DARKE COUNTY — The challenger in Ohio’s 84th House District election, Democrat Joe Monbeck, spoke with The Daily Advocate about the upcoming election and his future plans, should he be elected. Monbeck is running against one-term incumbent Susan Manchester (R) for the 84th seat, which covers sections of Auglaize, Shelby, and Darke Counties, and all of Mercer County.
Monbeck was raised in Celina by a single mother, and is the middle of two siblings. Both of his brothers are service veterans and Monbeck takes great pride in the effort his mother, as a single mom, put into raising himself and his brothers. Previously, Monbeck worked on the 2012 Obama campaign and was a community organizer with the group “Organizing for Action,” where he informed locals about changes in healthcare laws and practices. During this time, he was elected Auglaize County Democratic Party Central Committee Chairman in 2016, and again in 2020.
Monbeck made it clear that he is running for office primarily because he is tired of the corruption in Columbus, and wants to provide voters with an alternative choice to the status quo “pay to play,” politics that dominates our state government.
“Over my course of campaigning, the one theme that I hear from many people is that they are sick of politicians that tell us one thing to get us to vote for them, but then do the complete opposite when they go to Columbus.” said Monbeck.
He asserted that Rep. Susan Manchester, his opponent, is guilty of this type of behavior on many counts. Monbeck stated that Manchester has voted to raise gas taxes, co-sponsored legislation that cut wages, took local control away from the 84th district on the front of environmental regulation, and has not handled COVID-19 properly as nearly 100 people in the 84th district have passed away from the disease. He believes that the people of the 84th district deserve representation that says what they mean, and means what they say.
For his own approach, Monbeck would focus on strengthening healthcare, education, and infrastructure policy in Ohio.
“Healthcare is a human right, and we should be doing more to make sure that people have access to better healthcare, not less access.” Monbeck stated. “Ohio’s education system has been deemed unconstitutional for almost three decades, yet the corrupt, one-party super majority in Columbus continues to refuse to do anything about it. All children should have access to quality education no matter their zip code. When talking about infrastructure, we need to include high-speed broad band internet. There is no reason that country kids should have to go to McDonald’s to do their homework. If we focus on these three important issues, we can help bring rural Ohio into the 21st century to help compete economically on a global level.”
Monbeck acknowledged that running as a Democrat in predominantly Republican district may seem like a long shot, but he also noted that he believes elections and the American democratic process are too important to not contest an incumbent. Monbeck believes it is time for rural Ohio Democrats to stand up and make their voices heard.
“I believe it is time for Democrats to stop being quiet.” he said. “West Central Ohio’s values of hard work, determination and empathy are Democratic values and we as a local party sometimes believe that not making any waves is the best way to go. There are thousands of Democratic voters in West Central Ohio waiting for representation on the ballot. During this campaign, I challenge folks to get involved, put their name on the ballot and be the change you seek.”
When asked about how the state has been handling the coronavirus, Monbeck offered praise for Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine’s commitment to listening to medical experts.
“Although Ohio’s handling has of the COVID-19 pandemic has not been perfect, I am glad that Gov. DeWine chose to use science and facts, and listen to medical professionals to guide his decisions.” Monbeck noted. “When dealing with any issue, we need to be listening to medical professionals, not fellow representatives that continue to spread junk science.”
To conclude the interview, Monbeck was prompted to make a statement directly to the people of the 84th district.
“I am honored and humbled by every supporter that has the courage to vote for me against the popular option,” Monbeck concluded. “And I vow to represent all people of the 84th, not just those that are of the same political party.”