State Sen. Bill Beagle, R-Tipp City, announced plans to run for re-election Friday, turning in his petitions at the Montgomery County Board of Elections before a crowd of two dozen supporters, including county commissioners and Republican Party chairmen from all four counties in his district.
Beagle represents residents in Ohio’s 5th Senate district, which includes Miami, Preble and southern Darke counties, plus an irregularly shaped chunk of west and central Montgomery County that includes Trotwood, Harrison Twp. and much of Dayton.
Beagle said Ohio is in much better shape than it was when he took office three years ago, citing better unemployment statistics and income growth than in 2011. He said his focus has been on jobs and balancing the state budget without raising taxes.
“Over the next four years, I hope to build on these successes and continue to focus on jobs, putting Ohioans back to work, educating our children so that they are career- and college-ready, and to continue our smart fiscal management of taxpayer dollars,” Beagle said.
Asked whether the three-year change in jobs numbers was the result of state Republican policies or simply the end of the recession, Beagle said it’s hard to say exactly who is responsible for what.
Democrats point out that Ohio’s unemployment rate has gotten worse than the national rate in the past six months, but Beagle argued it’s better to look at longer-term numbers.
“What’s important is the trend. Things are getting better,” Beagle said. “Yes, they’re slowing down, but no journey is a straight line. We’re going to have better months and it’s going to continue in the future. All we can do is just keep doing what we’re doing.”
Beagle said his signature piece of legislation, last summer’s Senate Bill 1, created $25 million in job training money that institutions can use as a revolving loan fund when they partner with businesses for in-demand jobs.
Matthew also running
Miami County businessman Tom Matthew announced Friday that he is running for the 5th District Senate seat, making him the third Democrat in the race. Matthew ran for Ohio Senate in 2008, losing the 12th District race to current Senate president Keith Faber.
Matthew said he is in touch with people’s needs and pains, having come to the United States from India 46 years ago with just $8.
He criticized the JobsOhio program instituted by Ohio’s Republican leadership, saying he would replace it with a program called Hire Ohio’s Unemployed Residents (HOUR), offering small businesses a tax credit to participate.
Matthew claimed that Beagle’s new workforce development fund will be ineffective, calling $25 million “a drop in the bucket” statewide.
Matthew said he came to the Miami Valley in 1999 and now lives in Concord Twp. near Troy, serving as vice president of Woodlawn Rentals, which has townhomes in Tipp City and Troy.
The other two Democrats who have announced plans to run are Tipp City councilwoman Dee Gillis and Dayton school board member Joe Lacey. All candidates who are certified to the ballot by the board of elections will compete in a May 6 party primary, with the winners advancing to the Nov. 4 general election.