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Johnson, Roberts to contend again for congressional seat

MARTINS FERRY — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson again faces a challenge from Shawna Roberts during the Nov. 3 general election.

The Republican Johnson, 65, of Marietta was elected to the House in 2010. He and his wife, LeeAnn, have four children together. They also have six grandchildren.

Johnson retired from the U.S. Air Force after 26 years of service; he was a lieutenant colonel at the time.

“My life and career — in the Air Force, as a small business owner, and now as a member of Congress — have always centered around a commitment to hard work and making a difference in my community. Born and raised on family farms, I learned early the values of hard work, honesty, and sacrifice,” Johnson said. “Those values have stayed with me throughout my life and have made me the leader I am today. Since 2011, I’ve served the people of Eastern and Southeastern Ohio as their voice in Washington. I haven’t forgotten where I came from, I strive to represent their values, and I work day and night to solve their problems, rather than trying to score political points.”

If re-elected, Johnson said there will still be much work for him to do to help improve the economy because of the coronavirus.

“We have a lot to address, especially now after the economic downturn caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Recovery has been slow, but steady, and I hope to see that continue. I supported the CARES Act to help people and businesses facing financial hardships, and I’ll continue fighting for solutions that help the millions of unemployed and the small business owners who are truly the economic engines that will get our economy jump started again,” he said. “I will also continue focusing on improving access to broadband internet, because it impacts economic development, healthcare (telehealth) and education. We must also find ways to bring Americans together. The violence and lawlessness must stop. We have to focus on solutions that build America up rather than riots that burn it down.”

Johnson said he decided to run for re-election because he believes, to date, that he has done his job well.

“I believe the 18 pieces of legislation I’ve had signed into law by Presidents Trump and Obama show that I’m effective and can work across the aisle to get things done for those I serve. I look forward to continuing efforts to get our economy moving, remain energy dominant, bring reliable internet to rural Ohio, and help the men and women I serve navigate their needs within the federal governmental bureaucracy. There is much left to do, and I’m committed to seeing it done,” he said.

Roberts, a Belmont resident, lost her first bid to win the seat held by Johnson back in November 2018. It was her first time running for a political office. She has touted herself as a “working class mom” who wants to “take Congress back for the people,” according to her Facebook page.

Roberts, a native of Chicago, moved to Belmont County in 2002. Prior to working as a stay-at-home mother, she and her husband ran a beekeeping business. Prior to that, she worked as an insurance company clerk, technical writer and in fast food.

Via her Twitter account, Roberts wrote that she decided to run for office to try and make a difference in the world.

“I have raised my five kids here in rural Appalachia. I never dreamed of running for office, but the last few years have shown us that this nation desperately needs every ordinary person to be willing to step up and work for the things that matter. Our children deserve a better world. We deserve a better world,” she wrote.

Some of the areas that Roberts would like to work on if elected include better economic policies for working-class people, along with infrastructure and broadband internet improvements.

“We deserve a world where everyone gets a fair shake, and where government policies aren’t biased in favor of the wealthy at the expense of middle and low-income folks,” she wrote.

Roberts also noted she is concerned with the state of the nation.

“Democracy is under fire. Our constitution is under fire. In places, our world is literally burning,” she wrote. “The decisions our leaders make today will affect us, for good or ill, for many years. I want the decisions we make to create a better world for our kids, where they can look forward to healthier, longer, more prosperous lives.

“Where their right to cast a vote isn’t suppressed, but is defended. Where we can trust that there will be justice and equal opportunity for everyone, regardless of race, gender, sexual orientation, religion, disability, age or class.”

Roberts also wrote that she wants people to have equal and affordable access to education so they can improve their lives and livelihoods. Protecting the world’s air, water and land also is important, she said.

“I believe we can do this, if ordinary folks step up. Together, we can do this,” she wrote.

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