(WKBN) – In Trumbull County, voters in both the Democrat and Republican primaries will see contested races to fill the county commissioner’s seat currently held by Frank Fuda who is retiring at the end of the year.

Democrats David Guarino and Mike O’Brien are hoping voters choose them to face a Republican challenger for the county commissioner’s race in the General Election.

Guarino is a self-proclaimed lifelong blue-collar worker. He’s held jobs in manufacturing and currently works for Mercy Health’s Police Department.

“I want to see growth and stability in our county. We’ve been in a drastic decline for the last 20 years, losing thousands and thousands of jobs. We need to support local businesses. We need to try to get manufacturing back for our future generations to come so they have something to stay here for,” Guarino said.

While O’Brien is no stranger to public service. He’s held elected positions as a Warren City Councilman, County Commissioner, Warren Mayor, and is on his fourth and final term as State Representative.

“When critics say that I am a career politician, I make no excuse for the 36 years of quality public service,” O’Brien said. “When I was county commissioner, I held the position with dignity and respect, and that would be priority one is to regain the respect of the county officials.”

Priorities for Guarino include infrastructure, public safety, and working with the people of the county.

“There has to be accountability in any job that you take. As of now, our commissioner’s office is in total chaos. It’s in disarray. It seems like everyone has their own personal agendas instead of working together as one,” Guarino said.

O’Brien plans to make cooperation, both with the other board members and all elected officials, his focus.

“We need to go back and really have the focus on opportunities and jobs and moving this county forward. You can’t move this county forward when you’re stifled with individual bickering,” O’Brien said.

On the Republican side, Rick Hernandez, Christina Lee, and Denny Malloy are all hoping to overturn the seat on the Board of County Commissioners held by a Democrat for 16 years.

Hernandez is currently on his second term as a Hubbard Township Trustee. He’s an entertainer and business owner. He says his successes have included reuniting the relationship with the township’s F.O.P. and his efforts to fight landfills and injection wells. His priorities include bringing funding to townships, finalizing sewer and water projects, and fixing the roads.

“From day one, I will go in there with leadership qualities and skills I’ve appropriated. I’ve dealt one on one with the unions, so I know negotiations, and I will promote Trumbull County,” Hernandes said. “There’s a lot of chaos going on there. I am a uniter, not a divider, and I believe I can bridge that gap.”

This is Malloy’s second run for county commissioner. The former game warden ran as an Independent in 2020. He received 46% of the votes but lost to Commissioner Mauro Cantalamessa in the General Election.

Malloy says his three main goals if elected would be extending infrastructure, including water and sewer service to the northern part of the county, engaging the townships, and bringing leadership to the position.

“I think we need a change in the county. I think the townships are grossly underrepresented when it comes to county government,” he said. “We need to get them to trust that the people that are overseeing their tax dollars are capable and qualified and have their best interest at heart. All of those outer townships have a seat at the table when it comes to getting a piece of the pie when the money’s dolled out from the county.”

An interview was scheduled with Candidate Christina Lee but it was canceled, but she said after the primary she would have more time and would meet with us.

In a January press release announcing her candidacy, Lee called herself a lifelong Republican who’s lived in Trumbull County for 40 years and spent nearly a decade working as a financial advisor.