Bennett, Matthews vying for open statehouse seat in Warren County

A new drawn southern Warren County state house district will be represented in January by a person with no political experience at the state level.

Democrat Joy Bennet faces Republican Adam Mathews in the Nov. 8 election for the new Ohio House 56th District. Both have not been elected to a state political position.

In the Aug. 2 primary, Mathews, who is serving as Lebanon’s vice mayor, defeated former Mason mayor Kathy Grossmann according to official results from the Warren County Board of Elections. Bennett, a Mason resident, won her primary against 17-year-old Sam Cao.

Starting in January, Ohio House District 56 covers Lebanon, Mason, Deerfield, Union and Turtlecreek Twps.

State representatives serve two-year terms and will receive a base salary of $69,876 starting in 2023. State representatives receive higher salaries if they serve in a House leadership position or as a committee chair. A state representative can only serve four consecutive terms before sitting out a term.

ExploreMathews edges Grossmann in GOP House primary, will face Bennett in November

Joy Bennett

Bennett, 46, said she’s running because people in the district asked me to run to represent them in the Ohio House after leading a few different community projects and earned name recognition over the past three years.

Bennett said she has experience collaborating, listening, and working with an intentionally diverse group to make things better when leading the Family Advisory Council at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.

“I believe in public service, the common good, and our American values of justice, freedom, and opportunity. I am committed to representing everyone here, regardless of political party,” she said.

Bennett holds a bachelor’s degree from Cedarville University and is a member of several area boards and organizations. She is the founder and chief strategist of Jumpstart Marketing.

“I am committed to representing everyone here, whether we see eye to eye on any given issues or not,” she said. “And I hear each of you when you plead for a ‘normal’ person who will do the hard work that doesn’t make sensational headlines.”

Bennett said her top priorities are freedom, life and opportunity.

Her plans to accomplish those priorities include fighting to protect freedom and personal autonomy; protecting children; better public school funding; attract and retain businesses who treat their employees well and provide valuable products and services; and roll back some of the extreme laws passed recently that make Ohio an unappealing place to live and work.

She said she’ll reject government mandates on a person’s body and favor individual responsibility. Bennett said polls show more than 80% of Ohioans support some access to abortion and she wants to work to modify Ohio’s current 6-week ban on abortion to allow for common sense exceptions and more time for a pregnant person to discover they’re pregnant and make a decision.

Bennett said she wants to advocate for programs that support parents who can’t afford health care and child care for their children, provide robust trauma and abuse services for children, and improve access to mental health services and proactive treatment so people can be the parents their children need.

She wants to improve funding for Ohio schools to educate every child to the same level and fully implement and fund the Fair School Funding Plan. Bennett said Ohio has had unconstitutional school funding for 25 years.

Adam Mathews

Mathews said he’s running because as a city councilman and a small business attorney, he sees the impact that government regulation and overreach can have on hampering the American dream.

“Warren County is growing because it successfully embodies pro-family, pro-business, and pro-liberty policies, and I believe Ohio would benefit from following our lead,” he said. “I will continue to promote and protect the conservative values that make Warren County great and build an Ohio that is strong for our children and our communities.”

Mathews, 34, is currently the vice mayor of Lebanon and holds bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame and his Juris Doctor from Notre Dame Law School. He is a Intellectual property and small business attorney, previously an engineer with P&G and civilian engineer for the Naval Nuclear Propulsion Program. Mathews also serves on a number of boards in Warren County and in greater Cincinnati.

He said voters should elect him because he has successfully enacted and protected victories for our community, as well as given my time, talent, and treasure to build our communities where government shouldn’t operate.

Mathews stands with police and brings people together to serve our community, collaborating and standing firm as needed. As a council member, the city is paying off $2 million of debt that was incurred before joining council. He also helped to keep small business afloat during the pandemic and government shutdowns.

“Voters can expect me to take what works in Warren County and protect and promote it in Columbus,” he said.

His top three priorities, if elected, are to work on making Ohio the most pro-business and pro-family state possible, strengthen our education system and workforce, and defend our police.

“I will continue the Republican victories of bringing in businesses like Intel to Ohio, as well as working with small businesses to build the workforce of the future,” he said. “By getting people back to work, businesses up and running, and controlling government spending, we can fight the inflation that is smothering the middle class.”

Mathews has promoted the Backpack Bill, which would fund students not systems and strengthen parental rights.

He said there is a need to support children and families in tough situations. Mathews has served as a Guardian ad Litem, representing children in foster or neglect and abuse cases. He said there is also a need to empower families, making adoption more available, and create a culture in which children can thrive.

“As a councilman, I sponsored and passed legislation to fully fund and equip our police department so they have the resources to keep themselves and our families safe,” he said. “Ohio needs to build relationships between police and their communities.”

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