LIMA — The candidates for Ohio’s 81st House District Republican primary agree on the important issues. The only thing setting them apart is level of experience in politics.
“It’s my first time involved in a campaign as a candidate,” said Tom Liebrecht.
Liebrecht said the constituents he has talked to expressed interest in having a fresh perspective in Columbus. He said a lot of the residents of the district are supporters of President Donald Trump because he is an outsider, and they’ve shown interest in having a new perspective in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Liebrecht also believes once a representative serves their term limit, that person should not be allowed to serve again later in life. Instead, they should make way for new people and find a different way to serve, he said.
Incumbent Rep. Jim Hoops (R-Napoleon) believes his experience in Columbus makes him better suited for the 81st District seat. Hoops was a representative until his term expired in 2006. He then worked for American Municipal Power in the finance department for seven years and, more recently, for Northwest State Community College in the workforce development and grant department.
Hoops was chosen to replace Sen. Rob McColley (R-Napoleon) as the 81st District representative after McColley was chosen to replace Cliff Hite, who resigned his position last October.
“My experience working as a former legislator, my experience working with higher education and budgets,” set him apart from his opponent, Hoops said.
Liebrecht and Hoops both agreed more needs to be done to broaden the educational options for students. Hoops said schools should let students know there are other options other than four-year colleges.
“I think a community college is a great place to start,” Hoops said. “It’s a great way to find yourself.”
Liebrecht said there seems to be a prejudice against vocational jobs and teenagers showing an interest in those jobs, but those careers are a viable option and should be treated as such.
Many constituents have shown an interest in education reform, Liebrecht said. Schools are limited by regulations demanding standardized testing, which damages children being able to learn.
“Those kids coming up need to be taught individuality and not under group standards,” Liebrecht said.
No one has filed to run as a Democrat for the seat.
Reach Bryan Reynolds at 567-242-0362.