POMEROY — “We need someone who will stand up for working people, for the environment, for common sense issues, but you have to work first,” 2018 gubernatorial candidate Joe Schiavoni told the crowd gathered at a Meigs County Democratic Party meeting Thursday.
“People want to see someone doing something to get the job done, rather than throwing grenades at the opposition all day, which doesn’t get the work done.”
He continued, “We need leaders that want to do something, leaders who listen and bring people’s voices to the Statehouse. We need accountability and transparency in our government and to be creating relationships and advocating for things that are important to people.”
Schiavoni (D-Boardman) has represented District 33 since his appointment to the vacant seat in 2008. He was elected to a full, four-year term in 2010, reelected in 2014, and has been Democratic Leader of the Senate since 2013.
Schiavoni is a Youngstown native who now resides with his family in Boardman, and he said the concerns facing residents in his district, that include Appalachian counties Columbiana and Mahoning, are similar to those in Meigs, and that what is needed are “leaders who will listen to the people and bring their voices to the Statehouse.”
“We in government need to create relationships with the people, and advocate for things that are important to them.” he said, “instead of letting large corporations direct the agenda.”
As governor, Schiavoni said he would continue pushing his agenda of job creation and investment in communities, as well as support of education and affordable health care, “all, I believe to be, vital components to solving the problems facing Appalachian Ohio.”
Schiavoni was asked by The Daily Sentinel how he would balance the needs of urban and rural residents of Ohio given recent budget cuts that have had a negative impact on local governments.
“It is unfair, there is an easy way to run government, and that is to just take a pot of money and split it up and tell everyone what they get when it comes to school and local government funding.”
He said the preponderance of local levies and taxes are occurring because “we have woefully underfunded local governments, particularly in poor rural areas. We need to shift the priorities, and invest in local governments by closing tax loopholes and finding alternative sources of revenue streams.”
In a bipartisan attempt to expand broadband internet access across Ohio, Schiavoni and John Eklund (R-Munson Township) have reintroduced SB 225.
The measure would not raise taxes and instead use funds from the Ohio Third Frontier, a state initiative created in 2002 to encourage the growth of technology-based, companies, industries and jobs in Ohio.
Schiavoni was joined by Taylor Sappington, (D-Nelsonville) candidate for State Representative Ohio House District 94 in 2018.
Sappington said his interest in politics began when he attended a state leadership conference in 2006 addressed by Jon Husted, then Speaker of the House of Representatives.
“My mom was a single parent and money was tight. I had to fundraise to attend the conference. She was in nursing school and we just needed a little help for a couple of years.”
After hearing Husted’s views on people receiving benefits and the proposed legislation that would have forced his mother to take a job and abandon her education, Sappington said he felt Husted did not understand how benefits were helping his family, and others like his, in their efforts to become self sufficient.
“Today, my mother is a nurse, helping people every day, making a positive contribution to the community. She just needed a little temporary assistance.”
“I learned at that conference what I still believe today, what has motivated me to run for office; instead of working for us, legislators often work for wealthy corporations, and I didn’t want to be a part of that, I wanted people like my family to have a voice.”
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.