Mathews challenged by Grossmann, Salyer in Ohio House District 56 GOP primary

The Republican primary for Ohio House District 56 is a three-way race featuring a rematch from 2022 between incumbent state Rep. Adam Mathews and former Mason mayor Kathy Grossmann from two years ago — but they’re joined a first-time candidate, Heather Salyer.

Ohio House District 56 covers a portion of central and southwestern Warren County that includes the cities of Lebanon and Mason as well as Turtlecreek, Union and Deerfield twps.

A state representative’s term of office is two years and the annual salary is $68,674. That amount can increase if a member is a committee chair or in the chamber’s leadership.

Early voting in the March 19 primary election is underway and can be done by mail or visiting the Warren County Board of Elections, 520 Justice Drive, Lebanon.

Here’s a look at each candidate:

Kathy Grossmann

Former Mason mayor Kathy Grossman said she feels “a calling and burden to serve with virtue and faithfulness” to represent the interests of Warren County.

Grossmann, 53, said her eight years of experience on Mason City Council, working on city economic development projects, her work in the private sector and family business, and her community service as a volunteer is why people should vote for her.

“Every Republican candidate in the 56th District claims to be the most conservative,” she said. “Of us three, I am the most experienced and have the longest track record of faithfulness to the Republican party platform and our conservative Warren County values. That doesn’t make me a career politician, but it does make me the best-equipped to serve in the Ohio House.”

If elected, Grossmann said her top priorities will be setting policy for public safety, fiscal stewardship and economic growth. She also said there is a need for government ethics reform.

“Policy must always align with ‘life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’ with conservative fiscal stewardship,” she said. “That means we keep taxes low, public services high, government small, and spending cut as much as possible, especially on special interest “fluff” that does not meet the rigorous metrics of having a public purpose.”

Grossmann and her husband Tom, a Warren County commissioner, reside in Mason and are the parents of six children and four grandchildren.

She said she is working part-time for the Center for Christian Virtue in Columbus as a regional program director to help grow their Christian Business Partnership and newly formed Chamber of Commerce. Since 2014, Grossmann has worked for their family business renovating and managing properties in Hamilton County; and managing their horse farm and other rental properties. Grossmann formerly taught fifth grade in the Sycamore School District. She earned a bachelor’s degree in education from Northern Kentucky University.

Grossmann said Ohio legislators should incrementally eliminate Ohio’s income tax and transition to a flat tax. She wants education to focus on the basics of math, science, reading, history, English and literature.

“We must test for and maintain standards to improve educational outcomes and to ensure students are meeting those outcomes,” Grossman said. “Schools should be a place of learning, not indoctrination in woke fads or controversial gender or sex orientation studies. Finally, our girls must be protected, and biological boys should not be allowed to compete against girls.”

Grossmann, who is anti-abortion, called the wording of Issue 1 misleading, but said it is still the law.

“Those of us who are pro-life, like me, must be realistic and acknowledge the public’s opinion on abortion,” she said. “We must expand help for pregnant women to choose life.”

Heather Salyer

Political newcomer Heather Salyer of Turtlecreek Twp. is running for the Ohio House seat because, Our government is dominated by career politicians and elites, who are influenced by external interests rather than safeguarding our freedoms and conservative values,” she said. “I want to serve our state and work to preserve our conservative values and our freedoms.”

Salyer, 50, said throughout her professional life, she has developed business and leadership skills that she intends to leverage as a state representative to contribute to the efficient management of our state.

“I am not protected from our government’s decisions and control through power, wealth, or status,” she said. “I will truly represent ‘we the people’ and will fight for our conservative values and against government overreach.”

Salyer said her top priorities, if elected for this office will be adherence to the constitution and protecting conservative values. She said that she would sponsor, co-sponsor, and vote for bills that help achieve these priorities.

She said families and businesses are over-taxed. “It’s a huge burden, and the government needs to tighten up, spend less, and give Americans back their hard-earned money so they are free to spend it as they choose,” she said.

In education, Salyer supports the Backpack Bill and believes school choice will improve schools.

On infrastructure issues, she said in every area of government, there is a need to look for ways to cut costs. Salyer said she would tend to oppose the construction or advancement of an Amtrak line connecting Dayton to Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland. But she said she’s open to learning more about it.

Salyer said she is anti-abortion, and that there is a need to encourage and make adoption a better alternative.

On the topic of legalized recreational marijuana, Salyer said, “As the wife of a police officer, I don’t think anything good comes from legalizing marijuana.”

Salyer and her husband are the parents of three grown children, two daughters-in-law, and two grandchildren. She holds a bachelor’s degree in business management and is employed in small business/direct sales. Salyer has never held elective office at any level.

When asked to describe herself in one word, Salyer said “steadfast.”

“The definition is to calmly hold firm to the chosen position and follow through with determination,” she said. “I believe this can be said about me in all areas of my life from professional goals in my business to conservative values. I will not waver.”

Adam Mathews

Incumbent state Rep. Adam Mathews said if elected, his top priorities will continue to be making Ohio the best state to raise a family and grow a business, strengthening the education system and workforce, and defending law enforcement and Second Amendment rights.

“Whether it is saving the Western & Southern Open for the next generation or running House Bill 1, which provided the foundation for $2.2 billion in tax cuts, I have worked hard to deliver for Southwest Ohio,” he said.

Mathews, 36, said as a city councilman and a small business attorney, he’s seen the impact that government regulation and overreach can have on hampering the American dream.

Mathews said he has passed bills expanding governmental recognition of concealed carry and reciprocity; supporting pro-law enforcement bills; and working to adjust state regulations for the operation of Safe Haven Baby Boxes; voting to override the governor’s veto concerning gender surgeries; and keeping men out of girls sports; and simplifying taxes on remote work.

Mathews said he will continue to work the process, introducing well thought-out bills that then move through the House and eventually become law. He is hosting dozens of town halls on eliminating the income and commercial activity taxes.

Mathews described himself as “devoted.” He said, “I am loyal to my wife, my children, my God, and my community. When I take up a task, I am dedicated to completing it with excellence and care, knowing that love is shown by serving others and not just words.”

Mathews said, “We need to get rid of the income tax. I have outlined a plan in HB 386 to have Ohio join the growing number of states without an income tax over the next six years..”

Addressing property and local taxes, Mathews has introduced House Bill 344 which provides transparency to allow voters full control over their levies. He said the bill reduces confusion for voters at a time when seniors and families are being taxed out of their homes.

Mathews sponsored the Backpack Bill and helped to increase teacher starting pay in public schools. He also meets monthly with county school superintendents.

Mathews, who is anti-abortion, said with the passage of Issue 1, the legislature must still protect the most vulnerable, as well as building a comprehensive culture of life.

Mathews and his wife reside in Lebanon with their four children and expecting another child in May. He is an in-house attorney with Heartbeat International. Mathews previously served as a member of Lebanon City Council and served as vice mayor; and is treasurer of the Warren County GOP Central Committee.

Mathews earned a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering and a law degree from the University of Notre Dame.

About the Author