There are two candidates running for one seat this year for the Jackson Township Trustees including incumbent James N. Walters and challenger Jim Thomas. Below are some details about each of the candidates.
Jim Thomas and his family have resided in Jackson Township’s Foxboro Meadows for the last five years. He and his wife Debra have two children, Lauren and Jac.
Thomas is running for trustee of Jackson Township because, “I would like to serve the community and believe my skill set is best-suited for this position.”
Thomas is a small business owner. For the past six years, he has served as President of the JT Linwood Company, which owns and manages approximately 65 residential rental units in Stark and Summit Counties.
“I have excellent communication skills that have been developed through relationships with tenants, managers, and independent contractors. Plus, I am a licensed attorney and practiced in the areas of real estate, small business, and estate planning. I am a graduate of Case Western Reserve University School of Law,” wrote Thomas in an email.
Thomas is a member of the Jackson Township Community Improvement Corporation (CIC), the Canton Rotary Club and a graduate of the Signature Program of Leadership Stark County and the Stark County Government Leadership Academy.
For 12 years, Thomas was a professional tennis player competing in nearly 50 countries. In doubles, he achieved career high rankings of No. 3 in the USA and No. 29 in the world. He and his tennis partner reached the semifinals of the 2005 U.S. Open. He was a member of two NCAA Championship tennis teams.
Thomas’s education includes earning a degree in American Studies (a combination of U.S. History and Political Science) from Stanford University. He is also a graduate of Canton Central Catholic High School.
Thomas believes the most important issues facing the township are: Lack of engagement/involvement by a larger number of the residents; and because of the speed of growth, the township would benefit from additional full-time oversight.
“If elected, I would focus on three items: Fiscal responsibility; enhanced communication between the administration and community members; and economic development," Thomas wrote. "I recognize that Jackson Township has a director of economic development. My definition of economic development is fostering an environment in which current Jackson Township businesses seek to add jobs. Also, Jackson Township should seek to attract new businesses with higher paying jobs. Promotion of the Township’s many fine attributes is an important piece of fostering a positive economic environment."
James N. Walters
James N. Walters and his family have lived in the township since 2003 and he has been serving as trustee since 2008.
Walters has been married to his wife, Katy, for 19 years and they have two children in the Jackson Local Schools; high school junior, Zoë; and seventh grader, Nash. The family has a beagle named Ronnie and a cat named Nancy. Walters has a Master of Public Administration from Kent State, a Master of Arts from University of Akron and Bachelor of Arts from Bowling Green. He’s also an Adjunct Professor of State and Local Government at Stark State College. Walters and his wife also own a real estate management company.
“I am involved with Jackson Township in many ways,” Walters wrote in an email. “I’ve had the privilege of serving as Trustee since 2008. I’m a youth football coach and have also coached youth baseball. I am pastor of Real Hope Church here in Jackson Township. Also, I’m the committee chairman for Boy Scout Troop 921 and serve as the treasurer for the Salvation Army Advisory Board. Plus, I also volunteer for many different events and groups throughout the year.”
Walters is running because, “I want to continue the good work we have ongoing in the township. Jackson Township is a growing and thriving community, with fantastic schools, top notch police and fire departments and beautiful parks. We have many great projects happening right now from the new amphitheater and library as well as new businesses and jobs coming into the township. I want to help continue that work.”
Walters believes the township is doing well with providing services the community expects such as sound financial status, good roads and safety services among success in many other areas.
“Thankfully, there are not any significant issues or problem areas right now," he wrote. "Our safety services are second to none, with dedicated men and women who work every day to protect our families. We have a very good working relationship with our schools, which leads to many different programs together. For example, by working together we now have a police officer in each of our schools all day, every day to help ensure the safety of our children and school staff.
“I worked with many community partners to make sure the new library was rebuilt. Our parks are the jewel of our community, and I am working to make them even better. We are expanding North Park with a beautiful amphitheater, which will be used for many community events, and we are adding new sports fields that are needed for our schools and community athletic groups. Our parks are heavily utilized, well maintained, and the park levy has not been increased because of prudent, effective management.”
Walters added that many other good things are happening, including new businesses and more jobs coming to Jackson Township.
“We are very fortunate to live in such a wonderful community," he wrote. "And I want to continue that work so Jackson stays the place to live, work, play and raise our families.