WAPAKONETA — To celebrate new field offices located in the old Wapakoneta Hotel, 9 Perry St., the Auglaize County Democrats held a grand opening Tuesday night and hosted state representative candidates Joe Monbeck and Aden Baker.
Monbeck is running against Republican Susan Manchester for the Ohio 84th House District to replace current State Rep. Keith Faber, and Baker is running against Ohio 82nd House District Republican incumbent Craig Riedel.
Democrats have rarely set up local campaign offices during midterm elections, but this year, Auglaize County Democratic Party Chairman Brent Henschen said it was necessary to ensure people knew what their choices were because of the high importance of the 2018 elections — especially races affecting the direction of national policy.
Monbeck, who is also acts as secretary of the Auglaize County Democratic Party, said he’s seen positive reactions from Auglaize County residents looking for an alternative to Republican rule in the statehouse.
“Auglaize County has really shown they were thirsty for us to step up,” Monbeck said. “It was nice to show we care about the people and that we’re here.”
Monbeck said the Ohio Democratic Party had reached out to local Democrats four days before the May primary to find out if they had any local individuals interested in running. He volunteered because he “knew it was important to have a name on the ballot,” he said.
In two days, they collected the needed signatures and got him signed up.
“That’s how I got on. I never thought in a million years I’d be a candidate,” he said.
Since that time, he’s received a number of endorsements from a number of state unions and from both Auglaize County and Mercer County Democrats. Monbeck’s goals upon reaching the statehouse include bringing high paying jobs to the community outside of manufacturing, investing in education, advocating for better health care and creating infrastructure — especially access to high speed Internet — for the region.
Baker, 18, said some people were hesitant about his young age, but he’s since made it a major part of his platform pointing out that Republican rule has led to a lower quality education system and a local economy that fails to grow and has problems keeping young people in the area.
“The fact of the matter is we’re facing a storm coming,” Baker said.”I’m from the area, and the last thing I want to see is this area crumble because we can’t retain the next generation.”
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.