Editor’s Note: As we approach the November General Election, the Gallipolis Daily Tribune and The Daily Sentinel 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.
OHIO VALLEY — Voters in the Ohio State Senate 30th District will choose between incumbent Republican State Senator Frank Hoagland and Democrat challenger Michael Fletcher in the November election.
Fletcher’s responses to the questions sent by The Daily Sentinel appear below. Hoagland’s responses had not been received as of press time.
Tell us about yourself:
I am a Southeastern Ohio native from Athens. I grew up with one foot in town and one in the country and I escaped to the woods whenever possible. I graduated from Athens High School in 1974 and worked my way through college as a computer operator and as a floor mechanic. I graduated from Ohio University in 1980, with a BS in Organizational Communications.
I’ve done a variety of work but my career was dominated by those years as a commercial real estate appraiser, financial planner, EMT and I am currently active as a real estate agent. I have worked as a laborer and I’ve been a suit in an office. Mostly I have worked independently. In the past I have held licenses as a General Appraiser, Life Health and Annuity Insurance, Series 6 and 63 and EMT Basic.
I have been endorsed by the AFL-CIO, OEA/NEA, AFSCME and Planned Parenthood.
I have been happily married to my college sweetheart for 38 years. She is a teacher and administrator at OU. We have five grown children, four boys, one daughter and two granddaughters. My parents still live in the Athens area. My father still lives on the small farm where he grew up in Shade, Ohio. Most of my family is still in the region and they are why we choose to live and raise our family in the Athens area.
Why I decided to run for this office?
I was always taught that service to others was important and I have tried to incorporate public service into my life. I have been involved with Scouting for years. My four boys and I are all Eagle Scouts. I have done volunteer consulting for non-profits like the Red Cross, Boys and Girls Club and Scouting. A few years ago, when I saw that an error was being made based on bad advice, I successfully took on a year long project that challenged and halted Ohio University’s plan to demolish millions of dollars of publicly owned real estate. Even though many advised me I would never be successful at influencing it, I had the expertise. It cost me but I did it because it was the right thing to do for the public.
Doing consulting, financial planning and working as an EMT, I have had the opportunity to listen to hundreds of people’s stories, struggles, and fears while I was helping them. I began considering running for office over 20 years ago. I am an avid reader and I am interested in a wide variety of topics. About 6 years ago, I began focusing my readings on the topics of public discourse. I think my career and my own interest have prepared me for the diverse responsibilities of a legislator and I have been encouraged by those who I respect that this is something they believe I can do well. Now that my kids have grown, the timing is right in my life and I want to commit the next several years to this form of public service.
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