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Meeting with the voters

For the second time in a month a candidate for the U.S. Senate will be making a visit to Lawrence County.

This weekend, Melissa Ackison, who is running in the Republican primary, will host a town hall event at the Big Boy in Ironton, taking questions and meeting with voters up close.

Her visit follows one a few weeks ago from Cleveland businessman Mike Gibbons, who is also seeking the nomination of his part to run against U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown in the fall. Gibbons stopped by the Holiday Inn to make his pitch to voters.

As a largely rural area, Lawrence County is not exactly on the top of the list of areas to court votes for many statewide candidates, who focus their efforts on heavy population centers like Columbus and Cleveland.

In his visit, Gibbons got a chance to hear the concerns of many Lawrence Countians.

No matter what your political leanings, seeing more statewide candidates take an interest in the region. Gibbons and Ackison’s visits have been made possible by Dave Lucas and organizers around him, in conjunction with his Facebook live show.

It is our hope that the other candidate in the primary, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, will also consider a Lawrence County visit.

We would also like to see a return visit from Brown. The senator last came to the Ironton in October 2016, when he hosted a lengthy forum with local leaders, which served as a listening session for concerns in the area. It is our hope that he will also work a campaign visit to Lawrence County into his busy schedule this year.

In an era of multi-million dollar ad campaigns and unlimited dark money donations to political efforts, it is a danger that one-on-one interaction with voters could become a thing of the past, with candidates putting the focus solely on courting donors and plotting mass media advertising.

It is good to see that there are still candidates in Ohio who value up close campaigning and interacting with voters especially in areas like ours. Hopefully, these early visits are a positive sign for the 2018 race and we get more of them.