3 to face off in state rep. primary

Published 12:17 am Sunday, May 4, 2014

During the primary election on Tuesday, Lawrence County voters will select the candidate who will challenge incumbent Bill Johnson (R-6) for his congressional seat in November.

The race consists of Democrats Jennifer Garrison and Greg Howard, and Green Party candidate Dennis Lambert all trying to grab the chance to showdown with Johnson in the coming months.

Garrison, who lives in Marietta, served in the Ohio Statehouse as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for more than five years.

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“I have experience, I’ve already worked in the Statehouse,” Garrison said. “I’ve worked a portion of this district then. I know the issues, and I know that the people of Ohio need someone in Washington who is going to stand up and represent them.”

Howard grew up in Cheshire, but currently resides in Meigs County where he and his wife, Gerry, run a small farm. Returning southeastern Ohio to its former glory is his main objective, Howard said.

“This area, our district used to be booming,” Howard said. “There was a lot going on here at one time. We still have the people power, but we no longer have the infrastructure to support ourselves in that way. The roads aren’t up to snuff and our rural areas need access to broadband Internet.”

Lambert has called Lawrence County home for the past seven years, and even though he falls outside of the two major party affiliations, he says his platform is not complicated.

“I’m running on a simple platform,” Lambert said. “I’m running for the veterans, I’m running for jobs and I’m running for the environment. We have great resources in southern Ohio, like the Ohio River. We need to utilize those resources.”

Despite both representing the Democratic Party, Howard and Garrison differ on many issues, including energy.

“I’m a Democrat who disagrees with the President,” Garrison said. “I’m pro-life, I support the Second Amendment and I’m pro-coal. I believe coal is vital to southern Ohio. There is room for alternative energies in the energy platform but you will never be able to feed our nation’s power needs with those types of energy resources.”

Howard, on the other hand, falls more in line with Lambert’s view on energy. Both candidates believe alternative energy resources such as solar and hydrogen power are more realistic sources of energy going forward.

“Coal is no longer a viable energy source,” Howard said. “Now it has its benefits as a value added resource but as for our energy needs I believe we need to look toward hydrogen.”

Lambert echoes Howard’s thoughts on the validity of coal as a source of energy but also believes coal has little value in any capacity in today’s America.

“Coal has ran its course,” Lambert said. “We’ve got the technology to move past it. We aren’t all listening to victrolas, we’ve moved on to MP3s, so why do we hang onto fossil fuels so fervently?”

As for Congressman Johnson, who will not face any opposition during primary elections, he says he believes his record while in office will stand on its own.

“It’s not going to matter to me who wins the Democratic primary,” Johnson said. “I’m very comfortable putting the hard work I’ve done for Southeastern Ohio to the test against whoever may win.”