OTTAWA — A familiar name in Ohio politics visited a political function Wednesday in Ottawa.
Ohio Rep. Jim Hoops, R-Napoleon, attended the Putnam County Republican Party meeting at The Schnipke Inn. Hoops was unanimously voted in to fill the vacant 81st House District seat by the House Republican Caucus and sworn in Wednesday.
“I appreciate all of the support,” he said. “I’m looking forward to serving the people of the 81st district.”
Hoops had served in the Ohio House from 1999 to 2006.
Hoops said he is very interested in working on workforce development issues as a state representative. He would like to see the collaboration between high schools, state community colleges and the business community grow. He said while four-year degrees are of value, there are a lot of unfilled, certificate-based jobs out there that need employees.
“Is there anything [the House] can do to help with those issues or do we just stay out of the way?” he said.
Medicaid is another issue Hoops is interested in lending his perspective to solving.
“I consider that the Pac-Man of the state budget, eating away at it,” he said.
While the state wants people to have access to the best healthcare possible, representatives recognize it’s going to come at a cost, he said. There needs to be a balance between affordable healthcare for the public and, at the same time, for the state.
In other business, Putnam County Chairman Republican Party Tom Liebrecht raised the topic of endorsing state candidates during the primary election. Endorsing candidates involved in contested races is against party bylaws, but those rules could be set aside, he said.
“Just from the bylaws perspective, we can’t do it without two thirds of us voting to do so,” said Central Committee member Kurt Sahloff.
Many of the party members were against endorsing candidates during the primary. Concerns they raised included endorsing a candidate that lost and not having done so for the candidate that ended up winning. Another concern raised was endorsing a candidate that seemed exceptional only for a scandal to come to light after the primary.
Pandora Mayor John Schlumbohm said he was completely against endorsing candidates before the primary filing deadline. After that, the subject should be thoroughly discussed by the party.
“It’s almost like putting all your eggs in one basket,” he said. “Then someone tips that basket over.”
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.