Another local Republican, Mr. Justin Pizzulli, has thrown his hat into the political ring of 2018, pursuing the soon-to-be vacant seat on the Ohio House of Representatives currently occupied by Representative Dr. Terry Johnson(R). He is currently facing another Scioto County native, Mrs. Gina Collinsworth, in the primary election to earn a spot on the election ballot later this year.
Mr. Pizzulli is from the tight-knit community of Franklin Furnace, where he was deeply impacted by his hardworking, religious upbringing, which gave him the inspiration to run for office.
“I am from Franklin Furnace and I graduated from Green Township High School with a class size of just over 40 people,” Pizzulli explained, “So, from an early age I learned how to work with everyone as a family. I unfortunately have had many friends overdose on heroin which has inspired me to run.”
Another major point of running comes from his desire to improve the education system, which left a bad taste in his mouth after what he perceives as years of state neglect to area students.
“I knew from an early age our education system in Ohio was broken when I opened my textbook on the first day of class to write my name, and my mother’s name was also written on the book. It had to have been over 20 years old,” Pizzulli wrote. “We were always struggling to keep the lights on and we would receive the hand-me-down desks from the prison across the street. What’s wrong with that picture? The prison was shut down and the jobs were moved to Circleville. Because of politicians in Columbus, many people in my town lost their jobs.”
The third-generation Italian American was the first to graduate college on his mother’s side, having received his Bachelors in Business Administration from Shawnee State University and Masters of Business Administration from Marshall University.
Pizzulli says his strong sense of fiscal responsibility taught him early on in life that he aligned well with the Republican Party; from the moment he earned his first paycheck to his years working in college to leave debt free.
“The day I turned sixteen I went out and got my first job and on my check, I noticed a huge chunk of it was gone,” Pizzulli said. “Who is FICA and why did they take all my money? From that point, I knew I was a Republican because I hated taxes.”
Since then, Pizzulli has educated himself, served the area as a realtor, and has volunteered for political offices in Columbus and Washington. He also proudly boasts his participation in over 16 county parades, over the course of one year, to spread the message of his core beliefs, his party, and his corner of the state.
While he has been eager to volunteer his political expertise, he feels like there is a lot of room for improvement at the state level.
“I’m running because I saw a message that wasn’t out there that I thought I could provide,” Pizzulli writes. “There’s a leadership crisis in Columbus that I know I can fill. I have a deep sense of pride when it comes to living in southern Ohio. The people who live here are bound together with a shared sense of values and beliefs. However, for a litany of reasons, the politicians in Columbus ignore us. They see us as behind the times and unable and unwilling to contribute to the state economy. In their eyes, they see an effort to connect with us as an effort not worth their time. If this is a representation of our “leaders” in Columbus, they have a sorry and lackluster definition of what it means to be a leader and we, the people, must send a message that makes them reconsider how they view our part of the state. And secondly, they just don’t understand what we’re all about because they don’t spend any time down here or listening to us. I have lived here my entire life, and I arrived at a point where I couldn’t just sit back and watch my home be trampled on like this any longer. It’s my goal to end the era of us sitting in the shadows of the political word. We are being ignored and our message has fallen on deaf ears. This has been proven by the number of businesses continuing to close, number of heroin overdoses, and young people leaving our area. We need to tackle these challenges not by doubling down on the same old, tired strategies of the last few decades. But by engaging in a renewed sense of vigor defined by a fresh vision of what we want our community to look like. Rather than trying to keep our heads above the water, I want us to construct a future that allows us to thrive, grow, and prove to everyone that we are the definition of what it means to pull yourself up by your bootstraps and succeed.”
For more information about the 90th District hopeful, check out his website at www.justinforohio.com, where he goes into detail about his platform and how he hopes to help southern Ohio. Pizzulli also has a Facebook page for his campaign, which he will use to reach out to Ohioans and post any schedule of appearances.