Sam Grady vs. Marilyn John

MANSFIELD — The race for the Ohio House 2nd District seat representing Richland County is nearing its end.

On Nov. 3, voters will choose between Republican Marilyn John and Democrat Sam Grady. The winner will replace Republican State Rep. Mark Romanchuk, who is vacating his seat due to term limits. 

Ohio representatives are subject to term limits of no more than four two-year terms, for a total of eight years.

Ohio state representatives serve two-year terms, with all 99 seats up for election every two years. Ohio holds elections for its legislature in even years. There are currently 38 Democrats and 61 Republicans in the Ohio House of Representatives. 

The base annual salary for an incoming state representative is between $60-$65,000. 

In addition to information from their previous candidate interviews in March, Grady and John were contacted by Richland Source via email on Friday, Oct. 16 and asked to provide answers to the following additional questions by Tuesday, Oct. 20: 

  • What areas of public policy are you personally passionate about? Why?
  • What will be your first priority should you be elected on Nov. 3?
  • Any additional information you'd like the voters to know about you?

The following responses are listed in alphabetical order. To read the candidates full, unedited answers, click the link below:

Sam Grady 

Grady, 28, is a student at The Ohio State University Mansfield campus working towards a bachelor's degree in English. Born and raised in Richland County, he is a graduate of Lexington High School. 

After years of experience working minimum wage jobs in the retail and service industry, this is Grady's first run for office. He defeated fellow write-in candidate Carline Curry during the April 28 primary. 

"Mike DeWine and the Republicans in the legislature need a check on their power so the unconstitutional attacks on gun rights, abortion rights, and the right of adults to smoke what they want will cease, and the state government can get to work on fixing Ohio's problems instead of engaging in the perpetual trampling of our constitution for political theater," Grady told Richland Source in March. 

Grady is passionate about passing anti-corruption legislation and electoral reforms.

"We need a transparent government, accountable to the people rather than corporate lobbyists and unelected party leadership," he said. "Also economic policy in general because Ohio has all the foundations for a booming, high-wage, job producing economy, we just haven't had the leadership to make it happen."

If he wins the election, Grady said his first priority would be forming a cohesive COVID-19 response and economic recovery plan. 

"From top to bottom we've had a failure of leadership, a failure to communicate, and a failure to account for the millions of Ohioans hit hardest by this pandemic and recession," Grady said. "The legislature is full of out of touch, anti-science, feckless bureaucrats who have been pushing partisan agendas meant to divide and hurt Ohioans. And a lot of them are going to be reelected so I'm going to be calling them on this BS on the house floor on day one."

Marilyn John 

John, 52, is currently serving as a Richland County Commissioner. Her highest educational attainment was a masters degree in business administration from Ashland University, and she previously served as the mayor of the city of Shelby.

Before serving as an elected official, John also worked as an underwriter at Shelby Insurance Company and as the executive director of the Shelby Senior Center. She defeated Shelby councilman Nathan Martin during the April 28 primary. 

"I have always felt we have great potential in Richland County, and over the past 10 years I have served the residents of Richland County in order to reach that potential - first as a mayor and now as a county commissioner," John told Richland Source in March.

"While much work has been completed, there is still much to be done, and I feel my time in public office has prepared me well to become the next State Representative of District 2."

John said she is passionate about education and workforce.

"The greatest investment we can make is our children and insuring they are equipped with a quality education as they become adults," she said. "(And) business is one of the cornerstones of our community and having a strong workforce is essential to their success, as well as, critical to attracting new business." 

Should she win the election on Nov. 3, John said her first priority would be assisting communities and businesses as they tackle the challenges brought by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

"Also, one of the first priorities for the General Assembly will be the state budget," she said. "COVID has brought many challenges to state and local governments also and I feel my experience with county budgets over the past six years will be beneficial."

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