EDWARD T. “ED” LENTZ
COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES, DISTRICT 5
COMMUNITY OF RESIDENCE: New Lisbon
EDUCATION: Bachelor’s Degree, Master’s Degree, Juris Doctorate
PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE: Retired senior executive at Fortune 100 company (GlaxoSmithKline); retired partner at multinational law firm (Morgan Lewis); currently patent attorney working in the pharmaceutical/biotechnology industry and owner/operator (with my son) of Fox Falls Farm, producers of beef, pork, lamb and other farm products
COMMUNITY/POLITICAL INVOLVEMENT: Former youth baseball and basketball coach; former councilman in Town of New Lisbon; currently County Representative-District 5; currently serving on boards of directors of Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD), Center for Agricultural Development & Entrepreneurship (CADE), and Butternut Valley Alliance (BVA)
FAMILY: Married to Vicky for 38 years; three adult children; five (soon to be six) grandchildren
IN TWO OR THREE SENTENCES, EXPLAIN YOUR PHILOSOPHY OF GOVERNMENT:
Government is the vehicle by which we collectively, through our elected representatives, provide essential services to the community, make rules and policies for the betterment of the entire community, protect our persons, property and civil rights, and resolve disputes. Government is responsible for providing necessary infrastructure and creating an environment in which each of us has the opportunity to live and work peaceably and happily. Government can and should impose regulations that protect people from harm by others and that protect our environment but regulations need to be reasonable and balanced against our civil rights and should not restrict activities that do not cause harm to others.
WHAT ARE THE THREE MAJOR ISSUES THE OTSEGO COUNTY BOARD OF REPRESENTATIVES FACES, AND HOW WOULD YOU ADDRESS THEM?
- Economic development – We cannot continue on the current trajectory, with our expenses increasing and our revenues holding steady at best. There are no easy answers. Increasing taxes is not the solution. Nor is even more austerity. As a legislative body, the County Board has to do its part to create an environment in which businesses, particularly small businesses, can thrive. Creating a favorable business environment requires efforts on multiple fronts, including improving broadband and cell phone access, improving the quality of our roads, developing sites where businesses can locate and share facilities and services, training prospective employees, assisting farmers in connecting with downstate and other buyers, and facilitating obtainment of seed money for new and emerging business ventures. Through these and other efforts, we can expand and build on our strong footings in health & education, agriculture, and tourism.
- Public Safety – We live in a safe community where we justifiably have little fear of robberies, burglaries, assaults, or other crimes. This is one of the things my wife and I love about living here. But, what I do fear is that this may be changing largely because of the scourge of heroin and other opioids addiction. The county board needs to ensure that we support our sheriff’s department and do whatever else we can to minimize the spread of this disease and the terrible impacts it can have on communities. I would like to see a commission comprised of state and county law enforcement officials, addiction experts, and health officials convened to study this problem and to propose preventive measures for our county. (Contrary to rumor, I do not support cutting the Sheriff’s road patrol.)
- Emergency Services – The rural parts of our county rely on volunteer fire and emergency medical services. This system has served us well for a long time. However, for a number of reasons that include among others increased mandated training requirements, increased and often unnecessary state regulation, and changing lifestyles, our volunteer fire and EMS squads are finding themselves understaffed and underfunded. The county board needs to work with our police, fire, and emergency medical service providers to identify procedures, resources, and incentives to help ensure that our fire and EMS squads remain viable and effective. Ideas to be explored include converting to a partial fee-for-service system, sharing and/or providing certain services centrally, and giving volunteers credit towards municipal health and retirement benefits, among others.
WHAT QUALITIES/EXPERIENCE DO YOU HAVE THAT MAKES YOU THE BETTER CHOICE IN THIS RACE:
I believe that my professional experience as a senior executive at a Fortune 100 company, as legal counsel for emerging businesses, as an owner/operator of a small farm, and as a former town board member and current county representative, my personal experience as a husband, father, and grandfather, and my experience of having lived in other parts of the country separate me from my opponent and make me better qualified to serve as county representative.
IS THERE A STATEMENT YOU’D LIKE TO SHARE WITH VOTERS?
Otsego County is a great place to live. We have great people, beautiful land, strong but livable urban centers, and abundant water and other natural resources. I want to work with the other county representatives as well as with other members of our community to help shape the future of our county so that we can grow economically while preserving the things we value about living here.