Former state lawmaker Greg Jolivette said he’s the candidate who can “restore respectability” to Ohio’s 51st House District.
Jolivette, 66, said he knows the job — from solving constituent problems, getting bills passed that help the district and getting money invested back into the community — and he’s “ready to do the job on day one.”
Opponents say local lawmaker not effective in representing Ohio’s 51st District
Jolivette, owner of Jolly's on Ohio 4 at Dayton Street in Hamilton, started working at his family's business when he was a teen, and has been running the store since his 20s. He was also a part of the inaugural Badin High School freshman class, graduating in 1970.
“I’m proud of my family’s legacy to Hamilton and Fairfield,” he said. “My family has provided jobs to thousands of Hamilton and Fairfield residents for over 80 years at A&W and Jolly’s, and we are most grateful to the public for their support.”
This week, this news organization is profiling each candidate vying for the Republican nomination in the Ohio 51st House District race. This is the second of those profiles.
Jolivette wants to be elected to represent Ohio’s 51st House District, which includes Hamilton and Fairfield, and Ross Twp., and parts of Fairfield, Hanover and St. Clair townships. He served in the Ohio House, representing the then-54th House District. Jolivette was appointed to the seat in October 1997 when Mike Fox resigned to be a Butler County Commissioner until he resigned the seat in January 2004 when he was appointed to the Butler County Commission.
This is Jolivette’s second time running against Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford, R-Hamilton, first running against him in 2014. Jolivette also is running against Hamilton philanthropist Sara Carruthers.
Jolivette said he thinks he has a better shot over Retherford’s 2016 primary opponent, former state lawmaker Courtney Combs, because he connects better with the voters.
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“Being a small businessman, I know the problem of too much state regulations,” he said. “That’s one of my priorities, to do away with bureaucratic regulations that just keeps bureaucrats in jobs and doesn’t help small business.”
He also knows the issues constituents have with the cost of prescription drugs and health care costs, which he said are “way out of control.”
If Jolivette wins the May 8 primary and is elected to office in November, he said another top priority would be to work to get funding for two bridges: one in Hamilton and one connecting Ross Twp. and Fairfield.
“We’re entering into an era of infrastructure needs that we need to position ourselves in order to have a voice in Columbus to have money back into the district,” said Jolivette.
He said the Black Street bridge near the Spooky Nook development needs to be replaced, saying it “just makes sense for getting people in and out of the area.”
Then south of Hamilton, the traffic has developed over the years where a connector bridge is necessary from Fairfield to Ross Twp. which will “make it a little easier” to navigate the region.
INITIAL REPORT: Longtime politician Greg Jolivette to challenge Retherford
Jolivette also wants to see the state government allow local governments to tap into the state’s rainy day fund, which grew after Ohio Gov. John Kasich slashed the local government fund in his first biennium budget.
“The local government fund was taken away when the state had its economic downturn. I can put in the budget language that when the economy takes a downturn — and it runs in cycles so it will happen again — that there is some barometer that will trigger that local governments be able to tap into part of that rainy day fund, which I think would be helpful to cities, townships and to help with the needs to try to survive the downturn,” he said.
Ohio's rainy day fund is at $2 billion, according to the Ohio Office of Budget and Management.
Jolivette said he, unlike Retherford, will take the job seriously, referencing the 2016 anonymous Columbus Monthly survey that called Retherford the "laziest" and "least principled" — and Ohio Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., was tied for second in the latter category.
“Those are labels that signifies that Wes just didn’t take his job seriously,” he said. “So we need to restore the leadership and respectability back to the district.”
While Retherford dismisses that article as the opinions of political insiders, Jolivette said the survey has merit because the previous survey in 2007 highlighted Jon Husted (now Secretary of State and Lt. Governor candidate) as the most effective lawmaker.
“It does have some barometer of what type of capabilities a legislator has,” he said.
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