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In case you didn’t know, there is a Primary to finish. The races left out of the May 3 Primary because of Republicans’ refusal to create constitutional state legislative districts are now on the ballot. For Democrats, that is only the candidates for the State Central Committee.

By Ohio law each major political party is controlled by a state central committee made up of one woman, and one man representing each state senate district. Those districts were not determined until after the spring primary. Richland county is in the 22nd District along with Ashland and Medina counties.

The candidates for the Woman’s seat are Paula Watson from Ashland County and Jess Hazeltine from Medina County. For the Man’s seat, the candidates are Nicholas Hanek and John Welker, Jr. Both are from Medina County. Paula Watson has been endorsed by the Shelby Area Democratic Club.



Jess Hazeltine currently serves as Medina City Councilwoman, Ward 1. In her 2020 race for councilwoman, Hazeltine said, “residents deserve a council representative who is active, interactive, and engaged. They deserve a representative they know by name and one who doesn't only reach out during elections. Having a councilperson who is accessible is key to addressing ongoing concerns of residents and also to inform them of activities and decisions at city hall.” Hazeltine also said, she is in favor of “supporting diversity, inclusion and equality… I support these efforts because I believe every person has the right to a fair and equal future.” As councilwoman, Hazeltine serves on the Finance Committee, Chair of Medina Water & Utilities Committee, Streets & Sidewalks Committee, Special Legislation Committee, Shade Tree Commission, Cable ACCESS, CRA Housing, ESID Board Hazeltine works with local non-profits in Marketing and Event Coordinating and she is the artist and owner of a small business, J.Scribbs Custom Hand Lettering and Calligraphy, LLC. She is an Ohio Certified Peer Support Specialist in both Addiction and Mental Health. She attended Cuyahoga Community College, Lorain County Community College, and Kent State University.


Paula D Watson is the incumbent for Central Committee member for the Ohio Democratic Party, a position she has held for 8 years. She served as the Chair for the Ashland County Democratic Party for 10 years and is active in events with the Richland and Medina Democratic Parties. Watson says, “it is important to know the Counties that I represent and to participate with them and their candidates.” In 2013 and 2018 she received the Ohio Democratic Party Small County Charwoman of the Year Award. After 43 years, Watson retired from her professional career as the Chief Deputy Clerk, civil division for the Ashland Municipal Court. Watson has campaigned for national and state politicians since 2008. She has served with the Ashland County Board of Elections since 2017. Watson received a history degree from Western Kentucky University in 1972 and a BA in business management from Ashland University in 1995.



For the past 6.5 years Nick Hanek has served as the Council President and Vice Mayor and City Councilman for Ward 2- Brunswick, Ohio. He is the Chair of the Finance Committee and the prior Chair of the Economic Development Committee and Safety and Environment Committee. Hanek helped in the administration and decision making of the State Democratic Party for a total of 8 years, including serving on statewide candidate vetting committees and as a Delegate to the 2012 Democratic Party Convention. He was the Youth Council Secretary for the Democratic National Committee. Hanek is an attorney and member of the Divorce and Family Law Division at Meyers, Roman, Friedberg & Lewis. He volunteers yearly with the Ohio Supreme Court’s Lawyer-to-Lawyer mentorship program. Additionally, Hanek is an adjunct law professor for the University of Akron where he teaches Juvenile Law. In 2017 , he earned the Ohio Super Lawyers’ Rising Star award. He is a former Assistant Prosecuting Attorney for Lorain and Medina Counties and has been appointed to serve as a Special Prosecutor for multiple jurisdictions. Hanek has worked in-house for Summit County Children Services advocating on behalf of abused and neglected children and has extensive trial experience throughout Ohio. He spent 6 years volunteering for United Way of Medina County as Chair, Chair-Elect, and VP of Community Impact focusing on poverty alleviation. Hanek graduated with a BA, cum laude from Case Western Reserve University in 2003 and earned his JD from the University of Akron School of Law in 2008.


John V Welker Jr is currently the Chair of the Brunswick Democratic Club, and an active member of the Medina County Democratic Party. For 8 years he held the position of Chairman of the Medina County Democratic Club. He was elected by his Chair peers as the Vice Chair for the Ohio Democratic County Chairs Association. Welker Jr served 12 years on the Brunswick Civil Service Commission. He has also served on the Medina County Board of Elections. If elected, Welker Jr says, “I will work with all groups in finding resolution for the various problems we face. I will be an advocate for Ashland, Richland and Medina counties to communicate their resource needs to the state party that may otherwise be ignored. By improving the all-around coordination with Columbus, we stand a better chance of electing our candidates for office in the counties and the state.” Welker Jr’s professional career is in Materials Management. He has worked in manufacturing, packaging, warehousing and distribution industries, and he is CPIM certified by The American Production and Inventory Control Society (APICS.) Welker Jr was on the APICS Board of Directors, North Central Ohio Chapter. He has a BS/BA in Industrial Management from Youngstown State University.

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