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Longtime politician Greg Jolivette to challenge Retherford

Longtime Butler County politician Greg Jolivette has has announced he will run for the 51st Ohio House seat in the November 2018 general election.

Jolivette — a former state representative, county commissioner and Hamilton mayor — announced his run for the seat currently held by Ohio Rep. Wes Retherford on Monday and introduced his “we can do better” campaign theme.

“I am ready to restore respectability and effectiveness to the district. As a representative, I earned the respect by being named chairman of the Health Committee in my third term. Being in leadership, I was an effective legislator and I am prepared to continue my strong belief in service and results,” Jolivette, 66, said in a press release. “I know that I am not a ‘spring chicken,’ but I have a spring in my step, passion in my heart and knowledge and experience in my head.”

In November, Hamilton resident Susan Vaughn has announced she also will seek the 51st Ohio House District seat.

MORE: Hamilton resident, former reality show star to run against Retherford

Vaughn, a 67-year-old Democrat, said she’s running because “ethics” has been the “first and foremost” issue people want to see improved.

Retherford, a three-term Republican, was first elected to the Statehouse in 2012 and won re-election in 2014 and 2016.

Retherford, 33, had faced a career-threatening felony charge this past March when he was arrested after he was found passed out in an idling pickup truck parked in the drive-thru lane of a Butler County fast-food restaurant. Police initially charged him with operating a vehicle while impaired, a misdemeanor, and improper handling of firearms in a vehicle, a felony, after finding a loaded handgun in his truck’s center armrest.

MORE: Butler County lawmaker no longer faces career-ending felony charge

A Butler County grand jury only indicted Retherford on the misdemeanor charge. He was later found guilty on that charge. Any state lawmaker found guilty of a felony charge is automatically removed from office, according to state law.

The Ohio 51st House District includes the cities of Hamilton and Fairfield as well as all or parts of Ross, Fairfield and St. Clair townships.

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