The first question most people ask Sara Carruthers about her candidacy for Ohio’s 51st House District is, “Why are you running?”
“I’m in it because it’s a mess,” she said. “About the time things went crazy for this office, I got sort of angry. I thought a long time about it and I prayed a long time about it and I thought, ‘People are getting into this position for the wrong reason,’ and I’m not in it for the wrong reasons as far as I feel.”
Carruthers said she isn’t a “career politician” — she’s never run for political office previously — and believes people are running for this office “for a paycheck,” “for healthcare” and “status.”
“I don’t need any of those things,” she said. “My kids are settled and I thought, ‘Maybe I can make a difference.’”
The Hamilton philanthropist said she's got a team of people to help her campaign and was a close friend to the late Tom Rentschler, a former state lawmaker born and raised in Hamilton who represented this district from 1967 to 1970.
“I admired him because he did it for the right reasons,” Carruthers said about Rentschler. “Now with the Internet and everything else it’s about what kind of dirt can you find on people, and that takes people away that are really good.”
Carruthers said somebody with a fresh face and a fresh point of view “that’s doing it for the right reasons, needless to say they’re going to be excited about what they’re seeing and try and help.”
This week, this news organization is profiling each candidate vying for the Republican nomination in the Ohio 51st House District race. This is the third of those profiles. The Ohio 51st House District represents residents in Hamilton and Fairfield, and Ross Twp., and parts of Fairfield, Hanover and St. Clair townships.
The Carruthers’ family has donated to several projects around the county, including the Donna Y. Carruthers Fine Arts Center at Wilson Middle School, Ralph Rogan Carruthers Intensive Care Unit, Donna Y. Carruthers Cardiovascular Suites, and Carruthers Emergency Department and Gebhardt Center Cancer Treatment Center at Fort Hamilton Hospital.
“I love this place,” Carruthers said. “This place pumps through my veins and I want it to succeed. I want my kids, my grandkids and my great grandchildren, I want them to stay here, live here, work here and be good citizens here. I want to help people that I care about.”
If she wins in the May primary and then in the November election, she said she would focus on education, jobs and the drug crisis that’s devastated the area.
After meeting with some area police chiefs and police officers, she said she has “a few ideas what could be put into place without being drastic. I’ve seen some loopholes in the laws that need to be closed up, and nobody mentions them.”
She wouldn’t expand on what those loopholes are but said, “the police know they’re there.”
When it comes to education, she said she wants “to do more with the schools.”
“Our kids need to know that there are good people running this country, and that they do have a voice,” Carruthers said. “Right now our kids need heroes more than anything else.”
Carruthers also wants to focus on bringing jobs to the district, as well as filling the jobs that are available.
But she said there are quite a few people who cannot pass a drug test and “that’s a huge issue.”
Michael D. Pitman has been a reporter in southwest Ohio since 1999. He's covered local governments in Warren and Butler counties, as well as state and national issues. He currently covers the cities of Fairfield and Hamilton.