Baldridge stands beside his experience
By Derrick C. Parker
Scioto Voice Writer
Republican Brian Baldridge is running for the State Representative seat in the 90thDistrict. Baldridge has a plethora of local government experience and has served as a Fire Chief, Township Trustee, and County Commissioner for Adams County.
“We’ve been involved in local government for quite a while,” said Baldridge. “We love Southern Ohio and have worked hard at both the Township and County level. We feel we are the most experienced person for the job. I have a pulse on what’s going on here and I think that makes me a great candidate.”
Baldridge stands beside his experience and accomplishments while in office. As a Trustee, he helped to open up an old gymnasium and a local park. And as a commissioner, he has worked on many economic development projects.
“There has been continued growth in Adams County and the region as a whole,” said Baldridge. “It’s an ever changing environment. But that’s the very exciting part of being a government official. I get to be involved in a lot of different areas. We believe, as a County Commissioner and elected official, we build jobs to suit the environment. That could be infrastructure, water, sewers, or other utilities like electricity, natural gas, and broadband. I’ve been working on projects like that- even as of today.”
There are three issues Baldridge would like to work on right of the gate if elected: securing more state funding for Southern Ohio, alleviating the drug problem, and continued economic growth and development.
“The first thing we have to address is that local government funding has been cut. We’ve seen that and felt that first hand. I know the impact and what it does to our counties, townships, cities, and villages. So we are going to fight to restore funding.”
And as a firefighter/medic, Baldridge has seen the drug epidemic up close and personal.
“I’ve seen it first hand…And I know the first hand impact it has on our region and families. Ohio is spending almost a billion dollars on this epidemic. Lots of money has going towards it. Lots of programs are right here working well. The hardest thing for the next legislature to do is make sure those programs are working, and identifying the ones not working. We have to focus on the remedy: prevention and education. One of the challenges I’ve seen while talking to community groups, churches, non profits, and organizations is that they say its tough to focus on prevention and education. But no one group is going to fix this problem, not government, the sheriff’s office, judges, non profits, or churches. This is going to take everyone.”
“And you can’t just keep throwing money at the problem if its not working.”
Baldridge is also interested in economic development.
“We have an abundance of hard working, caring individuals in our workforce. Other places are having problems filling jobs, but we want whatever jobs there are to come into our area. That may be 100 small businesses, or 1 mega factory. But the problem with a mega factory is that when something happens and it goes away the entire region can suffer.”
The candidate knows all too well about a major employee closing its doors. Earlier this year, Adams County lost as many as 700 jobs when the DP&L power plant closed its doors.
“As soon as that happened, I put on my sports coat and dress shoes and sat in on the PUCO case,” said Baldridge. PUCO stands for the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio. “About three quarters of the way through, I raised my hand and fought for Southern Ohio…Unfortunately, the coal industry as a whole is in a major downturn. One my concern is that one of these days the cost of natural gas will go back up. And right now, alternative fuels are not in place strong enough to overcome the need. We as individuals and communities will pay that rate increase and that’s a tremendous concern.”
Moving forward, Baldridge hopes to bring in more jobs in Adams as well as Scioto County. Currently, he sits on the County Commissioners Association Board and the Township Trustees Board of Directors.
“We have to continue striving for economic development. We have to bring people together. That’s our responsibility. And with already knowing economic development, I know what Scioto County needs. It’s a very easy transition because of my past experience.”
Baldridge also touched on his stance on education.
“My wife, Lori, is involved in education. And a number of family members are in education. And from that I believe that more control needs in education needs to be at the local level. What’s good for Cleveland and Columbus may not be what’s good for us.”
Overall, experience is the biggest issue in this election, according to Baldridge.
“That’s what this race comes down to. I’ve been involved in government as a trustee, commissioner, and on both those levels we were involved at the state level…We love Southern Ohio and enjoy the challenge of working hard and pushing forward.”
“My opponent is a great individual. But we do bring different life experiences to the table. I compliment any folks who are willing to jump into any level of government, anyone who pulls a petition to get out and run for what they think is right.”