Thursday, December 21, 2000

Piper sworn in as prosecutor of Butler County

By Janice Morse
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        HAMILTON — Robin Piper took the oath of office Wednesday as Butler County prosecutor, acknowledging that his new job brings an invigorating opportunity, coupled with a somewhat intimidating responsibility.

        “It's not the size of the dog in the fight. It's the size of the fight in the dog,” he told a crowd of about 400 supporters who packed a reception room at the Hamiltonian Hotel. “I'm ready to go - and I'm excited about it.”

        After a vigorous campaign against Prosecutor Dan Gattermeyer, a Democrat who took office in August after longtime prosecutor John F. Holcomb died, Mr. Piper, a Republican, will take office Jan. 2.

        Meanwhile, Mr. Gattermeyer has said he wants to become the new Democratic Party chairman and fill a position on the county board of elections - a proposal expected to be put to a vote of the party Dec. 28.

        Mr. Piper's swearing-in ceremony attracted so many people Wednesday, the supply of more than 200 printed programs was exhausted.

        When Mr. Piper described the campaign as “rough,” the crowd chuckled at the understatement. The headline-grabbing battle cost the two camps more than $304,000 - said to be the costliest county-level race in Butler's history. The two first-time candidates traded barbs regularly in the fight for an office that had been under Democrat control since 1965 in the Republican-dominated county.

        “Now comes the hard part,” Carlos Todd, chairman of the county Republican Party, told Mr. Piper and his wife, Nancy. “I ask you to think about the campaign promises that you've made.”

        Mr. Piper, who took the oath of office from retired Judge John R. Moser as Mrs. Piper held the Bible for him, said he would uphold his pledge to modernize the office and run it professionally.

        Supporter Hall Thompson, 49, of Fairfield said he was glad to see Mr. Piper win because “he will depoliticize the office, do a professional job and get along with the other officeholders. He is a gentleman; he will not use that office as a political ax.”

        Mr. Holcomb had become known, in part, for intimidating his political enemies.

        Mr. Piper said he's eager to put the negative aspects of the campaign behind him and move forward. “I feel like I'm home,” he said.

        Mr. Piper received a standing ovation.

        After the brief ceremony, County Commission President Chuck Furmon said, “It's a very bright day for Butler County. We're very excited about the change.”


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