POMEROY — “Unity within our Party and unity within our country” was the focus of Thursday’s Meigs County Republican Bean Dinner, as articulated by keynote speaker State Representative Robert Sprague.
Sprague (Findlay, District 83) spoke on campaign issues during the evening’s activities at Mulberry Community Center, and asked for support for his bid to secure the Republican nomination for Ohio Treasurer in the May primary.
“Public policy and platforms that help the people of Ohio is what I will bring to the Secretary of Treasurer’s Office. I want to use the office to address issues, like the opioid epidemic.”
Sprague has been serving as State Representative since 2011, and advocated public-private partnerships as a way to address the opioid epidemic, saying he would use social impact bonds to find better treatment options.
Impact bonds are a contract with the public sector to explore and develop new treatments. If the results have a positive outcome, the participant receives a return on their investment. If not, the state pays nothing.
“We need innovative ideas to find a solution to this crisis, and I believe social impact bonds are an opportunity to do so.”
Sprague also said Republicans needed to support the President “in the fight against radical Islamic terrorism,” and said the Treasurer’s office could do more to help build relationships with Israel by promoting state investments in that country.
“Israel is our strongest ally in the war on terror and in the Middle East. These investments would strengthen our ally,” he said.
A strong supporter of STABLE Accounts for those with developmental disabilities, if elected he said he would push to keep these accounts.
STABLE Accounts are not included when determining certain federal benefits such as Medicaid. This allows families and individuals with developmental disabilities to save and invest money for items such as housing and education without losing eligibility.
“STABLE Accounts encourage independence for developmentally disabled persons. It encourages them to develop skills and independent living.”
“Let’s ride the Trump wave to victory,” he closed, referring to all Republican candidates running for office in 2018.
Prior speakers included Cole Durst, Meigs High School junior, who delivered a speech entitled “Unity” and received a standing ovation. Durst was recognized during the event for the highest score on the 2017 American Government test given by the Ohio American Legion each year.
Current Meigs County Republican Party Chairman Bill Spaun served as emcee for the event and recognized several in attendance including State Rep. Jay Edwards, Ohio Republican Party representatives, past Republican County Chairs, and a group of Ohio University students.
Township candidates were introduced, and representatives from the Meigs County Public Library and Rio Grande Community College were also on hand to promote levies on the November ballot.
Meigs County Prosecutor James Stanley reminded the group to vote in the upcoming November election.
“I’m proud to see everyone out tonight. There are a lot of issues on the ballot, including Marsy’s Law, so I encourage everyone to get out and vote,” noted Stanley.
Stanley was referring to Issue 1, which would repeal and replace Ohio’s Amendment 2, passed in 1994. The new law would include a more specific list of rights for crime victims.
Spaun also acknowledged U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s contributions to Meigs County and said “he couldn’t be with us tonight, but he said he knew what a great bean dinner he was missing.”
Lorna Hart is a freelance writer for The Daily Sentinel.