Manchester enters political foray for 84th District seat

By Melanie Speicher -

Susan Manchester

Susan Manchester

Editor’s note: In preparation for the May 8 Primary, the Sidney Daily News is profiling each candidate who is seeking the Republican nomination for the Ohio House of Representative’s 84th District. Each candidate was queried on topics which affect the residents of the district. Travis Faber was profiled April 11, Aaron Heilers on April 12, and Susan Manchester on April 13.

WAYNESFIELD — Thirty-year-old Susan Manchester, of Waynesfield, is using her major in political science and entered the race for the Ohio House of Representative’s 84th District.

She is a graduate of Ohio State University, where she earned a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology/Bachelor of Arts in Political Science; and The George Washington University, where she earned an M.P.S. Political Management. She is the community outreach director for Big Brothers Big Sisters of West Central Ohio.

She has been involved with Campus Crusade for Christ where she was a short-term international team leader; U.S. House of Representatives where she worked in the office of Rep. Jim Jordan; and is a field organizer for the Ohio Republican Party. She is a member of the New Hampshire Community Church, where she is involved as a local missions team leader and worship team leader. She also assists with the Waynesfield/New Hampshire Community Food Pantry. Manchester is single.

How should school security be addressed with the rising tide of gun incidents in public schools? Does the state have a role in this?

“I am heartbroken by recent shootings in public schools, and I cannot imagine the pain of the families affected by these tragedies. I think the best answers for school safety will come from the local level. Certainly the federal or state gun bans being discussed will not address the issue. My home school district of Waynesfield-Goshen, for example, has allowed teachers with concealed carry licenses to carry in school to improve students’ safety. That decision was made locally, and all school districts should have a similar opportunity to make that decision for themselves rather than being forced into a state-mandated plan. Additionally, the local teachers and law enforcement I meet with across our district say that providing mental health resources in the schools is an important factor to identifying and addressing potential problems. Funding for that, along with funding for school resource officers, may be an appropriate role for the state.”

Do you think the current concerns of mayors and other local officials regarding the reductions to Local Government Funds are valid ones?

“My top priority as state representative will be to protect our hard-earned tax dollars and use them wisely. I learned this first-hand by helping run one of the lowest-spending congressional offices in the country with Congressman Jim Jordan. I agree that local governments have dealt with tough cuts in recent years, and I think local government entities are most often the most effective and accountable form of government. It is past time for us to examine how we allocate state resources to local governments to make sure it is done in a reliable and predictable way that allows local governments to plan as best they can.”

What can lawmakers at the state level do to help combat the opioid crisis? Is this a problem of over-prescribing physicians or a problem with foreign-sourced contraband (fentanyl) from south of the border and from China? Do you favor using less-dangerous drugs in rehab settings to help wean addicts? And to what extent should the state government help fund any of this?

“After meeting with folks on every side of the issue, from local law enforcement, to recovery agencies, to addicts and their families, I do not believe the state needs to create another government program to combat opiate addiction. Rather, the state should support law enforcement and empower churches, non-profits and agencies at the local level who are already doing a good job. This support must encourage a “tough love” component that is necessary for anyone to break an addiction. It also includes allowing local rehabilitation units the flexibility to determine which methods are most effective for helping addicts recover and return to productive society. This crisis cannot be blamed on one single entity. There is plenty of blame to go around. But the effects of the opioid crisis are far-reaching even in small rural communities like ours, and it’s going to take an all-of-the-above approach from law enforcement, families, the faith community, and recovery agencies to ensure that we are addressing the issue properly.”

Do you favor completely outlawing surgical abortion access in Ohio? Why? What about access to pharmaceutical/chemical abortions?

“I am 100 percent Pro-Life. I believe that every life has value and every life is worth fighting for. I am against all forms of abortion and will make it my priority to defend every life, including the life of the mother if she is at risk.”

How can the state work with locals to retain college graduates in Ohio with new businesses, jobs and entertainment opportunities? And how do we attract people from outside Ohio to settle here to fill the vacancies at industries that currently go unfilled?

“Ohio has what it takes to be a great destination for college graduates, both from inside and outside the state. We have high-tech and professional opportunities at businesses related to WPAFB, NASA, Honda, Proctor & Gamble, and dozens of other major employers. We just need to keep Ohio competitive with other states by creating a business-friendly environment that encourages growth and reduces barriers to entry. Just as importantly, there is also a need to fill jobs in skilled trades and other fields that do not require a college degree. Area business owners and schools are already working together to educate high school students about available jobs through programs like Hometown Opportunity, whose mission is to connect local companies with local talent.”

Do you favor work requirements for able-bodied Medicaid recipients?

“Yes, able-bodied Medicaid recipients should be required to work, or train for work, in order to receive benefits. Even with low unemployment rates in our area, there are a lot of unfilled jobs, both entry-level and above. Employers are struggling to find people to fill these open positions. This is in part due to the drug issue, but it is also affected by the generous government benefit packages able-bodied individuals can receive. We should enforce a work requirement from the state-level to all counties, and also find ways to eliminate the barriers that keep people trapped in the system. One example of this would be phasing out benefits as individuals climb the ladder to self-sufficiency, instead of abruptly cutting all benefits once someone reaches a certain income level. I helped draft work requirement legislation for able-bodied individuals at the federal level, and I would fight for the same as your state representative.”

Do you support expanding Ohio’s renewable energy favorability to companies like wind and solar developers, or do you think such projects are an unnecessary threat to property values of nearby residents?

“Government has a bad habit of picking winners and losers when it gets involved in the free market. I think consumers and the free market should determine what type of energy is best. Property owners have a right to express concerns when government mandates infringe on their territory. Before the government decides what type of energy we should use, let’s allow the free market to determine which sources of renewable energy are best for the environment and consumers.”

What is your position on the latest redistricting proposal? Is it fair or unfair compared to the current system? Why or why not?

“Ohio needs redistricting reform. Our current congressional districts are cut in ways that serve politicians and not the people. I fully support the latest redistricting proposal and believe it takes necessary steps to ensure that cities and counties stay in tact rather than being split to serve one party over another. It is critical that we put the interests of the people first, and this proposal is a step in the right direction.”

Susan Manchester Manchester

By Melanie Speicher

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.

Reach the writer at 937-538-4822.