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Sixth District candidate visits local businesses in county

CHESAPEAKE — Sixth-district congressional candidate Chuck Blasdel had never walked through the doors of Gilpins Creative Graphics and Awards, but on Thursday afternoon he was welcomed with open arms by owner Dick Gilpin.

“It’s a real honor,” said Gilpin, who has met the legislator previously.

Blasdel, a Republican, is seeking the seat currently occupied by Ted Strickland, the Democrat candidate for governor.

Blasdel is serving his third term in the Ohio House of Representatives and is speaker pro-tempore, the second-highest leadership position in the House. He will be running against write-in candidate Charlie Wilson, a Democrat.

Blasdel said visiting local small businesses is a simple concept, but a very important one that he feels strongly about.

“These (businesses) are the lifeblood of our community,” Blasdel said as he perused Gilpins. “I wanted to get to these places and find out what the issues are that business owners are having and what they feel their communities need.”

Pressing the flesh is the only way that people in the district will know you care about them, Blasdel said with a smile.

“I want people to feel comfortable with me and know that I can get things done,” he said.

Blasdel said he wants to hear about the communities’ priorities, not tell the communities what he feels their priorities should be.

Gilpin said he feels confident in the candidate’s ability because he has a proven track record as being a very effective legislator. He believes Blasdel can “get the job done,” instead of offering empty promises. Some of the major issues Gilpin said he wants addressed locally are the completion of the much-anticipated Chesapeake Bypass, increased economic development projects and better infrastructure.

“We need projects that are going to bring money in,” Gilpin said. “We need the infrastructure and the other basics that will help us grow and I think Chuck can help us.”

One of Blasdel’s tour guides through the region was his southeast political director and Chesapeake native Beckett Gue. Coming to Gilpin’s was a homecoming of sorts for Gue. While looking at the plethora of trophies, awards and photos on the walls, Blasdel chuckled as he saw a photo of Gue as a member of Chesapeake’s 9- and 10-year-old district championship baseball team in the mid-1990s.

“I guess he’s always been on the winning team,” Gilpin joked.

In addition to visiting a handful of small businesses, Blasdel also stopped at meetings of Lawrence County Board of Commissioners and the Ironton Port Authority.