of the developmentally disabled and senior citizens. The state has established a set of rights for the developmentally disabled, “and from what I’ve seen and what I noticed those are the rights that are violated sometimes,” he said. “I’d like to try to find why we have that situation and try to correct it. There needs to be some education done, particularly with the county government, and how they should be handled.”

The financial portion of his college degree led to accounting experience and a strong knowledge of many different jobs and businesses, Morgan said.

And while he has no disagreements with the present commissioners’ work, Morgan is concerned about the Fulton County Senior Center, which has reportedly outgrown its longtime Wauseon location.

“I don’t think that building will expand real easy. They either need to find a place that’s bigger or build one,” he said.

Morgan pledges to be open-minded and have an open-door policy as a commissioner, and said he’ll work to fulfill whatever needs the county’s residents have.

“I’ll do whatever needs to be done,” he said. “I’m qualified to do the job, I care about the people, and I’m prepared to listen to them and do the job any way I can.”

Morgan has been married to his wife Connie for 47 years. They have two daughters, Kristina Hill and the late Zabrina Morgan, four grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.


By David J. Coehrs

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.

Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.