Meet the candidates: 93rd District statehouse race


Staff Report



Smith

Smith


Thomas-Bush


Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune will be running articles allowing the candidates in contested races to introduce themselves and tell the voters why they are running for office. Each candidate is asked, in their own words, to respond to two questions — tell us about yourself and why are you running for this office.

GALLIPOLIS — Voters in Gallia County will be deciding who will represent them at the statehouse in the 93rd District, choosing between Incumbent Speaker of the House Ryan Smith (R-Bidwell) and challenger Samantha Thomas-Bush (D-Proctorville).

Candidates, along with their responses submitted to the Tribune, are listed below in alphabetical order.

Ryan Smith

Tell us about yourself

My proudest and most important titles are husband and dad. My wife Vicki and I have been married for 21 years, and we are the proud parents of four wonderful children: Blake, Grant, Kennedy and Camryn. I graduated with a degree in Finance from Ohio State and have worked as a financial advisor for the past 22 years. Previously I have served on the Gallipolis City School Board and been involved with the Gallia County Chamber of Commerce and the Gallia County Community Improvement Corporation.

I am currently serving my third term in the Ohio House of Representatives and, earlier this year, was elected Speaker, where I have continued advocating for the families, schools and businesses in southeast Ohio. My campaign has been endorsed by a wide range of groups and organizations, such as Ohio Right to Life, the Ohio State Medical Association and the Ohio Manufacturing Association. I have also earned an “A” rating from the NRA and am endorsed by the Buckeye Firearms Association.

Why I decided to run for this office?

I am seeking my fourth and final term in the Ohio House because, while I believe we’ve made progress as a state, we still have a long way to go. It is important to me that southeast Ohio have the strongest voice it can have in the state legislature. Being Speaker gives me the greatest opportunity to make a difference for the families in our region.

The drug addiction crisis has plagued our area, as it has most areas throughout the state. Last year, we passed a bill that invested $180 million to help local communities tackle the opioid problem through treatment, prevention and workforce development efforts. That, as well as building a stronger environment for job creation and business growth, will continue to be top priorities of mine for as long as I serve in public office.

Samantha Thomas-Bush

Tell us about yourself

I’m an attorney, licensed in West Virginia and Kentucky, living in Proctorville, Ohio, humbly asking for your consideration for your vote for State Representative on November 6th.

I grew up in the Ohio Valley, just across the river in Point Pleasant, and have lived here the vast majority of my life. My grandmother was my primary caretaker growing up because my union member dad was working long hours at AEP’s Gavin Plant. As destiny would have it, I met my future husband, Gallipolis native Andrew Bush, just before moving away for college. I graduated from Marshall University with a bachelor’s degree in journalism and master’s degree in history, and then graduated law school from the University of Louisville. Immediately after graduation, I returned home to begin practicing law in Huntington, West Virginia and to be near my family, including my grandma, who was struggling with her 5th recurrence of cancer at that time. I mention these things because I know that family is important, hard work is important, education is important, and empathy is important. I read and interpret laws every day, and see the frustration, inefficiencies, and growing inequities that occur when the laws become too complicated or if they are written to serve special interests.

Why I decided to run for this office?

I am a first-time candidate for office this year, and it was not a decision I took lightly to get involved. However, I think the United States is the greatest country on Earth because of the sacrifices that the men and women who came before me have made, and to me, this is a meaningful way I can serve my community. Specifically, with the money being taken out of our local schools in the push to privatize schools throughout the state, the substance abuse epidemic, and our struggling economy, I felt that someone has to stand up for the betterment of everyone, not the enrichment of the few.

Education, drug addiction, and a weakened economy all go hand-in-hand. Outside employers look at the quality of schools and the number of substance abuse deaths in a region when determining where they will open a new plant. Teachers cannot adequately prepare their students for life after high school when the schools’ budgets are being drastically cut, compounded with some students having home-life situations impacted by drug addiction. Teachers are constantly being asked to do more with less. Too many students are slipping through the cracks — essentially, the students who could have and would have succeeded with a little more time and attention from a teacher or coach are being left behind. It’s so easy to say that education/preparation for life starts at home, and that’s absolutely true, but when your home-life isn’t a picture-perfect one and some kids don’t have those resources at home, how are they supposed to succeed? We will fund public education and comprehensive substance abuse reform for the betterment of all of our citizens.

We will build the economy from the ground up, to make it an economy that works for everyone, not just a few.

Smith
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Thomas-Bush
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Staff Report