DARKE COUNTY – Ronald Hammons (D-Celina) is opposing incumbent Jim Buchy (R-Greenville) for the Ohio House of Representatives seat in the 84th district.
The new 84th district is a result of the districts being redrawn, which occurs every 10 years. The district will include Mercer County and parts of Darke, Auglaize and Shelby counties.
Buchy, current representative for the 77th district, was appointed to the Ohio House of Representatives in 2011. He filled the unexpired term of Jim Zehringer who had been appointed as director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture and is now the director of the Ohio Department of Natural Resources.
“I basically went back to the legislature to help Gov. Kasich and the legislature help turn Ohio around economically. What we’re doing is we’ve set forth a plan to create jobs in Ohio. Ohio has been a very, very stagnant state for many years, and it’s time to make some changes so we can grow our economy and get people back to work and that’s what we’re doing. We have created over 122,000 new jobs since January of 2011,” said Buchy.
A native of Greenville, Buchy is a graduate of Wittenberg University and has been involved in his family’s business, Buchy Food Service, for 45 years. He began his public service in the 1980s when he served on the Greenville City Schools Board of Education. He served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 1983-2000, at which point he was term limited, he said.
After, he worked at the Ohio Department of Agriculture as assistant director, then moved on to work with the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), he said.
In addition to working on the economy, Buchy said he also has a focus on the support of agriculture, noting that agriculture is the number one industry in the state and is dominate in the area he represents.
“I have been in the legislature 10 terms and [for] 10 terms I have served on the agriculture and natural resources committee,” he said.
If elected, Buchy said he is interested in how the next budget is crafted.
“We’re not finished yet with the plan to really get Ohio going. We have some areas that we’re going to really look at. Of course, the most important piece of legislation any two-year general assembly passes is the budget,” said Buchy.
Other areas of concern which Buchy said he feels need attention include education funding and accountability; workers’ compensation; unemployment compensation; and making state agencies more efficient.
Buchy said he brings “a wealth of experience” to the table, in addition he said he is honest and straightforward.
“The residents know when they ask me a straight question, they get a straight answer. I don’t avoid the tough issues,” he said.
Buchy said he has perfect attendance in his 20 years in the legislature.
“I take the job very seriously. I work very hard at it,” he stated.
Buchy said, that if elected, he will continue to work hard for a climate that will make Ohio the number one state of the 50 states.
“I’m very privileged to work for the finest people in the world … it’s an honor and my hope is that the people will recognize that I represent the values and the beliefs of the district and that the citizens will want me to return in January to continue to work for better state government in Ohio,” Buchy concluded.
Buchy is opposed by Democrat Ronald Hammons of Celina. Hammons is originally from St. Mary’s, Ohio. He graduated from Wright State University and also spent two years in the U.S. Army, he said.
Hammons said his political background includes 22 years spent on the Celina City Council.
His career included working at his family’s business, which sold hardware, furniture and appliances; working for Mersman Table Company; working as purchasing manager for the Van Wert County Hospital; and working in the automobile business at Moser Motors. Hammons said he retired two years ago, but still works part time for Moser Motors in Portland, Ind.
Hammons said he decided to run for the representative position after being approached by Ohio Democratic Caucus. He noted that that through appointments the seat has been unopposed.
“I really think it’s time that somebody ought to really be elected rather than appointed,” he said.
Hammons said the election is a challenge as “this area here has been Republican for a long time.”
When it comes to things Hammons wants to work on if he is elected, he noted that he wants to work on the economy and Grand Lake St. Mary’s. Hammons said he lives on the lake, so he has experienced the problems it’s had first-hand.
“I really do consider myself an environmental person and I would work as hard as I could [to fix the lake],” said Hammons.
He noted that, due to problems with the lake, “it’s been tough” for businesses and tourism in the area.
If elected, Hammons said he would represent the district as a whole and represent the people’s voice in Columbus.
Hammons said that “one viewpoint all the time is not good, I don’t think,” in reference to the fact that as a Democrat, he could bring a different viewpoint. He added that he thinks all issues should be looked at individually.
“That’s how I treated everything when I was on city council. I felt like I was there to make the best possible decision based on the input I got from the people I represent[ed],” said Hammons.
Hammons said that he feels voters should choose him because he “would bring a different viewpoint to Columbus than has been there for years when it comes to representing this side of the state.”
Hammons said he is “honest and to the point” and would be able to provide the ability to listen and be available to listen to citizens, if elected.
Representatives for the Ohio House serve two-year terms.