DARKE COUNTY — The incumbent in Ohio’s 84th House District election, Republican Susan Manchester, spoke extensively with The Daily Advocate about the upcoming election and her future plans, should she be reelected. The 84th district covers sections of Auglaize, Shelby, and Darke Counties, and all of Mercer County.
Manchester was raised on a farm in Auglaize County before going on to earn degrees in psychology and political science from Ohio State in 2010. After graduation, Manchester spent a year in Venezuela developing a student-led mission organization at a Venezuelan university. She then returned home and moved to Washington, D.C. to work for Congressman Jim Jordan from Ohio’s Fourth U.S. Congressional District. During her five years working for Jordan, Manchester attained her Master’s Degree in political management from The George Washington University.
Upon returning home to Ohio, Manchester decided to try her hand as a candidate and was elected in 2018 to represent the 84th district in the Ohio legislature. Her conservative policies and emphasis on developing Ohio’s foster care programs have endeared the representative to her constituents. When asked about her first term in the legislature, Manchester confirmed that she is most proud of the work she has done for children.
“Early in 2019 after I had just taken office, I was approached by folks in Shelby County who work directly with child welfare, and they talked to me about the needs that we have in our area for foster care givers,” said Manchester. “So I went back to Columbus and introduced a bill, House Bill 8, that would increase access to foster care givers by making training partially online and also giving the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services more flexibility in adopting rules for foster care. I’m proud to say that the bill will be signed by [Ohio] Gov. DeWine in a couple of weeks, so I am really thankful to have worked on this legislation and to see it cross the finish line, I think it’s a great bill and I think it’s really going to help increase access to foster care for kids.”
Manchester also expressed her continued commitment to fight for children in her district and across the State of Ohio. Following her discussion about Ohio’s foster care system, she then spoke about how Ohio has dealt with COVID-19 and what she believes has been successful, and what could be improved upon.
“In the very beginning, it was obvious that something needed to be done.” noted Manchester. “We were seeing, unfortunately, examples in Europe and New York City of the virus getting way out of hand and hospital capacity being overwhelmed, so I don’t think anyone wanted it to be that way in Ohio. So, in the beginning, it was all so new and we were working with very limited information, so the governor made some decisions that were pretty extreme but it was all with the intent of flattening the curve and making sure we had the hospital capacity for an outbreak. But, as time has gone on, it has become clear that the virus, while still alive and spreading, is something that a majority of the people have recovered from.”
Moving forward, Manchester noted that she would like to see Gov. DeWine’s mandates be scaled back. She stated that a portion of his mandates have affected small business and individuals in a way that is not positive to the growth of Ohio. Primarily, she would like to see the 10 p.m. curfew for bars and restaurants lifted, and she would also like to remove the mask mandate for schools.
“I have heard from countless individuals how those two mandates in particular (10 p.m. curfew, and school mask mandate) have really impacted their day-to-day living.” she said. “And I think that for Ohioans, and for people in the 84th district specifically, personal liberties are of the utmost importance and I fully trust people to make the best decisions for their health and safety.”
When asked about reelection, Manchester confirmed that she is confident about her campaign and noted that, if she were to win, her first priority is the state budget.
“The state budget is going to be the first item on the agenda for 2021,” Manchester said. “And with everything that is happening with COVID-19 and all of the shutdowns, we are facing a pretty huge deficit as a state. Thankfully, Ohio is required to pass a balanced budget and I’m proud to say that last session I voted in favor of a balanced budget, and I will do so again, but we really need to take a serious look at where we can scale back. Perhaps we got a little too comfortable with where we were before, and we’re not so comfortable anymore from a budget standpoint, so I think it’s a real opportunity to carefully examine where we can scale back government spending which is something I really value and believe in.”
Along with her focus on the budget, Manchester outlined her commitment to education and healthcare.
“I serve on the education committee and I hope to continue to do so in the next term, and I am working on a couple of healthcare bills that I will most likely continue to work on in the next term.” she said. “The goal of these bills is to increase patient access to medication and, overall, provide a better patient experience. And, frankly, we have to continue to put pressure on the governor for these state-wide mandates, we have to keep the pressure up in the general assembly to scale back and do what is best for individuals and businesses.”
To conclude the interview, Manchester was prompted to give a message to her constituents.
“It has been an absolute honor and privilege to represent the 84th district for the past couple of years.” she concluded. “I am always so impressed by the hard-work and tenacity that this district has and it’s incredible to serve such amazing people. I’ve been able to get to know a lot of folks on the ground who show up to work everyday to make sure that this is a great place to live and work and raise a family. It is my responsibility to be your voice and to ensure that your voice is heard across all levels of government, and I really hope that I’ll get the opportunity to keep fighting for you.”