Franklin mayor announces bid for Congress

Franklin Mayor Brent Centers, center, makes his formal announcement to run for Congress before family and friends at Camp Chautauqua. Centers, who is also the Hamilton Twp. administrator, is seeking to run for the current 1st Congressional District seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. ED RICHTER/STAFF
Franklin Mayor Brent Centers, center, makes his formal announcement to run for Congress before family and friends at Camp Chautauqua. Centers, who is also the Hamilton Twp. administrator, is seeking to run for the current 1st Congressional District seat, now held by U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot. ED RICHTER/STAFF

With indoor pyrotechnics and in front of a large U.S. flag, Franklin Mayor Brent Centers announced his candidacy for a seat in Congress in a district that boundaries have not been drawn.

Centers, 32, who also works as Hamilton Twp.’s administrator, told a gathering of more than 100 friends and family at Camp Chautauqua, that there needs to be a “Republican Revival” because the national Republican Party needs to be re-energized.

He said the the national GOP is somewhat organized, but they still lost the House, Senate and presidency in the last election. “It needs to be re-energized,” Centers said.

Centers, who has spent his adult life in military or public service, believes Washington, D.C. is down in a ditch as many good and wise people don’t want to serve at that level.

ExploreFranklin mayor eyeing run for Congress

As a young airman deployed as an F-16 crew chief at an airstrip in Iraq, Centers asked his expediter, “what are we doing here?” The expediter began to explain what was needed to be done, but Centers stopped him to ask why they were in Iraq. The expediter responded, “It doesn’t matter. We are just pawns and Congress moves the chess pieces however they want.”

Centers said he realized that morning how important it is that there are leaders in Congress who don’t just call the shots for the men and women serving overseas, but that there are members that actually know what it means to carry out those shots.

“Most of the representatives in Congress don’t know what it’s like to serve in uniform. And while military oversight is only a portion of the job for our representatives, the truth is - most of them don’t know what it is like to walk in any of our shoes at all,” he said.

Centers said many members of Congress are out of touch with their constituents and have no idea about what it’s like to lose a job, or a retirement, or a house. He said bills are passed that add to the skyrocketing price of healthcare but they don’t know what it’s like to set up a multi-year payment plan after a trip to the ER.

“I’m running because the people in our community are tired of leaders who don’t represent them,” Centers said. “They’re tired of being told they have a voice in government on election day and then ignored every other day.

“And most of all, the people in our communities are tired of politicians who don’t know them, who don’t really care about them, and who make decisions based on politics and party instead of people.”

While Warren County is currently a part of the 1st Congressional District, the new districts have not been drawn, Centers said he still believes incumbent U.S. Rep. Steve Chabot will retire in 2022. Chabot’s staff told the Dayton Daily News in March that he intends to run for re-election.

If Warren County gets drawn into districts currently represented by U.S. Reps. Warren Davidson, Brad Wenstrup or Mike Turner, Centers said he would not enter a primary race against them.