Bikers, party faithful greet state rep candidate at courthouse

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 20, 2010

Say the word biker and what comes immediately to mind is probably not political activism.

But some of the people who attended the Saturday rally for Dr. Terry Johnson, Republican candidate for Ohio’s 89th House District, in fact came roaring in on their Harleys.

Dennis O’Bryan of West Portsmouth made the trip. Decked out in leather, the Bikers For Christ member said, what he knows about Johnson, he likes. And he intends to learn more before he casts his vote in November.

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“Right to Life endorsed him,” O’Bryan said. “That’s a very important issue. I want to ask a few more questions and find out where he stands.”

Dubbed the Freedom Ride, Johnson said the motorcycle trip from Scioto to Lawrence County was meant to reach out to people in the 89th District and impress on them the importance of this election.

Johnson said, while he is a Republican, he is keen to reach out to Independents and Democrats within his district as well as members of his own party.

“A lot of folks want to see things turned around in southern Ohio,” Johnson said.

At the Lawrence County Courthouse, Johnson spoke about the need for jobs, better education and the need for a concerted effort to break the prescription drug abuse problem that has plagued this area.

Johnson said he is pleased people in his home county, Scioto County, have developed a team approach to combating the prescription drug abuse problem.

“We’ve had good people working on the problem, but they’ve been working in their own lane. Doctors were working in their lane, law enforcement in their lane, but we’ve got to get together and be a team,” Johnson said. “We’ve got to go at this from a community standpoint.”

Johnson said he intends to work closely with John Carey and Danny Bubp, who represent or would represent the house districts on either side of his, to enhance job development in southern Ohio.

Lawrence County Commissioner Les Boggs, who attended the rally, pointed out that having these three contiguous house seats occupied by people of the same political party could also be conducive to having a stronger voice in Columbus.

Some of Johnson’s strongest supporters were already waiting on the courthouse stepps when the Harleys rolled up.

Lawrence Countian Avanelle Jenkins came with her grandson, Zane Long, to the rally.

Long is friends with Johnson and while he and Jenkins don’t usually attend political rallies, they were willing to make an exception Saturday.

“He’s a great guy,” Long said of Johnson. “He’s strong in southern Ohio values and he has the experience to be our next state representative.”