Mount Vernon News

Brad Schaaf

Why are you interested in the position of State Representative?

I feel that the last few years our state has been going in the wrong direction on what our focus should be. Therefore, I feel I would represent our district in bringing jobs in. I worked for 34 years at Anheuser-Busch in the can plant. It got bought out and we had a layoff. I chose to take the layoff and let a younger person that has children work. I had enough seniority I could have stayed, but I made that choice to take this direction to see if I could help those who have been put in my position that I’m in right now. I decided to get into politics. I looked at the layoff as an opportunity, not as something that was bad, and hopefully I can do some good for some other people.

What would you mean by the state going in a different direction?

It seems like our legislators right now have been focused on issues that are sensitive and political instead of issues to rebuild our state like our highways. I have been driving back and forth to Columbus for quite a few years, and I’ve seen the destruction of our road system. Our bridges are falling apart. If you want to bring jobs to the state, you have to rebuild our infrastructure. If I was coming into Ohio from another state or country and started driving down these roads, I’m not sure I would want to bring my plant into this state or country seeing the conditions we’re in.

What can you bring to the table that your opponents cannot?

I’ve worked all my life. I started working when I was 12 years old. My parents were dirt poor. I was raised poor. I worked during high school as a cook and worked as a lifeguard, and became a swimming instructor for children. I worked at Nestle’s for two years, and kept getting laid off. I know what it’s like to be laid off when you’re struggling, raising a family. I’ve been there. Fortunately, I got a job at Anheuser-Busch for 34 years. I’ve seen what happens to people who don’t have good jobs when I was fortunate enough to have a good job. I know from personal life experience what it’s like to raise children. I have three children, five grandchildren, cats, dogs, birds, a little bit of everything I try to support. I have the experience of knowing what it’s like to be a worker and not a politician who’s never worked and always been in politics all their lives.

What would you say are the two biggest issues in the district, and how you plan to address these issues?

The biggest issue is jobs. We need more jobs because we see the devastation. The second big issue is housing. And jobs build housing. We have a lot of houses in this area that are vacant, running down, which runs down more houses, and the neighborhoods continue to run down. Companies come in and see that, they’re not going to want to move here. It’s kind of a big snowball, and that’s where we need to put our focus at and our attention to bring our neighborhoods back up to par to bring jobs to our county and to our area to rebuild. We need to rebuild. Everybody keeps saying we’re on a decline. I say “no.” There’s hope for this country. I want to bring it back to where it was when I was growing up. I had the opportunity to have a good job and raise a family. I think our kids should have the same opportunity as I did.

Do you have any specific plans on how you would create jobs?

First, we have to build our infrastructure. We have to focus our money wisely. There seems to be a lot of waste I’ve seen going on in spending. It seems like we want to focus our money somewhere other than actually what brings jobs in. Back in the ’50s we built interstate structures under Eisenhower. Obviously he’s from the other party. But he knew how to create jobs in this country. Governor Rhodes, I remember him as being a great governor. We need to bring the pride back to Ohio and make Ohio proud again. We had a nickname of The Rust Belt. It think it’s time to polish that off and get the tarnish out and make Ohio proud again.

Do you feel legislation should be passed to stop double-dipping and why?

There’s two bills right now that are pending. And I do think that double-dipping should not be allowed. The one bill stops it immediately. If you are drawing a pension as an elected official, you have a choice. That’s what this election is about is choices. You have a choice to draw a pension or draw a paycheck. You shouldn’t be drawing both of them on taxpayers’ expense. I would be in support of stopping double-dipping.

What is your definition of double-dipping?

If I’m drawing a paycheck and drawing a retirement check at the same time from the same place, that’s double-dipping. Recently when I took a severance package from Ball, I filled out a retirement on how I would be drawing a check. Now if I go back to rehire to Ball as an employee, I have to pay that money back. I feel the taxpayers are owed the same thing that the private industry has set up for retirement. You have a choice of taking a paycheck or taking retirement, but you can’t take both. Everybody can make that choice.

Why should people vote for you as State Representative?

I will read the bills. I won’t pass a bill without reading it. I’ll know what’s in it. And I won’t pass a bill that makes me immune to the law. We saw that with SB5. The lawmakers are immune to their own bill. I don’t think that’s fair. I also think that I shouldn’t have any privilege of the inside trading that we currently have in Washington. I’m not sure about the state if we have that privilege or not. But I will make sure we don’t have that privilege as a legislator. I will try to listen to businesses to see what their input is and what they need as far as creating jobs. I’ve talked with a lot of small businesses. In fact, I’ve been in the antique business for quite a few years just as a hobby. And I know how different it has been in the last 20 to 30 years as far as regulations and restrictions and paperwork and things of that nature that harms businesses. I have small business experience also along with work, and I’ll try to bring that to the table.

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