Two residents are hoping to represent the Republican party in November’s Ashtabula County recorder race.
Corrie Leehan and James Nizen are competing in Tuesday’s primary. The winner will take on Barbara Schaab of Austinburg, a Democrat, in the fall general election. Incumbent Judith Barta is not seeking re-election.
Leehan, 35, is a life-long county resident who is making her first attempt at an elected office. Leehan said she is well-versed in the operation of the recorder’s office, thanks to her job that sees her assisting title companies and also working on oil and gas leases.
“I really enjoy that work,” Leehan said. “I think I could really do (the recorder’s) job. I would love to put my experience to work.”
If elected, Leehan said she would like to add services to enhance the efficiency of the office. With the right equipment, documents submitted to the office could be computer-scanned and then immediately returned to the owner, rather than there being a wait for return service via the mail, she said.
Also, Leehan would like to make many of the images commonly requested by patrons available online. That service would save people valuable hours, she said.
“Right now you have to take a half-day off work if you want a copy of your mortgage,” Leehan said.
The office would remain politics-free under Leehan’s stewardship, she said. “There is no political way to accept a document,” she said.
Leehan is a 1994 graduate of Geneva High School and earned an associate’s degree in accounting from Kent State University Ashtabula.
Nizen, 60, born and raised in the Jefferson area, is likewise making his bid for a county seat. He started Nizen Motor Parts in 1976, and for the past 20 years has operated the business at its East Jefferson Street location.
“This is the first time I’ve asked anyone for a job,” he said with a laugh.
Barta’s decision to step down prompted Nizen to test the political waters, he said.
Nizen said his business experience has made him well-versed in records and record-keeping. He also considers himself a “people person” who would be involved in a people-oriented office.
If elected, Nizen said he would “make sure the office is run fairly and equitably.” He would also try to find a way to ensure the office stays open 40 hours a week.
Every county resident would receive “fair and equitable” service prompt and professional attention, Nizen said.
“(The recorder’s office) may be heavily funded by title companies, but it is paid for by the taxpayers,” he said. “They deserve high-quality service.”
An efficient office could also indirectly help spur economic growth, Nizen said. For some developers, the recorder’s office marks their initial contact with county government, he said.
“We can help make a good first impression of the county,” Nizen said.
Nizen said his father instilled an interest in politics, believing it’s one’s duty to participate in government. “Everyone needs to take a turn at it,” he said.