“This is a decision that was very hard for me. I’ve done a lot of soul searching for two or three months, and I believe this is the thing for me to do at this time,” he said. “I look forward to working with the legislature and creating jobs and improving the educational system and helping to restore the economy.”
The 89th is currently served by Rep. Todd Book (D-McDermott). He stressed that the House Democratic Caucus does not officially endorse candidates in the primary, but added that he does support Crabtree for state representative.
“To be a good state representative ... a couple things come to mind when I think of my experience. One is independence, and the other is common sense,” Book said. “You don’t represent just one special interest group, or one point of view. You have to realize there are 120,000 people paying attention to what you do when you go to Columbus, and Mike Crabtree can, and will, be an independent representative for all people in the 89th District. He will be working for the good of the people, and not for any personal gain.”
Crabtree said the economy was his No. 1 issue. He said job creation is important, but more focus must also be put on job retention. He likened it to filling a bucket without plugging the hole in the bottom.
“The downturn in the economy has severely hurt the rural counties in particular, and it seems that southern Ohio has too many times been overlooked,” Crabtree said. “One of the things about rural counties is, if you’re not a farmer — or if you’re not in a health care profession — you don’t have too many choices here. There have been some improvements the last few years, but the downturn in the economy has discouraged some people who intended to locate here in southern Ohio.”
He said that was a factor that stopped a proposed MMK russian steel plant from coming to Scioto County, and said he was thankful to the Ohio Democratic Party and Democratic Caucus for giving him this opportunity to make some much needed changes for southern Ohio.
Rep. Dan Dodd, head of recruitment for the Ohio Democratic Caucus, called Crabtree “the best candidate” for our district..
“We feel that his proven record of success on the county level is going to translate well into a state legislative election. We are all very much looking forward to serving with him next session. We have very high confidence in his ability to not only get through a possibly rough primary, but also a rough general election as well,” Dodd said.
When asked about the economic crisis in Scioto County, and why voters should send him to the House, Crabtree said our current situation was inevitable even before he was elected to the Scioto County Commission.
“We’ve been aware of this situation long before it was brought to light by the auditor, and we’ve been working on it. But the unfortunate thing is the budget has been shrinking much faster than we can make the necessary cuts to catch back up. So we’re on the way to recovery but when you have a tremendous plunge in the economy, it’s inevitable that you go into the hole. How you come out of that is what’s going to determine how people look at you in the future,” he said.
Scioto County Coroner Dr. Terry Johnson also has announced his intentions to campaign as the Republican candidate for the 89th House seat. According to the Scioto County Board of Elections, neither Johnson nor Crabtree have yet officially filed their petitions for candidacy. The deadline to file is Feb. 18.
Crabtree promised to run a clean campaign and said he would fully support whichever candidate wins in the primary election on May 4.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail email@example.com.