A week ago at a Medina County candidates forum at Wadsworth Library, political newcomer Keith Mundy talked about his learning curve in running against U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci.
“I’ve been in five counties today,” Mundy said.
But he added it was necessary in challenging an incumbent for the 16th Congressional District seat.
Mundy, a Democrat from Parma, is opposing the Wadsworth Republican, who is seeking re-election to a fourth term on Nov. 8.
The district spans parts of Medina, Cuyahoga, Summit, Stark and Wayne counties.
Mundy, 66, was born in Akron and grew up in Summit County.
He has owned businesses including, Straight Shooter T-shirts, Rock n’ Roll Music and Games and court documents delivery service.
Mundy said his business career has allowed him to gain experience “in coordinating materials, employees and improving customer relations in order to create and market a product.”
His political activity began 15 months ago when he joined a “movement” in Ohio on behalf of the Democratic presidential campaign of Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders during the 2015-16 primary season. Sanders lost the nomination to Hillary Clinton, a former secretary of state and U.S. senator from New York.
While working on Sanders’ Ohio operation, Mundy said he decided to run for Congress against Renacci.
Mundy said he has participated in forums and debates, hoping to make voters familiar with his ideas that include rebuilding the 16th District’s infrastructure to create jobs.
“If you’re going to do this, you go out there and you talk to the people,” Mundy said.
He said he was inspired to run when thinking about establishing a balance “between powerful monied interests and the people, by creative a representative democracy.”
He said the ideals of the past are now “an embarrassment.”
His website, mundy2016.com, includes position statements on voter rights, energy and the environment, education and student loans, and health care.
Renacci, 57, was born in Monongahela, Pa., and moved to Wadsworth more than 30 years ago. In 2004, he won the election for mayor of the city and served through 2008.
Renacci formerly owned the Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet auto dealership in Wadsworth until 2009, when General Motors filed for bankruptcy.
Renacci has said his disappointment about the federal government’s involvement in the General Motors case was a factor in prompting him to run for Congress in 2009.
Serving on the House Budget Committee and the House Ways and Means Committee, Renacci has used his work there to generate ideas on federal tax reform. He has proposed simplifying America’s tax system with initiatives on corporate income tax and changes for individual taxpayers.
Renacci’s website lists positions on issues involving agriculture, defense and national security, health care, energy, education, the economy and jobs, spending cuts and debt, and topics for veterans. Details are at renacciforcongress.com and renacci.house.gov.
Both candidates were asked about the Ohio Department of Education’s recently released state report cards for schools.
Mundy said rather than just teaching content that appears on a standardized test, “We should be teaching the old-fashioned way; teach everything.”
Renacci said as he meets school officials in the district, superintendents have been telling him different stories about their situations.
“I’m a big believer in education, but I also believe education is more local than federal-based,” he said.
“We should keep our education local and we should strive to make sure our systems are healthy,” Renacci said.
He said “a scorecard gives a goal you have to reach whether you like it or not. It’s something to strive toward.”
Reports with the Federal Election Commission show total contributions made to Renacci’s campaign between Jan. 1, 2015, and June 30 of this year totaled about $1.65 million with $573,251 in individual contributions and $1.07 million grouped in “other committee contributions.”
Renacci’s spending total was listed at $846,023.
Mundy’s report covering Jan. 1 to June 30 this year showed receipts of $5,848 and spending of $1,325.
Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or firstname.lastname@example.org.