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Congressman Renacci joins Republican field for governor

  • Jim-Renacci

    Jim Renacci

    PHOTO PROVIDED

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Citing a record of results in more than 13 years in public office, U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, officially announced Monday he will run for the Republican Party’s nomination for Ohio governor in 2018.

Renacci has been a member of Congress since 2010, serving the 16th District that covers portions of Medina County along with parts of Cuyahoga, Portage, Stark, Summit and Wayne counties.

“I’m proud to have created over 1,500 jobs in our state and employed over 3,000 hard working Ohioans,” Renacci said in a statement announcing his bid for the Statehouse.

“I believe deeply in the value of results, not rhetoric, and I am committed to putting that brand of principled, conservative, business-based thinking to work on behalf of the people of our state.”

The congressman’s office said the news release was the only statement Renacci was making Monday in announcing his decision.

A video, “Ohio First — Renacci for Governor,” accompanied the news release. The video is at www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKllby8DSg8.

A website — ohiofirst.com — also has been created.

In the video, Renacci is shown speaking informally in multiple settings to small groups.

“It’s essential that we get career politicians out of the way,” he says on the video.

He tells an audience that some politicians are “ … people who’ve never created a job … they’ve never made a payroll. We need people who have walked the walk, and can talk the talk.”

He also says on the video:

  • “And we put business leaders in who understand what it means to make a payroll; what it means to create a job.”
  • “I want to end the regulations that are hurting us.”
  • “I want to simplify our tax code.”
  • “I want to end pay for play. That’s the reason I want to be the next governor of the state of Ohio.”

Unidentified people appear on camera endorsing his candidacy.

Pennsylvania native

Renacci, 58, was born in Monongahela, Pa., and moved to Wadsworth more than 30 years ago. In 2004, he was elected mayor of the city and served through 2008.

He formerly owned the Renacci-Doraty Chevrolet auto dealership in Wadsworth until 2009, when General Motors filed for bankruptcy.

In a speech he gave during an appearance at Wadsworth High School, Renacci said one reason he decided to run for Congress six years ago was his disappointment at losing his auto dealership because of the government’s involvement in General Motors’ financial problems.

In Congress, he has introduced legislation that is aimed at lowering taxes for businesses and curbing government spending.

Renacci’s opposition in the Republican primary next year will be Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and possibly Secretary of State Jon Husted.

On the Democratic side, the candidate field includes former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, former Wayne County Commissioner Dave Kiefer, former state Rep. Connie Pillich and Ohio Senate Minority Leader Joe Schiavoni.

Republican Gov. John Kasich is prevented by law from running for a third consecutive term next year.

Local reaction

Republican Wadsworth Mayor Robin Laubaugh said Monday it has been “wonderful” having Renacci represent the area in Congress.

“He is uniquely aware of the needs of our community and has represented and continues to represent us well,” Laubaugh said.

She said Renacci’s announcement he will seek the governorship is “exciting” for the community, and Renacci was a “great mayor and now congressman.”

Laubaugh said she has “no doubt he would be a tremendous governor.”

She said she and her staff meet regularly with Renacci, and he understands issues that set Wadsworth aside from other communities.

“Wadsworth is a little unique as we provide services over and above that which most municipalities provide,” she said.

Most recently, she said, she and city Service Director Robert Patrick met with the congressman to discuss electricity issues.

‘Business credentials’

State Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick, said he’s been waiting for Renacci to announce his decision “for the last couple of years.”

“I think it’s great,” Hambley said, noting he believes Renacci has experience in two areas that make him qualified.

“He’d do a great job bringing his business credentials” as well as local government experience.

Chuck Calvert, chairman of the Medina County Republican Party, said he welcomes the congressman “into the fray” at the state level; and with four people expected to be in the field, the race “should be interesting.”

He said Renacci’s business experience is deeper than that of his rivals.

Medina County Clerk of Courts and former Republican Party chair Nancy Abbott said in an email that Renacci made campaign filings Monday with the Ohio Secretary of State’s Office.

Abbott said Renacci’s decision to run for governor “should be exciting news for everyone in Medina County.”

She noted that if he wins, he would be the first elected governor from Medina County.

Abbott said if Renacci is not successful, it would not reflect poorly on the county.

“No one would run for office if they thought that it might put their community in a negative light if they did not win,” she wrote, adding that Renacci isn’t running to lose. “He is running to win and become our next governor.”

Democratic response

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper released a statement Monday after Renacci’s announcement:

“Jim Renacci represents the worst of Washington — he’s voted in lock-step with his party, and he’s been ducking town halls and avoiding the people he is supposed to represent in Congress. He’s voted for the (Speaker of the House Paul) Ryan budget, which ends Medicare as we know it. He’s voted for Trumpcare, which would blow a billion-dollar hole in the state budget and even John Kasich opposes. Ohio has the nation’s worst heroin crisis, and Renacci just voted to gut Medicaid and eliminate $115 million in public health funding for Ohio. Columbus is already dysfunctional as it is; we don’t need Renacci bringing nasty, D.C.-style obstruction to Ohio.”

Contact reporter Ashley Fox at (330) 721-4048 or afox@medina-gazette.com.



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