OTTAWA — Voters in Putnam County have a choice between two candidates who aren’t so much from opposite sides of the political spectrum but from opposite sides of the counter in the Putnam County Recorder’s Office.

Lori Rayle, of rural Ottawa and the Republican running for the position, has worked in the office for the past 15 years, many of those as the deputy recorder. For the past two years, she assumed most of the recorder’s duties inside the office while recorder Cathy Recker, who is not seeking re-election, health with a health issue. Rayle is also a Blue Star Mother and member of Putnam County’s Republican Central Committee and Republican Women’s Club.

“Few of you know this, but most do not, that this responsibility came with no additional pay,” said Rayle, a graduate of Pandora-Gilboa High School. “I did it because I cared that our office would be run efficiently and without interruption.”

Dawn Maag, of Ottawa and the Democrat in the race, spent the past 17 years working in the legal profession, including as a paralegal for two real estate law firms where she was involved with the recording process. She has an applied business degree from the University of Northwestern Ohio, which she thinks will help in the role. She also is a member of the UNOH Legal Advisory board and SS. Peter and Paul Parish Council. She also worked as a deputy clerk for two judges in the probate/juvenile court.

“I know there hasn’t been much leadership since the current recorder has had some health issues,” said Maag, a graduate of Ottawa-Glandorf High school. “… I believe with my education and my experience, especially with the business part of my degree, will be good as far as managing the office and managing the budget.”

They agree on the important roles of the job, to be friendly with members of the public who come in needing real estate information or liens while accurately recording new information about deeds and mortgages. The COVID-19 pandemic pushed the office to be able to provide more public records online.

Rayle, who won the Republican primary against Recker’s husband, Troy, said while records from 1993 forward and some very early records are available online now, the office still needs to go back and scan many older documents. She said she’s already been involved in the budgeting process for the recorder’s office and is ready to serve.

“I feel like I have the most to offer all the residents of Putnam County,” Rayle said. “I think it brings it back to my experience and dedication. I have a vested interest in the recorder’s office. I love my work, enjoy what I do and understand it. It’s become second nature to me.”

Maag said she thinks she’d provide good leadership in the office, fiscal responsibility and an eye for serving the public, including the attorneys and title searchers who frequent the recorder’s office.

“Formal education may not be a requirement for holding this office, but I believe it adds another layer of value to my resume,” she said. “It’s important as an elected official. I believe that’s what sets me apart in this race.”



Maag, left, and Rayle, right

Reach David Trinko at 567-242-0467 or on Twitter @Lima_Trinko.

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