LISBON — U.S. Representative Bill Johnson has three opponents in the Republican Party primary for Ohio’s 6th congressional district on Tuesday — John Anderson, Michael Morgenstern and Gregory Zelenitz.
The new 6th congressional district includes all of Jefferson, Harrison, Columbiana, Carroll, Belmont, Mahoning, Monroe, Noble, and Washington counties and parts of Stark and Tuscarawas counties. Mahoning is the most populous county in the district.
Johnson, R-Marietta, 67, has served in the 6th congressional district since 2011. Raised on the family farm and retiring as a U.S. Air Force lieutenant colonel after approximately 26 years of service, he has was a recipient of the Air Force Meritorious Service Medal, the Air Force Medal of Honor and the National Defense Service Medal.
He saw his neighborhood change.
“I am not at all unhappy with the new territory”, Johnson said, noting that while the new areas are adding a lot of new people, the campaign is getting to know those people and finding their concerns very similar to other counties in the district.
Johnson said everyone is worried about inflation, which he calls a tax on every American. He notes that inflation has risen to 8.5%, the highest in 40 years.
“How do you go from the best economy in 50 years to the worst economy in 40 years?” Johnson asked, noting that although President Joe Biden has recently pushed to blame Russian President Vladimir Putin, the inflation started long before the war.
Johnson said he favors using resources from the coal- and natural-gas-rich regions of Ohio, adding that it’s important to put American energy resources back into play. Johnson sits on the House Energy and Commerce Committee, is a member of the House Shale Caucus and co-chair of the House Natural Gas Caucus.
John Anderson, who spent more than 40 years as a civilian contractor working with Air Force military projects, said he knew where the government contract waste lay and had spent his career cut them.
From South Youngstown, Anderson, 70, said he was concerned about the current situation in the country.
“We are in a desperate situation” Anderson said. “This is the most corrupt and incompetent government we have ever had.”
After graduating from Woodrow Wilson High School in 1969 and Youngstown State University in 1974, Anderson worked for a year with the Youngstown police before heading to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in 1977, where he was served. involved in acquisition logistics and sustainment. He worked with various aircraft contracts over the years – the F-16s, B-1s and C-17s – making sure the planes were ready, moving equipment as needed and making sure aircraft spare parts were readily available.
If elected to Congress, he plans to use his expertise to cut costs and waste, outsourcing jobs to private contractors if the government’s current system can’t compete.
“If you elect me, I will be there for you” Anderson said. “I was there for the military and I’ll be there for my country. We need to remove (President Joe) Biden and (Vice President Kamala) Harris, now. They’re not enforcing our laws.
Anderson expressed concern about illegal immigrants invading the country and that the current leadership does not understand that the country is not ready for green energy.
He points out that the United States had a debt of $10 trillion in 2010, a figure that has now risen to $32 trillion, including $6 trillion in the past two years. He also said that the country should stay away from endless wars, protect children from “minor abuse” from the awakening of the teaching of sex education to the critical theory of race.
He points out the incumbent wins 98% of the time, but said if people re-elect Johnson, nothing will change.
Michael S. Morgenstern, 33, from Poland, graduated from Columbiana High School and served in the US Marine Corps from 2008 to 2013. He was deployed to Afghanistan in 2012. He is now employed as a low voltage technician and uses the skills he learned in the military.
“I saw the need” Morgenstern spoke about his decision to run for Congress. “There is no honesty in Congress. I believe we have to be honest.
He took a sign from God that he should run and he has a list of several things he believes he should accomplish.
He sees a need for term limits and has signed a statement that he will pursue. He wants representatives to be limited to three terms (six years) in the House and two terms (12 years) for senators.
“I don’t believe in career politicians” Morgenstern said, noting that Johnson had been in office for 12 years when that term ended.
He also supports reform of the schedule a marijuana statute. He thinks marijuana should be a schedule three substance, where lower tier drugs with less abuse potential are placed.
While Ohio is one of 37 states that allow medical marijuana, Morgenstern believes this still creates contradictions. For example, Morgenstern said he had a medical marijuana license and a concealed carry license. Yet these things are not compatible for “Many good citizens live their best lives.”
Gregory M. Zelenitz, 66, describes himself as an independent businessman since age 18 who knows what it’s like to build a payroll.
Zelenitz, a resident of St. Clairsville, graduated from St. John Central High School and attended Ohio University and Belmont College. Additionally, he is a graduate of the Reppert School of Auctioneering and works as a licensed auctioneer and real estate agent.
“I’m a fan of any company” said Zelenitz. “I can certainly understand what the businessman must be going through today.”
Zelenitz said he thinks he’s the only Republican businessman in the field in this primary along with the other three mostly retired veterans.
He worries about the health care system and the lack of home care providers for the elderly. When her own mother needed help, she could not get help to stay at home. She had to go to nursing and because of COVID-19 he couldn’t come in and see her.
He fears criminals crossing the southern border with drugs and guns, but said it was difficult to get permission for Ukrainians to come to work legally.
If elected, Zelenitz said he would give the region a voice, something he doesn’t think Johnson has the capacity to do.
“Let’s make America sane again” said Zelenitz. “There are a lot of bad ideas. Someone has to stand up with a voice of reason and a voice of common sense.
He believes that with all of Ohio’s oil, gas and coal, those resources should be put to use and it should be Ohio’s leaders talking about what Ohio can help provide to the rest of the country. .
Tuesday’s winner will face the winner of the Democratic primary in November.