RIO GRANDE — Gallia Republicans shared their vision for Gallia and Ohio’s future as officials from all levels of government and dignitaries were present for the annual Lincoln-Reagan Day Dinner at the University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College.
Gubernatorial candidate and Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine served as the event’s keynote speaker. State Representative of the 93rd District of Ohio Ryan Smith introduced DeWine after sharing the General Assembly had introduced its capital budget bill with support from his office and State Senator Bob Peterson and that several hundred thousand dollars would be headed to Gallia construction projects. Smith is running for the Speaker of the House position in his last go for a state representative seat.
”I’m excited because Attorney General DeWine is here tonight,” said Smith. “If you look back on this election five or six months ago, we had a crowded field on the Republican side and the primary and people said we were going to beat each other up and we were going to spend all our money and have a tough race in the fall… We flipped the script pretty much because the field has thinned out and now the Democrats are very crowded and with Attorney General DeWine and Jon Husted joining forces, we’ve got a great team to support in the fall. I’m happy to endorse him.”
“When I go into the county I have curiosity and I go back and look up the last election and I owe you a great deal of gratitude,” said DeWine to the crowd. “In 2014, you allowed me to actually lead the ticket as far as statewide office holders in the county and you gave me 73 percent of the vote…In 2010, we had a very tough race. I was running against the incumbent Democrat, Richard Cordray. Before the election, the Columbus Dispatch had me six points down and every other Republican up. We thought it wasn’t going to be too well, but when the returns started coming in, what saved us were the counties along the Ohio River in the southern part of Ohio. We overperformed there and did better than any other Republican did, so thank you…I guarantee you I will not forget Gallia County or the other counties in this part of the state.”
DeWine claimed he was a pro-life advocate and leader and while in US Senate wrote a bill called the Unborn Victims of Violence act which said when a pregnant woman was attacked, there were two victims. Dewine has investigated Planned Parenthood in the state as its attorney general. DeWine said there were no stronger advocates for the amendment than he and his running mate, Jon Husted. The attorney general said he challenged previous President Barack Obama saying he would join lawsuits challenging presidential decisions they felt were illegal. DeWine said that if he becomes governor, sanctuary cities will not be allowed in Ohio to which he received applause. He said his office has focused on resolving untested rape kits throughout the state as attorney general to get rapists off the street.
“I think the number one job of a governor is to focus on jobs,” said Dewine. “Good paying jobs, the governor’s job is to create pro-growth and job. You do that by keeping taxes down and regulations down.”
DeWine said he would also continue to make the opioid epidemic battle a top priority in his administration, focusing on treatment for addicts and while also strengthening law enforcement positions. DeWine also said he was continuing to search for a resolution against drug makers of opioids in which he filed suit earlier.
Also speaking was State Senator of District 17 Bob Peterson who encouraged others to get out and vote as did US Congressman Bill Johnson.
Kennison Saunders announced he would step down from his position as chairman with the Gallia Republican Party in May. Judy Jones was also recognized for her years of service to the party.
Next up were candidates for county offices.
“Since I’ve been in office, I’ve tried to utilize new technology,” said Gallia County Auditor Larry Betz as he addressed the crowd about his bid for re-election. “My first year as auditor, I created a website which is used everyday by a lot of you folks in the room, real estate folks and bankers. I’ve utilized aerial photography as another tool we use in the office…This year I’m going to focus on a Facebook page to announce things that’s going on in the office and deadlines…It’s to help the public to know what’s going on and when and they can correspond back to us. I’m a big believer in using technology to our advantage. I appreciate your vote and support in the past and this year as well.”
“I’m Harold Montgomery and I’m up for re-election this year,” said the Gallia County Commissioner. “I had a four-year contract with you. I’m in the last year and asking you to renew that if you would please. I’m very proud to be part of this ticket this year from the top down. We have Congressman Bill Johnson. We’re going to have for governor Mike DeWine. Ryan Smith, Bob Peterson and Larry Betz. This is a dream ticket in my mind. I was earlier on thinking that with Husted and DeWine, both great people on the ticket, if they ran against each other it could cause problems but things have a way of working themselves out. (When he saw them combine efforts) I saw that as a dream ticket. Thank you, and I ask you for your vote and support this year.”
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.