Two vie for 87th State Representative seat

Published 9:58 am Friday, October 31, 2008

The two men who are running for the position of state representative of the 87th District say they bring different things to the table.

Incumbent Clyde Evans, a Republican, says he brings experience and a passion. Challenger Shane Meldick, a Democrat, says he brings a common man’s perspective.

Evans has been in office for six years and at the age of 70, the Rio Grande man has had the experience of working in various administrative positions at the University of Rio Grande.

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“I have spent my life trying to develop the educational background to do this job,” he said. “I have worked incessantly to try to understand the issues.”

He said the work he did at the school taught him how to work with other people since everyone is on same power level, the same situation you find in the political world.

“It’s quite different than in the corporate field where decisions are made top-down, it’s more working together,” Evans said.

He said after three terms, he is now a number of important committees in the House of Representatives including the finance committee, education, agricultural and is the vice-chairman of the financial institutions and securities committee.

He said he has been a full-time legislator and has still managed to make numerous trips back to his district. Once a month, he goes to every county that he represents.

“I have made 350 open door sessions throughout my home district and talked to people,” Evans said.

He said the two issues that he is passionate about crafting policies are in education and helping to create jobs.

“The Legislature and the government does not create jobs, it only creates policies so creative people and technicians and people in science create jobs,” he said. “Education is the bedrock of our future industry and growth in this country.”

He said there are many jobs that could be expanded or brought into Ohio but companies are looking for workers with more than just a high school diploma.

“The Ohio Manufacturing Association says they will have by 2015, 250,000 jobs and every one of them will require some post-high school training or education,” Evans said.

Meldick, who is a farmer, truck driver and timber cutter, has been the president of the Jackson and Vinton County Farm Bureau for four years.

“I’ve saw whenever I went to Columbus to represent the Farm Bureau that they were forgetting about us in southern Ohio,” he said. “So rather than getting mad, I went to work and put my shoulder against it.”

He said his farm bureau has been recognized on both the state and national level for the work they do.

“I put Jackson and Vinton County Farm Bureau on the map and now I want to make sure the 87th District has their voice as well,” he said.

He said if he were elected he would have a voice for everybody, not just the people who have money and big business.

“When the economy went sour, we were the first ones to feel it and we will be the last ones to benefit went it goes back the other way,” Meldick said. “As a sixth-generation farmer, I already have a strong work ethic built in me. I can be taught the tricks at the Statehouse but you can’t teach work ethics.”

He said as private individual he can’t do much but as a state representative he will be able to seek out businesses and bring them to southern Ohio.

“We aren’t afraid to work and we aren’t afraid to get dirty,” he said. “I want to go up to Columbus and get things done.”

He said he is interested in bringing “green” jobs here as well as using the Ohio River and train systems the area already has in place.

“We are in a good geographic area,” he said. “And we have a good workforce, just about any industry I can think of would work here.”

Meldick said that as a new person, he wouldn’t owe anyone in Columbus and that he would be a breath of fresh air.

He said his most important job is being a husband and the father of seven children.

“That is a full-time job in itself,” he said.