Last updated: August 07. 2014 4:49PM - 640 Views
By Heather Meade hmeade@civitasmedia.com



Heather Meade|Advocate photoDee Gillis (left) is the Democratic candidate in the upcoming Nov. 4 General Election, running against Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City); Tom Poetter (right) will run against John Boehner for his U.S. Senate District 8 seat. Both were guests speakers at the annual Darke County Democrat's picnic, held Wednesday.
Heather Meade|Advocate photoDee Gillis (left) is the Democratic candidate in the upcoming Nov. 4 General Election, running against Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City); Tom Poetter (right) will run against John Boehner for his U.S. Senate District 8 seat. Both were guests speakers at the annual Darke County Democrat's picnic, held Wednesday.
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GREENVILLE - The Darke County Democrats hosted two candidate speakers Wednesday evening at their annual picnic at the park; Tom Poetter, who will challenge incumbent Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio); and Dee Gillis, who is up against incumbent Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), the current Ohio Senator for District 5, which encompasses Miami and Preble Counties, as well as portions of Montgomery and Darke Counties.


Jim Surber introduced Poetter as “a candidate against the infamous orange weeper of the House; someone who doesn’t lack for TV time, between the TV and the Internet…” referring to Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-Ohio).


“I want to wish Tom luck; he’s a professor at Miami University, and besides that, he’s a much better choice that what’s in there now, and what’s been in there for quite a few years,” Surber added.


Poetter began by announcing how good the Darke County and Ohio Democrat Parties have been to him since beginning his campaign, and talked about some of the work he’s been doing.


“When I call donors on the phone, sometimes I get to use the line ‘We may not be red to blue, but we’re the only district that’s orange to blue.’ So, Jim, thanks for reminding us who we’re running against.”


Later, Poetter shared that it was Boehner’s actions that inspired him to run for office; beginning with the government shut down in October 2013, he said.


“The inspiration for my race was the government shut down of 2013…It started with Speaker of the House John Boehner, the third most powerful person in the world, third in line for the presidency, ignoring the opportunity to take a clean vote on a bill that would have passed and saved us 16 days of shut down and $24 billion on the tax payers’ back,” Poetter stated. “I don’t want anybody…to ever forget that. That the speaker of the house could have taken a clean bill vote and he did not. And he did it on purpose.


“He did it, as he said later, as a tactic,” Poetter continued. “A tactic that the Right pushed him into in a fit over a settled law, the [Affordable Care Act]. He did it. And he could have avoided it. And he cost us $24 billion.


“And right now, last week, before Congress cleared for five weeks of campaigning, he brought a suit against the president, a frivolous lawsuit, irony of ironies, the speaker of the house bringing a frivolous lawsuit against the president, all on the tax payers’ back,” he added. “John Boehner has done nothing for District 8; John Boehner is not doing anything for the United States of America. We need to end gridlock, and we need to put him out of office.”


Poetter was raised in St. Marys, Ohio, and is now a professor at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, where he lives with his wife, with whom he has two adult sons. To learn more, visit www.poetterforcongress.com.


Following Poetter was former Tipp City mayor and private business owner, Dee Gillis.


Dee Gillis is running for the Ohio Senate seat against current District 5 Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City), though she was reluctant at first, she said. She said she and husband, Kelly, whom she married at the age of 17, agreed to leave it up to God; if it was meant to be, it was too important not to do, she stated. Turns out, it was meant to be, she added.


“You might wonder why a 63 year old woman is running,” she began. Last year, she said she was contacted by a young man representing the Ohio Democrat Senate Caucus, and after discussing it with Kelly, decided to have the young man contact his other potential candidates, but that if no one else was interested, or a good fit, she would “leave it to God,” and go for it.


Turns out, two other gentlemen were interested in the position, after all, which meant there would be a primary election to determine a candidate for the general election, Gillis explained.


“We won the primary with 52 percent of the vote…which I’m told is a good deal, with three candidates,” Gillis said.


She said she had no idea how much work it was to run a campaign, though she had helped on others, she added. She has made thousands of phone calls, knocked on countless doors, and attended many events throughout her district, hoping that it will make the difference come November, she said.


“It’s hard work, but it’s inspiring, and it makes you feel good,” she stated. “We only need one seat to take the Republican super majority in the Senate,” Gillis announced. Three seats would be ideal, she noted.


Gillis grew up in the Miami Valley, the daughter of a single mother who worked tirelessly to provide for her family; learn more about Dee and what she stands for at www.DeeGillis.com.


The Darke County Democrats will hold their next meeting on Wednesday, 6 p.m., at the Darke County Fairgrounds to prepare their booth for the Great Darke County Fair. Ed Fitzgerald, Democratic candidate for Ohio governor, and his running partner Sharon Neuhardt, are scheduled to be at the Great Darke County Fair on Sunday, Aug. 17 for a couple of hours beginning around noon, Surber stated.

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