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Johnson, Smith can be leaders

Lawrence County and southern Ohio need strong leaders in Columbus, individuals with clear visions for the districts they represent. Terry Johnson and Ryan Smith fit that bill.

All the candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives’ 90th and 93rd Districts appear to be motivated by the right reasons and genuinely care about our region. But experience, a firm understanding of the challenges facing our region and tangible plans separate Johnson and Smith from their opponents.

When Johnson took office two years ago, he vowed to use his credentials as the only medical doctor in the legislature to fight against the prescription drug epidemic that has ravaged southern Ohio. He has done just that with several pieces of adopted legislation.

The military veteran also showed his character and commitment to citizens by voting against his party and Republican Gov. John Kasich on several key initiatives including the union-busting legislation that became SB5. We need our representatives to stand up for what is right for us, regardless of politics.

For these and other reasons, we think Johnson is the best choice for the 90th District seat. His Democrat challenger, John Haas, has some solid ideas about job creation and state priorities, but Johnson has earned two more years.

Ryan Smith is called the incumbent but he had just a few short months of an appointment before the legislature was recessed. Still, he managed to lay a foundation for future successes and this will help him hit the ground running if re-elected to the 93rd District.

With a background in finances, a sharp eye for details and a personality that makes him a good listener, Smith has the opportunity to become a real leader in the House and use those traits to benefit our region.

Smith’s opponent, Democrat Josh Bailey, is on target when he says the state needs a jobs bill and that the governor should use some of the “rainy day funds” to help local governments facing stiff challenges providing vital services. With some experience, Bailey could become a future leader.

Ultimately, Johnson and Smith should be able to use their experience, leadership qualities and strong understanding of what we need to ensure that Lawrence County isn’t forgotten in Columbus.