While some questions have been raised as to whether Vincent Peterson II, a community liaison for U.S. Representative Tim Ryan and therefore a federal employee, can show up at State House, nothing in the law prohibits it.
Tom Rust, chief attorney and director of personnel for the U.S. House of Commons ethics committee, declined to comment as it is committee policy. He pointed to the committee’s ethics manual.
One problem is, does Peterson’s candidacy violate the Hatch Act?
But the Hatch Act only prohibits members of the executive from engaging in partisan political activities.
The United States House Ethics Committee manual states: “These restrictions do not apply to employees of Congress.”
The manual also specifies: “A staff member who is considering running for office or serving in a local office should first consult with the member who employs them about this and should refrain from doing so if the member objects. “
Ryan, D-Howland, said he had no problem with Peterson seeking the seat of the 64th District of Ohio House in next year’s election.
“Tim was great with this,” Peterson added.
Peterson said he contacted the ethics committee before showing up. Although the committee did not give a formal opinion, it was told to consult the manual and said it was not violating any federal rule by soliciting the state office.
The ethics manual specifies: “Employees should be aware of restrictions that prohibit performing local elective service or any campaigning activity for the local office in House offices, including district offices, using House resources or at the office. ‘official time. Additionally, federal law and House Building Commission regulations prohibit any political solicitation – including one for a local office – from being conducted in a House office space. It is also illegal to solicit funds from other federal employees.
Peterson said he took care to separate his community liaison work for Ryan and his campaign for State House.
“It is a complete separation between my official functions and my campaign”, he said. “We’re very, very clear on this.”
Peterson, of Howland, is running for the 64th District seat in next year’s election as a Democrat.
He has been a Community Liaison Officer for Ryan since May 2017, was an assistant coach at Howland High School for five years and spent almost four years as a State Parole Officer.
Additionally, Bria Bennett de Warren, director of business operations for HireLogic and former Ohio Democratic Party field organizer, is seeking the Democratic nomination for the seat.
Bennett said she resides in the town of Warren. His voter card with the Trumbull County Electoral Board shows his home address on Lane West Road SW in Warren Township, just outside the district.
Under state law: “A candidate for election to the Ohio House of Representatives must establish residence in a district one year before election as a representative or a redistribution plan or provision of the Ohio Constitution is invalidated after the adoption of such a plan, thus giving candidates an additional 30 days to relocate regardless of the date of the next elections.
Nick Santucci of Howland is the only declared Republican candidate for the post.
Santucci is a senior workforce and community engagement consultant for VAZA Consulting, based in Pickerington. Prior to that, he spent approximately a year as the Director of Government Affairs and Workforce Development at the Eastern Ohio Educational Services Center. Santucci also worked for more than five years at the Youngstown / Warren Regional Chamber.
The House seat will be open as incumbent Michael J. O’Brien, D-Warren, cannot run in 2022 due to state term limit law.
NEW NEIGHBORHOOD LINES
District lines for the 64th are undergoing major changes as part of legislative map changes made by the Ohio Redistribution Commission.
Three Ohio Supreme Court lawsuits claim the new House and Senate districts approved Sept. 15 by the five Republicans on the committee are unconstitutional because they gerrymand the state to allow the GOP to retain its qualified majority in the two legislative bodies.
Because the two Democrats on the commission voted against the new districts, they would only be in effect for four years, instead of 10, under a 2015 charter amendment approved by voters.
The current 64th District includes Warren and Howland as well as rural Trumbull County and six townships in southern Ashtabula County.
Based on voting trends in statewide partisan elections over the past decade, the current 64th district is made up of 50.9% Republicans, 46.62% Democrats and the rest other political parties.
While O’Brien won four two-year terms in the district, he exploded in last year’s election by 0.74 percent over Republican Martha Yoder.
The new district retains Warren and Howland, but removes the rest of the existing district and adds Girard, Niles, Hubbard, McDonald, Liberty, Weathersfield and Vienna which are currently in the 63rd district.
Most of these communities are Democrats, so the new district would be 53.76% Democrat, 43.98% Republican and other political parties based on voting patterns in partisan elections across the country. ‘State.
By making the change, the new 65th district (the current 63rd with a new number) is now a strong Republican district with Mike Loychik, R-Bazetta, running his first term, as incumbent.
This district would be made up of 60.15% Republicans and 37.3% Democrats with the rest of the other political parties. By comparison, the current 63rd is made up of 50.08% Republicans, 46.62% Democrats and the rest of other political parties.
Democrat John Moliterno, executive director of the Western Reserve Port Authority and city councilor for Girard at-Large, had seriously considered running against Loychik before the lines were redrawn.
Because he is expected to run in the 64th and Peterson has already declared his candidacy, Moliterno, who is retiring from the port authority in February, said he would not run for state seat.