If West Chester wasn’t one of the best places in the world which demonstrates what small government looks like and how much prosperity can occur when proper management at the level of government is applied, I can’t imagine what it would be.

West Chester, Ohio, has the population density to make it a city, but over the years, it has stayed small, where just Trustees run the community’s needs, and it has flourished.  What started as a kind of Tea Party dream, with two members getting elected to the Board of Trustees and applying fiscal responsibility and limited government concepts to the day-to-day business, George Lang and Mark Welch, West Chester has been proof of what good government looks like.  Even during the government-induced pandemic over coronavirus.  Even as many businesses struggled to stay open all across the country or find employees to fill their vacancies, West Chester has managed to see astonishing growth in some ways.  Much of that points back at the policy set by the conservative trustees who have been running things in West Chester for over a decade.  Lowering the cost of doing business, reducing bureaucracy so that things can happen, West Chester would be, for me, the example of what good governments everywhere in the world should look like.  When we debate about government so much, we could always offer West Chester an example of where the government goes right.   

A lot of that credit goes to Mark Welch, who has been with the trustees in West Chester for a while now, a few terms. He’s been that critical second vote when George Lang set the stage for much of West Chester’s success.  Then as George moved on to a position in the Senate, Mark carried the torch for the next generation and continued the policies that made West Chester wonderful.  Mark has been great at the significant and minor issues, so much so that often you never even hear about the things he is doing.  I often say, especially in management positions, that if you are good people won’t even know you are there doing a good job.  Its when managers in government make themselves part of the story that things start going wrong.  Then, the more people you add to a process, the worse it gets.  And thus, that’s how you get a bad government.  The federal government that we are always talking about is just such an example.  It’s big, nobody takes responsibility for anything, and they always make themselves part of the story on everything.  Their goals are usually to make themselves known by looting off the efforts of others, while Mark has always been a facilitator of other people’s dreams and needs.  He doesn’t get in the way of some big project that wants to come into West Chester.  Instead, he finds a way to get rid of the obstacles so that something new could be born.  Whether the project is a significant new company or a hot new entertainment venue, West Chester has thrived because Mark and other conservatives have created an environment where productive output wasn’t penalized but rather encouraged. I’ve been all over the United States, and you’d be hard-pressed anywhere to see four highway exits that are better than the ones in West Chester with a diversity of options, per capita income, and future opportunities.

Shooting with Mark Welch

Mark Welch is up for re-election this year, which he should have no problem with.  But for many of the new residents of West Chester who don’t hear much drama from their trustees, especially with a community with such a high population density, they wouldn’t know about it because the government isn’t in their face about every little thing.  Yet I think it would only be wise to pull back the curtain a bit and share with everyone what I know of Mark Welch, a guy who goes shooting with me often at Premier in West Chester, a great gun range at Port Union off RT 747.  Included here are a few video clips of our last trip just to let people be a bit of a fly on the wall.  I go to Premier often to shoot various guns and to blow off some steam.  I enjoy almost everything in West Chester, from the steaks at Jags to the fine dining and shopping options at Voice of America.  And I love Voice of America Park, another great story that we could write books about.  But commercially, I spend most of my time at Premier, and often Mark is there too where we manage stress at the gun range and often contemplate the origin of the universe.  The other day, it occurred to me that people don’t get to see that side of Mark, and they should because it’s what makes him unique in government. 

When Premier Shooting first opened, Mark and I were there for the grand tour, which was very special.  To have a classy gun range in such an elegant town with so many business and residential options was such a treat, and we’ve enjoyed it now for several years.  They have added a nice walking trail around the big fishing lake and turned the whole property into a country club setting that is great for escaping from business during a lunch break. That’s how I use Premier Shooting as a place of stress management.  And now, primarily because of the policies Mark has nurtured and a small government approach, Harley Davidson is building a new superstore next to Premier.  Adding this business to the rest of the options in that area is an incredible achievement. It is just another example of what can be done when the government doesn’t make itself the story but gets out of the way.  Mark likes to see new things being built as much as I do, but he’s as far away from the type of intrusive politician who always wants to stick their nose in everyone’s business.  That is precisely why Harley Davidson is building such a large store that will be a great gift to the community. 

Shooting the Colt .45

Talking to Mark the other day while we were up at Premier shooting the guns in the videos shown here, we talked about the new Harley Davidson store as we watched an excavation team work machinery leveling the site for a foundation.  Mark was like a kid brimming with excitement at what such a place would mean, and I sort of thought for a moment how unusual it was for a politician to have that kind of attitude. I’ve been around many politicians over the years who would look at a situation like that and find some way to insert themselves into the story and try to take credit for all Harley Davidson’s efforts.  But not Mark.  In an actual small government, conservative fashion, he likes seeing things happen.  If he can help them along, he’s happy to do it.  Yet, it never crosses his mind to loot off the efforts of others.  He wants to help make things happen, which is one of the premier ways in which West Chester has remained one of the best places to live in the world, even as economic downturns have hurt communities elsewhere.  West Chester is lucky to have Mark Welch.  But to Mark’s mind, he truly wants what is best for West Chester in the ways good management always does, by getting out of the way of those who make things happen in the world.

Rich Hoffman