MOUNT VERNON — Representing the Knox County Democratic Party in the race for Ohio District 68 State Representative is John Ryerson. Currently an attorney in a private practice, Ryerson is seeking election as state representative because, “I feel like I can do a really good job. I think the current state representative is out of touch with the views of the people in the district, which is especially noted with her strong support of Senate Bill 5 and Issue 2 last year when the majority of the district voted that down,” said Ryerson.
In looking at the current needs of our district, “I think we need continued job growth and continued environmental protection,” said Ryerson. “I think we need to look at long-term issues and long-term planning.” Other areas Ryerson plans to focus on are transportation systems and park systems.
“We have very beautiful areas in this district, and I’d like to be able to preserve them and have a balance between economic development and environmental protection. And that takes planning and a lot of cooperation with the state, the county governments, and the township and city governments; we have to plan.”
As education is very important to Ryerson and his agenda, he would like to begin a thorough examination with an eye toward an overhaul of the current school funding system.
“We haven’t addressed the unconstitutionality of the system and depend too much on the property tax,” said Ryerson. “It really hits the farmers and the individual homeowners within the school districts. We have to take a look from the bottom up and see how we’re funded right now. There’s a long-term planning process I would like to see instituted.”
Ryerson believes that the district is in pretty good shape in terms of employment in comparison with many areas of the state. The state representative position bears a big responsibility of bringing jobs into the district, according to Ryerson. “We (68th District) are very strong in terms of our energy-related industries. I would like to build upon these industries and see if we can have spin-offs and start-up companies to take advantage of the knowledge we have right now,” he said. “We also have Kenyon College and Mount Vernon Nazarene University where there is a lot of brain power. We should be taking advantage of those people and tapping into them to see how they can help us with our economic development. The main thing is to focus on the strengths we have.
“The state representative needs to be available to answer questions and cut through the red tape,” said Ryerson about addressing the issue of job creation in the district. “We need to help [businesses] out by visiting with them and finding sources of funding for job-related grants and other things which can increase their jobs. We also need to talk to local governments about getting zoning changes, developing roads, and developing water and wastewater systems and rail systems. We need to be proactive in a planning sense.”
To help Knox County specifically, Ryerson says he would meet regularly with the county commissioners, the Area Development Foundation, and leaders of the business and labor community to find out what their concerns are and what they would like to see happen.
“I have quite a bit of experience working with public policy issues and am familiar with the legislative process. I have a pretty good touch with all segments of the community and could well represent them in Columbus,” said Ryerson. “I pledge I will be independent. If I believe a position is correct, I will vote against a party. If it’s the right thing to do for the district, I have no problem with being out-voted 99-1.”
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