Restaurant owner who took on NFL among county commission candidates

The race to fill an open seat on the Montgomery County Commission is taking shape.

Bill DeFries, who pledged not to air NFL games this year in his Beavercreek restaurant because of players’ national anthem protests, will formally announce today he’s running as a Republican for an open seat on the Montgomery County Commission in November.

Earlier this week, Montgomery County Treasurer Carolyn Rice, put into a Facebook post her intentions to replace fellow Democrat, Dan Foley, who is not running for re-election.

RELATED: Dan Foley won’t run again for Montgomery County commission

As of Wednesday, petitions had been obtained from the Montgomery County Board of Elections by four other Republicans, current Miami Twp. Trustee Doug Barry of Miamisburg, Greg Hart of Oakwood, Bob Matthews of Miamisburg and Joshua Smith of Dayton.

In addition to Rice, Daryl Ward, senior pastor of Omega Baptist Church, is the only other Democrat to signal an intention to run for the four-year term that begins in January 2019.

DeFries, who is launching his campaign today with an 11 a.m. event at the Engineer’s Club in Dayton, said a major concern for him is the county’s finances.

“I really believe in order to have a thriving community we need stronger fiscal management,” said DeFries, who lives in Clayton and owns Copp Integrated Systems as well as the Beef O Brady’s restaurant. “The county is facing some major shortfalls this year, and they need to pull their budget back and make some tough choices.”

MORE: Area restaurant boycotting NFL games draws large crowd

Rice of Kettering said her leadership as county treasurer for 11 years has helped the county weather an economic storm and foreclosure crisis.

“I have experienced firsthand the problems the county has faced due to the Great Recession as well as decisions made in Washington, D. C. and Columbus that have a local impact,” she wrote on Facebook. “Through it all, Montgomery County has been governed well and positive momentum has been made on numerous fronts.”

Rice also unveiled a campaign logo and has scheduled a Jan. 10 launch fundraiser at a Dayton law firm.

Bob Matthews, a former Miami Twp. trustee, ran a close race in 2016 against current Montgomery County Commissioner Judy Dodge. He said the lack of an incumbent this year could help put a Republican on the board for the first time in more than a decade.

Ward of Dayton said last month he is running because he wants to bring people together.

“I have no history of being a politician or elected official, but I do believe I can bring a fresh voice rooted in common sense to how we meet the challenges of our community,” he said.

Party candidates have until Feb 7. to file petitions. The certification of more than one candidate in a party by the Board of Elections will trigger May primaries.

About the Author