(2-14-23) Three Republican candidates declare candidacy for Celina City Council At-Large Seats, Matt Gray, Tom Sanford and Joe Wolfe.

Gray, Sanford and Wolfe

In a statement to the Mercer County Republican Party, Matt Gray, 53, announced that he filed a Declaration of Candidacy with the Mercer County Board of Elections. Matt’s petition states that he is seeking election to the Celina City Council as an at-large member.

Matt’s choice to run for city council in 2023 stems from his desire to serve and represent the Celina community.

He states-

“I feel the jobs I have held in my adult life have all prepared me to be a leader in the community.”

Gray currently is an Engineering Coordinator in the casting area at Honda Transmission and is involved in project planning, schedules, budgets, and interdepartmental negotiations to bring positive resolutions to large scale projects. His career has been in the metal casting industry for 30 years, including eleven years at CAPT.

Matt’s leadership experiences began long before his work at Honda. As a young boy, and the oldest of three sons, his father instilled in him a value for community service. He helped his dad start a Cub Scout Pack and revive a Boy Scout Troop in Indiana. As a teen, he continued in leadership roles in those organizations and with his dad and brothers continued to pass on lessons on good stewardship to other young scouts.

Matt is married to Tracy, and they are the parents of five children. He has been involved with Celina youth soccer programs at the rec level as coach or an official for 12 years. He also helped start and coach travel and indoor soccer teams and has volunteered for filming duties for Celina football over the last 4 years.
A few years ago, Matt traveled to the Dominican Republic on a mission trip to help build a school that serves Haitian immigrants. He has also worked with youth and adults in his church teaching basic car maintenance.

Gray graduated from Penn High School, Mishawaka Indiana; Graduated with High Honors for ASMET from Rhodes State (2009); Graduated High Honors with a BA in Organizational Management from Bluffton University (2012).

He states that he is a fiscal and social conservative who advocates for free enterprise, less government regulation, and lower taxes. Gray is concerned about deficit spending, threats to our 2nd amendment rights, diminishing support for our military and law enforcement, and the constant attack on families. He is rock solid on pro-family and pro-life issues, as well as election integrity and citizenship issues.

Gray believes that elected officials should be held to a high standard of honesty and integrity.

In a statement to the Mercer County Republican Party, Tom Sanford, 38, announced that he filed a Declaration of Candidacy with the Mercer County Board of Elections. Sanford’s petition states that he is seeking election to a full-term on Celina City Council as an at-large member.

From information included in his bio and resume, he writes that he feels that it is his time to serve the community and represent the people who live and work here.

“I believe that I can be the type of representative that reflects the values of our great community.”

“I have lived in Celina most of my life and proudly choose to raise my family here. My wife Laura and I have been married 15 years and we have three children. We are both small business owners here in Celina, so the ideas of taxing, saving, spending, ensuring safe communities and restricting government regulations are personal to me. We know the importance of faith, hard work, and dedication in building a thriving community.”

“I joined the National Guard right out of high school and served my country in the Ohio Army National Guard from 2003 to 2009. I achieved the rank of Sergeant and helped lead convoy security. I spent a year in Iraq and 9 months in Kuwait. My job was a Combat Engineer, and that meant to prepare the way for the infantry. We, as soldiers, make an oath to uphold the Constitution and serve the people of the United States. Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage are Army Leadership values that I believe you will see in me if I am elected to serve the great city of Celina.”

Sanford is a teacher by trade and holds a Master’s degree in Education. He taught 5th grade math for 6 years at Van Wert Elementary School. Sanford received his degree from Wright State University (Celina & Dayton- Graduating 2012). He attended Vision Christian Bible College & Seminary and graduated with a Bachelors (2009) & Masters of Biblical Studies (2022).

Sanford’s community service includes: Director/Teacher with Kingdom Harvest Ministry; Director/Teacher with Destiny School of Ministries; Mercer County Prevention Coalition and Mercer County Youth to Youth Retreats. He helped create the Youth Business Alliance (YBA) that benefits children in need to have funding for extracurricular classes and sports. He’s also been a local Call Café volunteer as well as volunteered with Habitat for Humanity.

Quoting from Sanford –

“I believe a true leader is a servant and that good leaders take care of those they lead”.

In a statement to the Mercer County Republican Party, Joe Wolfe, 59, announced that he filed a Declaration of Candidacy with the Mercer County Board of Elections. Wolfe’s petition states that he is seeking election to Celina City Council as an at-large
council member.

In the information included in his bio and resume he writes that he made his decision to run for city council when a couple of long-term sitting council members decided not to run for reelection. I feel that at this time in my life I have something to give back to the community that I grew to know and love as a City of Celina employee,

I have always put the interests of our community first. Keeping our city clean and safe was my main priority. With over 30 years’ experience. I will be able to help other council members and the public understand the day-to-day operations of our city. I have been through the budget process as the Public Works Superintendent and understand how funding sources are utilized within the city budget.

I started working for the City of Celina in the Public Works Department as a Street Maintenance Worker in 1991. I transferred to the Electric Department and worked as an Electric Line Worker. I held Electrical Education classes at local elementary schools, senior centers, and at a booth at the Mercer County Fair.

During my 30 year career with the City of Celina, we experienced 2 major ice storms and as a Line worker, several high-water events and 3 tornadoes. I helped coordinate the cleanup of these major storms. The last tornado hit my own home in the Wheatland Acres subdivision, so I saw firsthand the role the city plays in the lives and livelihood of the residents. As the Public Works Superintendent, I was responsible for the city streets, Sanitary and Storm Sewer Systems, Parks and Recreation Departments, and North Grove Cemetery Maintenance.

Wolfe was promoted to Public Works Superintendent in 2006 and held that position until his retirement April 30, 2022.

Wolfe currently works part time for Norris Milk Hauling delivering milk from MVP Dairy to Danone in Minster.

Wolfe lists his community involvement that includes: Coaching recreational sports for over 10 years; served as the Co-Chairman of the Celina Lake Festival for 7 years; and that he is a member of the Celina Lions Club.

Wolfe has been married to his wife, Linda. for 37 years. They have three sons and six amazing grandchildren. He is a 1981 Graduate of Celina High School and a member of the Immaculate Conception Church.