Home Politics The race for Ohio’s 94th District seat begins

The race for Ohio’s 94th District seat begins

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The race for Ohio’s 94th district representative is now in full swing, and three candidates have made the bid for the seat currently held by Democrat Debbie Phillips.

Democrats Sarah Grace and Eddie Smith are hopefuls for the seat, as well as Jay Edwards, who is now the only Republican currently in the race.

Eddie Smith is the current Graduate Student Senate President of Ohio University. He isn’t an Athens native — he grew up in a small town north of Marietta — but he’s lived in the city for eight years. “Athens has changed his life,” Smith said.

Smith wants to get involved because he feels he can best represent the concerns of the 94th District against fracking. He also wants to continue providing social programs and opportunities for low-income families within the district.

Smith will be making a push for better jobs. Although southeastern Ohio has seen job growth, Smith says many of these jobs are minimum wage positions such as fast food industry employees or dollar store clerks. He said that “jobs like these don’t really provide much for the employees or community.”

The other Democrat is Sarah Grace, an alumna of Ohio University who earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Biology from the Honors Tutorial College. Grace earned political experience when she was a legislative research assistant for an environmental resource management committee in the Florida House of Representatives.

I am a parent and educator, a small business owner and volunteer, an organizer and engaged community member. It is this breadth of experiences that has prepared me to represent the people of the 94th House District,” Grace said in an email.

She says she’s passionate about the education of kids in this region and has noted that one of her major concerns is advocacy for the public education system.

Grace also wants to increase job growth within the region.

“I want to use my education in science to work for innovative and responsible development that will grow the economy while safeguarding the environment for the next generation,” she said.

Jay Edwards is currently the only Republican in the race.

“I am from a small town right here in southeastern Ohio,” Edwards said. “I will be a fighting voice in Columbus, and an advocate for more jobs in this region.”

Edwards grew up in Nelsonville and accepted an athletic scholarship to play football at Ohio University, where he studied mathematics. He has worked in real estate and for the past two years has been a medical salesman in the region.

Edwards also says family values are among his top priorities. He was raised around his family businesses and this foundation has built his concerns for the working class and public education.

“My work in both real estate and medical sales has given me a unique perspective on what our families and businesses need to thrive and be successful,” Edwards said in the press release he used to announce his candidacy. “I see on a daily basis the problems and issues that people are facing, from finding a good paying job to having health care for themselves and their families.”

Abe Alassaf was running as a Republican as well, but he has recently dropped out of the race.  

“Now is not the right time for various reasons,” Alassaf said in a Facebook post. He did not share any of the reasons.

The primary election will be held on March 15, 2016, and the general election will be November 8, 2016.

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