DARKE COUNTY - Richard Adams (R-Troy) announcing his retirement has left an open seat to fill for the House of Representatives 80th District, and three republicans and a democrat have come forth to announce their intention to fill that seat, if their constituents see fit to elect them.
The Primary Election being held Tuesday will determine which of the republicans will ultimately be in the running, but Jonathan Michalski, 28, of Tipp City will be unopposed, making him the democratic candidate for the position.
“I’m running because I care,” Michalski stated. “I’m in this because I believe in what I’m doing, I’m not just in it to be a politician and hold an office. I have a sense of duty and obligation to my community and my state…I just want to put my voice out there and see what I can do to make my community and state a better place to live and raise a family.”
Michalski said he’s focusing on education, safety and gun control, stating that he would never seek to take away Americans’ second amendment rights, but he feels that “we have to do more to protect the weak and innocent in our society.” To learn more about the democratic candidate for the Ohio House of Representatives’ 80th District seat, visit www.facebook.com/michalskiforohiohouse.
Those vying for the Republican slot include Stephen Huffman (R-Tipp City), Joe LeMaster (R-Arcanum) and Mike Williams (R-Troy). Two of the candidates, LeMaster and Williams, are veterans, while Huffman is currently the Miami County coroner.
“Realistically, on paper, we’re the same people,” LeMaster commented about his fellow republicans. “It’s a matter of choice. I have no qualms about supporting either one if they beat me, but I feel I’m the better choice.”
LeMaster said he is a “common man, not too classy, and prefer blue jeans over dress pants.” He’s a member of the American Legion, and loves riding his Harley, he said. Because he has a “pastor’s heart,” LeMaster said he’s given his life in service to his country and people.
According to LeMaster, the District 80 seat has never been filled by a Darke County representative, despite covering the southern half of Darke County and all of Miami County.
“I don’t think the predecessors to the post have done a bad job, but I think we, here in Darke County, are just as educated and intelligent as they are, and if they can look over Miami County and half of Darke County, why can’t I look over half of Darke County and Miami County?” LeMaster questioned.
His goal if he gets to office is to eliminate Ohio’s personal income tax, an idea that Governor John Kasich ran his campaign on four years ago and has yet to act on, LeMaster said. “I’d like to remind him of that,” he added.
LeMaster served 21 years in the U.S. Navy prior to becoming a pastor at a non-denominational church in Arcanum nearly 20 years ago. He completed his associate degree in 1982, and his PhD in 2004. LeMaster serves as the pastor of Family of God Ministries in Arcanum, where he lives with his family. For more information on Joe LeMaster, visit www.ElectJoeLeMaster.com.
His opponents, Williams and Huffman, are both family men, as well; Williams and his wife Jessica are licensed foster parents in Miami County, he said.
Williams, a U.S. Air Force veteran, said that he wears many hats at his family’s small business, making him no stranger to the multi-tasking required of political office. His top priorities include jobs and education, he said.
“Businesses are stifled by overbearing regulations and a confusing tax code, costing us jobs,” Williams stated. “Governments don’t create jobs; businesses do. To help keep our current jobs and attract new ones, we need to remove the government’s bureaucratic obstacles to growth and make the cost of doing business in Ohio lower than comparable costs in neighboring states.”
As a family man and former Air Force captain, Williams said he’s concerned with the “values of our community,” and as a businessman, he’s aware of the issues that matter to small business owners. Williams discusses the issues more in dept on his website, www.VoteMarkWilliams.org.
“We need to hold our legislators accountable, increase transparency, and ensure efficiency within the state,” Williams stated. “I’m running because of a deep sense of duty to my family and friends. I served in the military to do my part in protecting liberty and freedom, and as a state representative I plan to do the same.”
Stephen Huffman, MD, is currently serving his community as Miami County coroner, as well as doing rounds at area Emergency Departments, including Wayne Hospital, he said. Huffman was elected to the position of coroner in 2012, he said, and has since “lowered the costs associated with the office while filling the duties of the office and providing compassionate care for families.”
A life-long Miami County resident, Huffman is in tune to the needs of his community, and feels he knows what’s needed, and is willing to listen to his constituents.
Huffman believes that taxes are “simply too high.”
“The State of Ohio needs to decrease the tax burden placed on businesses and families. Ohio’s legislators must practice fiscal discipline in spending policies in Columbus. In addition, our state representatives must advocate for our personal liberties, including the right to bear arms,” Huffman stated on his website, www.SteveHuffmanforOhio.com.