Election Day in Ohio is approaching

TUESDAY IS Election Day in Ohio, with local voters set to choose a successor for former congressman Bill Johnson.

Republican Michael Rulli and Democrat Michael L. Kripchak face each other in the June 11 special election to fill the 6th Congressional District seat that has been vacant for five months.

Early voting continues Saturday, June 8, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, June 9, from 1-5 p.m. On Tuesday, polling locations will be open from 6:30 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. If you aren’t sure of your polling location, visit boe.ohio.gov.

Johnson resigned Jan. 21 after 13 years representing the district to become Youngstown State University president. The Tuesday election will determine which candidate will fill the remainder of his unexpired term.

Rulli of Salem and Kripchak of Youngstown will meet again in the Nov. 5 general election for a full two-year term that starts in January 2025.

Rulli, director of operations for his family-owned Rulli Brothers Markets, was elected to the state Senate in November 2018 and re-elected four years later. Rulli said his legislative experience makes him the best candidate.

“Getting bills passed in the Legislature is difficult, and you need to work hard,” he said. “My opponent is completely clueless on that entire realm of policy.”

Kripchak, who works at a local restaurant, is an Air Force Academy graduate who spent three years as an acquisitions officer and research assistant with the Air Force.

“I’m the one with actual federal experience,” he said. “Rulli’s main policies are guns, oil, Trump.”

The 6th Congressional District includes all of Mahoning, Columbiana, Carroll, Jefferson, Belmont, Harrison, Monroe, Noble and Washington counties and portions of Stark and Tuscarawas counties.

Mahoning is by far the most-populous county in the district.

Rulli is a staunch supporter of fracking for natural gas and oil, particularly in his district, to help make the nation energy independent.

“Natural gas is the only path to secure the (energy) grid right now,” he said.

That doesn’t mean there shouldn’t be more research into green energy, such as wind, solar and water, but, Rulli said, “Right now, people need to have the lights on, and you have to keep the grid operating. The reality is natural gas is the only thing that will serve the grid.”

Kripchak said fracking in the district has been discussed for several years with hundreds of thousands of jobs promised, but little has materialized.

“He keeps talking about lowering energy prices,” Kripchak said. “What’s happened to natural gas prices? They’ve gone up. Why? Because they’re controlled by commodity markets. These are controlled by international forces.”

Both candidates say inflation needs to be addressed, but have different thoughts on the topic.

Rulli said the federal government needs to quit spending so much money, which has raised the deficit to more than $34 trillion.

“Of course I want to bring money back to Ohio 6th, but we need to slow down the spending,” he said. “That will reduce costs. Inflation has risen during the past two administrations because they printed money. It will catch up with you.”

Kripchak said inflation is high largely because of increased corporate profits.

“Over half of inflation is simply because we don’t have a free market economy anymore,” he said. “We need to start trust-busting these monopolies and duopolies.”

Another part of rising inflation is because of increased energy prices caused by “conflicts around the world,” Kripchak said.

That’s why the United States needs to take action in Ukraine and the Middle East, he said.


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