LIMA — Chris Gibbs is running as an independent candidate for the fourth district Congressional Seat currently held by Jim Jordan to use his experience as a farmer to serve constituents.
The deadline to file as an independent for the seat is March 16. He said he plans to file before then and officially announce his candidacy in the near future.
Gibbs met Friday with constituents at The Meeting Place on Market in Lima on the last stop of his listening tour. He has visited 14 counties since December and met with residents to learn about their concerns.
Gibbs, 61, of Maplewood, is a Shelby County native. He said he started speaking out on trade for agriculture as part of the Republican party. He started farming on his own in 1983 and is a first generation farmer.
He currently farms corn, soybeans and cattle and worked for the United States Department of Agriculture and retired from USDA in 2016.
This is his first time seeking a political office. He has been a member of the Republican party for over 20 years. He was county chair for the Republican Central Committee in Shelby County.
He left the Republican party three months ago to become an independent.
“The party systems have failed, both Republican and Democrat, and the Republican party used to be a place where different views could be heard, but it isn’t that way today,” Gibbs said.
Gibbs said in the fourth district agriculture is not currently being represented effectively.
“Agriculture is a national security interest plain and simple. If we are doing the best for our farmers, that means we are doing the best for our communities,” Gibbs said. He said rural communities in turn support local school districts through property taxes, and agriculture must be supported in the rural district.
He said there needs to be solutions for healthcare, the opioid crisis, prescription drugs and infrastructure.
He discussed his view on critical trade policies under the current administration. Gibbs said the U.S. needs to continue to partner with its allies to create a better trade environment with China.
His goal if elected is to listen, learn and legislate — in that order. He said it is important to listen to constituents, and he said that is not currently being done effectively.
“Nobody expects to always get their way, but everyone deserves to be heard,” Gibbs said.
He addressed the topic of job creation and said there is a lot of work out there that is easy to find, but a good job is different than simply work.
In his view, a job is something that is dependable, full time and comes with benefits. It’s only then when people have a job they can depend on they will contribute to the economy by making commitments for new houses, cars and appliances, according to Gibbs.
Gibbs is married to Deb and they have a daughter, Tiffany, 37, and son, Jason, 31, and a grandson, Aiden, 1.
Gibbs said as a grandparent his grandson may come to him someday and ask him what he had done during this time of political discourse to improve civility.
“I will tell him that I stood up for what I believed,” Gibbs said.
For more information on Gibbs, visit chrisgibbsohio.com or on Twitter at @ChrisRGibbs