Both candidates seeking to represent the 80th district in the Ohio House are making first bids for elected office, a factor each considers a plus.
Republican nominee Jena Powell of Arcanum comes to the race following a four-way primary with candidates with previous campaign experience.
D.J. Byrnes of Piqua, the Democrat, hit the campaign trail this summer after being selected by Democrats as the replacement candidate following the withdrawal of write-in candidate Scott Zimmerman of rural Troy.
The 80th District is comprised of all of Miami County and eight townships in Darke County.
The district is currently is represented by Steve Huffman, R-Tipp City. He is running against Democrat Paul Bradley in the 5th District State Senate for the seat being vacated by Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City.
Byrnes, 31, said he sought to become the replacement candidate to move from the political sidelines to a position where he could advocate change.
“I could no longer in good conscience remain on the sidelines while wealthy politicians rewarded their corporate sponsors with tax cuts at the expense of working people. Workers’ rights and universal healthcare cornerstone my campaign to empower district municipalities with full funding and an infrastructure overhaul,” Byrnes said.
The “rainy day” funds kept in Columbus need to be returned to the local governments for needs, he said.
He works as a senior editor for Eleven Warriors, an independent Ohio State athletics website.
Byrnes said he wants voters to know he took a hiatus from his job mid-summer and has since contacted voters from Tipp City to New Madison.
“I ruined two pairs of shoes while taking my message to every corner of the district. I am proud to report we are not as divided as those in power would have us believe,” he said. “I will work hand-in-hand with any other representative that has a good idea that benefits everyday people regardless of party politics and past experiences.”
Powell, 24, said it’s time for Americans to dream again.
“Our district desperately needs to dream again; dream of what we can be if we come together and fight for the ‘American Dream.’ I believe that having never sought or been elected to public office gives me a unique outsider perspective, which aids in this fight,” Powell said.
The top issues facing the legislature include ending government overreach and returning power to the people, protecting life and supporting 2nd Amendment rights, she said.
“We need to reduce the regulatory and tax burden that is strangling opportunity and placing an enormous economic burden on the businesses and citizens of Darke and Miami counties,” Powell said.
She would like voters to know she has been honored to share with them during the campaign. She said she started a business at 17 before graduating from Liberty University and now co-owns and manages Huntington Outdoor Advertising, an outdoor billboard company.
“In the same way, I have fought for my business and small business owners across the state, I look forward to fighting for you and your family in Columbus,” Powell said.
For more information on the Byrnes campaign visit:djforohio.com or
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter: @djforohio
For more information on the Powell campaign visit: jena@Jenapowell.com or Facebook, Instagram or Twitter: @votejenapowell.