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LISBON - A congressional candidate received a lukewarm response to his request for use of Scenic Vista Park to host a campaign event.

Martin Elsass, the Libertarian candidate for the Sixth Congressional District seat held by U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, attended last week's meeting of the Columbiana County Park District to seek permission to use Scenic Vista Park in Center Township sometime in early fall.

Elsass, who once worked in the music industry, including a stint as booking agent for singer David Allen Coe, said he would like to host a music event at the park for his campaign, drawing on his previous industry contacts, many of whom would be willing to perform.

"It won't be anywhere on the level of the Jamboree in the Hills," he said.

Park board members expressed concern about letting a public park be used for a politically partisan purpose, but Elsass said it would be more along the lines of a "liberty festival" than a campaign event.

There would be an admission fee, and Elsass said afterward some of the proceeds would go toward his campaign, and political literature would be distributed.

This troubled board member Mike West, who is retired from the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. "I worked for the state of Ohio for 28 years and we were not allowed to even put out political literature" at state parks, he said.

Board member Tom Butch said he didn't know if they could deny anyone use of the facility since it is

a public park. The board finally decided to seek a legal opinion from the county prosecutor's office before making a decision.

Elsass apologized for coming to them on such short notice, but he only learned of the park's existence the week before.

tgiambroni@mojonews.com

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