By MORGAN MANNS
As the deadline for write-in candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives 88th District came to a close Monday, one last candidate filed for election.
Bill Young, retired social studies teacher of Green Springs, announced to a small group of Fostoria residents Monday afternoon that at 2:35 p.m. that day, he filed his declaration of intent to be a write-in Democratic candidate.
In a written speech, Young said he waited until Monday to file because he had already accepted substitute teaching positions at Green Springs and Bellevue elementary schools.
“As a man of my word, I was obligated to fulfill those important commitments,” he said. “And as your elected, full-time state representative, I will bring the same kind of dedication to all the citizens of the 88th district.”
Young had campaigned in 2012 for the 88th district seat, but lost to State Rep. Rex Damschroder (R-Fremont), who is serving his second term in the Ohio House of Representatives. Damschroder had previously served from 1995 to 2003.
Damschroder was supposed to sign the petition for his re-election eight times but missed one signature, which voided his petition. His candidacy was officially withdrawn Feb. 12.
The clerical error also prevented him from running as a write-in candidate. However, Damschroder’s wife, Rhonda, filed her declaration to be a write-in candidate Feb. 21.
She will seek candidacy for the Republican nomination in the May 6 primary election with the goal of serving as a placeholder for her husband, if she is nominated.
Bill Reineke, Jr., president of Tiffin Ford, Inc. and a partner in the Reineke Family Dealerships, recently announced he is also seeking write-in candidacy for the district, which includes all of Sandusky and portions of Seneca County.
Young said he originally didn’t file for office because “the plain and simple truth is that running against an established incumbent career politician in a heavily gerrymandered district made it very hard for me to raise necessary funds for a successful campaign in November.”
According to a press release from Young’s campaign party, “Young feels that in light of recent events, it is his duty to renew his candidacy and truly represent the interests of the hard-working men and women of the 88th District in the Statehouse. Young’s opponents simply do not know what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck and cannot fathom the struggles that many in our district face every day.”
Young said he is “humbled and honored” by the support and endorsements he has received from various individuals and organizations. He stated their belief in him will put the representation in Columbus the district deserves.
He said it’s time that “an average citizen” regains their voice in the state house after almost 20 years of “highly partisan representation.”
“We need a person in there that’s for the average person instead of these rich guys,” one community member said at the gathering.
Comments were also made on Young’s punctuality, comparing it to other politicians who are “a half an hour to an hour late,” and how important it is that he is running as a full-time representative.
“To me that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “I want to be a person who’s there for everyone and listens to everyone’s viewpoints. As your state representative I will listen to the concerns of all the constituents of the 88th district, regardless of political affiliation.”
He said he’s been told, and strongly believes, that he can’t win his position in the 88th district without the support and votes from Fostoria residents.
“Fostoria is a place I just absolutely love,” Young said. “It’s kind of our home away from home.
“One of my lasting memories was walking the full length of the Halloween parade in Fostoria and having so many people come up to me and tell me they were voting for me,” he said, adding that people were pledging their votes to him because of a letter posted in the Review Times, which was written by his youngest daughter, Darcy.
He closed his speech by reading that letter, which praised Young on his work ethic and compassion to help others.
“For him, it’s not just about winning and getting the title of State Representative. It’s about helping people, making a difference, and being a voice in our state’s capital,” her letter read. “He really makes people believe in a brighter future. … He makes people believe that they can do something important with their lives and he’s a testament to that belief.”
“That really sums up what this campaign is going to be all about,” Young said. “For the people. It’s a grass-roots effort. We feel very strongly that we have the right issues to win this campaign. And with the support of fine people like you and all the people throughout both Sandusky and Seneca County, we’re going make this a successful run.”
Richard Geyer, 1909 Robert Ave., Fremont also filed for the seat.
Geyer and Reineke are Republicans.
Independent candidates have until May 5 to file for the Nov. 4 election.