For their May newsletter, the Portage County Democrats interviewed Lis Kenneth Regula about his background, his career and his plans to address the problems facing the county.
GET TO KNOW YOUR CANDIDATES – Auditor Nominee Lis Kenneth Regula
Traditionally in this section, we focus on profiles of our elected office holders. Given that we have a first-time candidate as our nominee for Auditor this fall, we felt that this month you’d be better served by a piece that will let you get to know him a little better. His name is Lis Kenneth Regula, and he is a Biology Professor at the University of Akron and President of the Kent Environmental Council. We sat down with Lis to discuss his candidacy, and a lightly edited version of our conversation follows.
Thanks for taking the time to chat with us, Lis. Can you give us a little background about yourself? Where did you grow up? Where did you go to school? What’s something unique about you that sets you apart?
Lis Kenneth Regula: “I grew up in Lima, Ohio. Technically, it was Elida, Ohio but few people know where that is. I graduated from Elida High School in 1999 and Ohio State University in 2005. Twelve years ago, I moved to Kent after earning my PhD in biology from Kent State.
I’m a first generation college and the son of a small business owner. I’m also a transgender man, which sets me apart in some ways, but also motivates me to stand up for the underdog, to work on behalf of everyone who’s struggling to get by.”
What are you most proud of having accomplished in your career to date?
“My proudest professional achievement so far is my work with EnviroScience in Stow in 2016. That summer, NASA Glenn was updating their surveys of species found on the Lewis Field and Plum Brook Station. I was in charge of amphibians and reptiles. In 2001, one of my heroes, Dr. Ralph Pfingsten, conducted the previous survey there. Following in his footsteps reminded me how lucky I am to be able to do something I love while serving my community.”
What challenges facing our community are the most troubling to you?
“As an educator, I believe that access to information is crucial. Although new technology offers plentiful information faster than ever, it’s still difficult to find reliable and accurate information, especially in government. This is why local government offices, schools, and libraries need to step up to the plate and prioritize expanding access to information.
Portage County has made improvements recently, such as within the treasurer’s office. But we can still be a better resource to county residents. I’d like to make it easier to find information and do business in Portage County, and I believe there are cost-effective, efficient ways to do that.
By expanding access to information and updating our communication systems, I’ll make it easier for people to start businesses, file and pay taxes, investigate property, and generally interact with the auditor’s office.
For working parents trying to start small businesses or third shift workers trying to buy their first home, county government should ease the process.”
What opportunities are you most excited about for Portage County and Ohio going forward?
“Right now, I’m most excited about hearing from the people of Portage about what they need from their elected officials. Many people feel disconnected from local government and I want to help change that.
If there’s anything that I’ve learned in the dozen years I’ve lived here, it’s that Portage County residents are a diverse group of people who all bring unique perspectives, experiences, and potential solutions to any problem they face.
There’s a saying in the Crooked River Alliance of Timebanks that goes, “We have what we need if we use what we have!” and I believe this captures our county’s spirit.
We have an abundance of natural resources, hardworking people, and infrastructure that can improve our economy and living quality for everyone in the county. We just have to work together.”
Thanks again, Lis, and good luck this fall!
For more on Lis’ campaign, follow him on Facebook and visit his website, where you can volunteer or make a donation.