A New Boston native and Council member is looking to represent Scioto County at the State. Councilmember and Chair of the Scioto County Democratic Party Ryan Ottney is the only Democrat running for the 14th District Senate seat in the March Primary. He will be facing off against either Terry Johnson or David Uible in the General Election.
Ottney stated that he is running for the people of small towns like those of Scioto County.
“My goal, if elected, is to reinvest in our rural communities to give them the same resources and funding that are available to bigger cities throughout Ohio,” Ottney stated. “By taking less away from local governments, communities can lower their tax rate and increase services. Roads can be fixed, water can be cleaner. We can allow local communities to thrive by taking our hands out of their pockets. The state can find new ways to balance its budgets, like ending corporate tax breaks that unfairly burden the working families. It’s time our leaders worked for us.”
Ottney is a former writer and editor for the Portsmouth Daily Times and is now the Communications Coordinator at the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center (SCOESC). In this position, Ottney explained that he is able to promote educational programs and schools in the local area.
However, the candidate says that it is through his experience in local government that made him feel the drive to race to the Senate — specifically the State’s influence over funding to smaller localities.
“As a member of village council, I’ve seen how local, rural communities have struggled because of state legislators who have taken too much away from our local government funds to help balance their own state budget,” Ottney commented. “This leaves local communities unable to provide basic services to their residents. They can’t afford to hire enough police or firemen; they can’t afford to maintain their aging roads and infrastructure.”
On the local government level, Ottney explained that there are few viable solutions to the problem. Local governments, such as the Village of New Boston, City of Portsmouth and even Scioto County are then forced to cut services or increase local taxes.
“And there isn’t enough help from state grants and assistance programs either, because they’re all going to the bigger cities while rural communities continue to struggle,” Ottney stressed. “I’ve had enough of this, and I decided to run to help rural communities like ours keep those dollars at home.”
As a candidate for the 14th District, Ottney says his main focus is on local progress. He added that no matter what area leaders communicate, Scioto County community members still carry the weight of burdens facing their hometown.
“Improving our region is the most important thing we can do,” Ottney stated. “Everyone agrees we need help here, but then they also say the economy is doing so great. Which is it? Because both things can’t be true. If you want to know which one is, don’t listen to the politicians. Just drive around your community and see for yourself. See the vacant shops and crumbling buildings. Look at how many of your neighbors are on assistance programs. The economy might be great for some people and their stock portfolio, but it hasn’t trickled down to southern Ohio families. We deserve better.”
Much of this passion for assisting his neighbors come from his political past but says his career in journalism and communications also greatly impacts the type of leader he aspires to be.
“My experience in local government has given me an up-close look at the problem that rural communities face. I have stood up for our citizens, supported wage increases for our employees, and helped bring activities back to the village, such as our huge July 4th celebration,” Ottney explained. “Also, my background in journalism has engraved upon me a strong commitment to transparency, accountability, and public access. I was the first in our community to begin live-streaming public council meetings, and I’m glad to see other local elected bodies now doing the same. This is the kind of transparency and access you can expect from me in the Ohio Senate.”
Ottney is supported in his goals to reach the State by his family — wife Katie, son Chase and dog Hattie.