Ohio House 93 candidate: Samantha Thomas-Bush (D)
NAME: Samantha Thomas-Bush
CANDIDATE FOR: Ohio State House Representative, 93rd District (Gallia, Jackson and most of Lawrence and Vinton counties)
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: www.facebook.com/stbfor93
HOME CITY: Proctorville, Ohio
HOME COUNTY: Lawrence County, Ohio
PERSONAL STATEMENT: Southeastern Ohio needs an assertive, compassionate voice in Columbus. We must have legislators who want Ohio to progress into the 21st Century, and who can attract and retain the talent of the next generation. Our legislative priorities cannot be determined by influence from special interest groups. Our priorities must be focused on the citizens of Ohio, and bringing sustainable, progressive growth and new industries to all corners of the State.
EDUCATION: Marshall University for undergraduate and graduate school; University of Louisville for law school.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Attorney; First-time candidate for office.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: I worked many jobs through college and law school, including being a research assistant, a freelance newspaper reporter, and waiting tables.
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Board Member of Children’s Place, Huntington, WV
ENDORSEMENTS: Lawrence County Democrats.
FAMILY: husband, Andy Bush.
1. What do you view as the top three challenges facing Ohio at this time?
1) Growing the local economy, which means supporting local and small businesses, which will spur meaningful job growth and sustainability with living wages and benefits. 2) Facing and finding solutions to the substance abuse crisis, which is one of the largest public health crises of our generation. 3) Funding public education and preparing the next generation to succeed in life.
2. What else does the state need to do to fight drug and substance abuse?
Ohio needs comprehensive substance abuse reform. There is no cookie-cutter solution and individualized plans are needed to win this war. We must emphasize prevention and counseling. Once someone starts using drugs, it needs to be considered if rehabilitation and/or incarceration is the next best step. Once drug-free, the recovering person needs resources to re-enter society in a meaningful way.
3. What ideas do you have for workforce development?
I propose regional business incubators, where local and small businesses can seek out help and advice on how they can open and sustain their business models and be successful. I also will promote cost-efficient, public education for all of Ohio’s residents, both in high school and afterwards, so we can eliminate or drastically reduce student loan debt burdens.
4. What measures do you support that would improve the lives of Ohioans, especially children, who are living in poverty?
I have been struck by the number of people who have told me time and again that children, especially vulnerable children, are being forgotten in Columbus. They are all too often collateral damage in homes where drug abuse and/or domestic violence is an issue. We must strengthen/increase the resources for those in our communities who seek to protect these children.
5. What do you think needs to be done to reduce the dropout rate?
We must be accountable to the next generation, meaning we must work for their best interests, not the best interests of Ohio charter schools. We must fund public education, provide more teachers, more extracurricular activities, more counselors, and more opportunities for children to learn basic and essential life skills, as well as preparing them for college and/or the workforce.