Stoltzfus visits Belmont County

T-L Photo/ROBERT A. DEFRANK REGGIE Stoltzfus, standing, talks to Belmont County officials including Sheriff David Lucas, clockwise from left, Treasurer Kathy Kelich, Port Authority Director Larry Merry and Recorder Jason Garczyk.

ST. CLAIRSVILLE — Reggie Stoltzfus, Republican candidate for the 6th Congressional District, visited Belmont County on Monday to meet with local elected officials.

“I wanted to find out what’s happening on the ground here in Belmont, find out what the needs of Belmont County are and how we can be helpful when I become the next congressman,” Stoltzfus said.

He said some of the main issues he wants to address if elected are the economy and inflation.

“We’ve got $34 trillion in debt, federal debt, national debt, and we cannot balance the budget and Congress. I’m a businessman. I run a business, and I’ve got that background that I’m going to take with me to Washington, hopefully. The goal is to get a balanced budget and to get our spending under control,” Stoltzfus said.

Stoltzfus said President Joe Biden’s decision to suspend liquefied natural gas exports is making the situation worse.

“Just recently, President Biden has banned liquid natural gas, so that really put a damper on it all. It’s terrible. It’s a big blow to eastern Ohio, and we need to reverse that,” he said.

Stoltzfus said he wants Ohio, where natural gas production is prominent, and the United States to be “energy-independent.”

“We can do that with what we have under our feet right here. We’ve got so much natural gas and oil under our feet. We need to tap into this,” he said.

He said illegal immigration is another issue he would like to address.

“We need to stop the invasion at the southern border and finish the wall,” Stoltzfus said.

Stoltzfus added that he has been working to protect children and promote parents’ rights as a state representative. He said that, if elected to Congress, he would want to continue this mission.

“Kids are at the forefront of my focus, protecting them from, you know, the woke left,” he said.

“More than anything, constituent services are a big deal to me — taking care of the people in the 6th District, making sure their needs are met, making sure that you know they have everything they need, and making sure local elected officials or local leaders are getting what they need from the federal level as well,” he said.

Stoltzfus previously served as a Paris Township trustee and board president and was elected to the state legislature in 2018. This is his sixth year serving in the Ohio House of Representatives.

Stoltzfus said he has been “pushing some good conservative policies at the Statehouse,” and he hopes to continue pushing conservative values as congressman. He added that he admires retired congressman Bill Johnson.

“I really wanted to get behind a conservative candidate because Bill (Johnson) is a good guy, very accessible, and I wanted to make sure that we had a good person like Bill to replace him, and nobody was stepping forward. …So I decided, you know, it’s time I throw my hat in the ring and run for this seat. So that’s why I have gotten in this race. We want to make sure we have a conservative option here in the 6th district,” Stoltzfus said.

Johnson resigned from Congress earlier this month to become president of Youngstown State University. The decision to hire him was a controversial one, with many students and staff protesting his conservative politics and his lack of experience in higher education.

The Republicans vying for his seat are Stoltzfus of Paris Township in Stark County, state Sen. Michael Rulli of Salem and Rick Tsai of East Palestine. Democrats in the race are Michael L. Kripchak of Youngstown and Rylan Z. Finzer of Bedford Heights. The primary election is March 19.

Stoltzfus said he has been married for 21 years and has four children. He said that he and his wife, Jennette, run a small business that manufactures wood trusses for roofs.

“So if you build a new house or any barn or a new garage, we would make the trusses that would go on top of that structure. And we do a lot of business in this area as well,” he noted.

He said the business employs about 40 people.

Stoltzfus also said that he and his family raise beef cattle on their farm.

The candidate stopped at the Belmont County commission and port authority offices Monday to hear from county officials. He greeted Commissioners Jerry Echemann, Josh Meyer and J.P. Dutton and sat down with Dutton, Sheriff David Lucas, Recorder Jazon Garczyk, Treasurer Kathy Kelich, Auditor Cindi Henry, Engineer Terry Lively and port authority Director Larry Merry.

They discussed federal issues, with Dutton saying legislators have the power to make a direct impact on counties using congressional earmarks. He added that Johnson has been able to direct federal funds to a significant Belmont County sewer upgrade near Ohio Valley Mall.

Lively said a disproportionate amount of revenue from the area seemed to be going to Columbus, compared to the population. Lively said a large amount of oil and gas is produced in the local area, and the demands of traffic continue to strain the roads. Meanwhile, revenue from fuel taxes is decreasing due to greater fuel efficiency and electric vehicles.

Kelich, who also serves as chairwoman of the Belmont County Land Reutilization Corp., which acquires and demolishes dilapidated structures, commended Stoltzfus, saying he had been in favor of these programs.


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