Holmes and O’Brien merit re-election to Ohio House
The Mahoning Valley has long been blessed with a strong, cohesive and hard-working set of representatives and senators in the Ohio General Assembly. Historically, most of those who have represented the four state House districts and two state Senate districts of Mahoning and Trumbull counties have forged a united front on issues and initiatives in our region’s best interests.
Over the years, that cohesive front has been valuable, given the preferential treatment for limited state resources too often afforded the 3C (Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnait) urban metropolises of the state and given the reality that the Valley’s usually exclusive Democratic Party delegation typically stands as the stark political minority in Columbus.
In this fall’s election, responsible voters in Trumbull County’s two House districts should continue that tradition of top-caliber representation by sending their best to the 2019-2020 session of the state’s chief lawmaking body. After reviewing the credentials of most of the candidates for the 63rd and 64th House seats and after interviewing each of them in recent weeks, The Vindicator believes incumbent Democrats Glenn Holmes and Michael O’Brien can best carry on that tradition.
63rd HOUSE RACE
In the 63rd House District, which comprises Niles, Girard, Hubbard, Liberty, Lordstown, Vienna and other eastern and southern townships in the county, Holmes is completing his first term with a respectable record.
He’s been among the prime movers and shakers all this year to bring a TJX Industries Inc. warehouse to Lordstown and the 1,000-plus jobs that come with it. He helped shepherd a bill through the Legislature last spring to expedite a public vote on a controversial zone change needed for the project to take root. Now that the the long-playing drama appears to have ended with project detractors letting a filing deadline to appeal the zone change pass by, we look for Holmes to continue to work with village, county and state officials toward a ground-breaking ceremony at the earliest possible date.
Holmes also has listened intently to the safety, health and environmental concerns of his constituents over the proliferation of injection wells to dispose of brine from hydraulic fracturing.. He’s introduced a bill in the House that would cap the number of permissible wells at 23 per county, which just happens to be the number operating or planned in Trumbull County.
We’re also pleased that Holmes plans to continue his focus on preserving, protecting and expanding operations at the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna. Our region can ill afford to lose the strong networks he’s established with other legislators and base leaders on behalf of continued growth there.
Given Holmes’ emphasis on jobs, we’d also count on him to do whatever possible with state resources to help ensure the continued presence of the General Motors Lordstown Complex in his district. The next two years promise to be crucial in defining its future imprint on the Valley economy.
Running against the incumbent is Republican James Hughes, a bank manager from Cortland. Hughes did not meet with members of The Vindicator Editorial Board and therefore is ineligible for endorsement consideration.
64th HOUSE RACE
In the 64th District, which includes Warren, northern Trumbull townships and a slice of southern Ashtabula County, O’Brien’s four decades of public service as Warren mayor, Warren City councilman, Trumbull County commissioner and state legislator give him the clear edge once again over the otherwise credible challenge from Republican opponent Martha Yoder. Yoder garnered 45 percent of the vote in the 64th District race against O’Brien two years ago.
O’Brien has shown a strong ability to provide effective constituent service for the 120,000 residents he serves. He’s also demonstrated a willingness to work across the aisle with Republicans. A case in point this session was O’Brien’s leadership on legislation that will provide property-tax reductions for farmers throughout his district and the state.
He’s also a staunch advocate for increasing state-supported Local Government Funds to political subdivisions that have endured severe cuts in recent years. He proposes tapping the multi-billion dollar Rainy Day Fund. As he puts it, “That money is like a museum. You can admire it, but you can’t touch it.”
Against lesser competition, Yoder, a former Farmington Township trustee, would merit stronger consideration as she brings a sincere commitment to public service and some of the same priorities as O’Brien.
Editor’s Note: Details of the candidates’ positions on a range of issues can be found in Vindicator news stories, videos of Editorial Board interviews posted on vindy.com and by accessing the candidate survey forms on the website.