By Frank Lewis
Thomas Jefferson Davis, Democratic candidate for Ohio’s 90th District — currently occupied by Dr. Terry Johnson — says he would like to see common sense brought back to state government. In an exclusive interview with the Daily Times on Thursday, Davis talked about growing up in the east end of Portsmouth, and the value system he grew up in.
“There was accountability,” Davis said. “You not only cut your own grass or shoveled your own sidewalk, but if you had elderly neighbors or a widow, you cut their grass and shoveled their snow too. Your father expected you to do it”
Thom Davis, of Franklin Furnace, a locomotive engineer by trade, was recently re-elected to the Green Local School District Board of Education, and has been active in Four-H for around 10 years, and involved in volunteer firefighting for about 20 years. For a number of years he has also been involved in Operation Lifesaver, the railroad’s safety education program.
Davis said he has been thinking about running for about five years, but decided to put it off for personal reasons.
“My children were still probably too young at that time to run,” Davis said. “I wanted to make sure my children had a good footing in education and the founding years with dad at home constantly. Working for the railroad you’re gone half of your life anyway, so the more that you can dedicate to your family and qualify family time is what this meant to me. I just wanted to be sure that at the pinnacle moments I was there for the kids.”
Davis said he has been looking at the direction the state of Ohio is going in making his decision to run.
“We see state budgets with local government cuts, and it effects education,” Davis said. “We see what the state spends. Last year the Columbus Dispatch quoted the figure of $728 million in online, ECOT and charter schools like that, which, in turn, hurts local education, because they’re (public schools) not receiving as much state funding. So, what do we do? We run property tax levies and we increase property taxes on people. That hurts everybody. It hurts the small business owner.”
Davis said a bed and breakfast owner in Franklin Furnace told him his property taxes went up $600 last year.
“He realizes the school needs the money to be able to operate, but that $600 on a small business is a tough break,” Davis said. “especially when you are already paying the bulk in state taxes anyway, either through employees or through a business.”
Davis said an 11.1 percent unemployment rate in Scioto County is unacceptable.
“We have seen very few public works projects with expansions,” Davis said. “We’ve had the one at Rosemount, and there’s currently a waterline expansion in Franklin Furnace, but really when you look at the shape of our roads, you can’t even drive through New Boston. The road is falling apart.”
He said another need is for the ability for companies to locate in Scioto County.
“We’ve got everything in place,” Davis said. “We’ve got world class workers here. Their abilities are second to none and they’re ready to go to work.”
Davis is married to Kathy Kitts Davis, and they are the parents of Brittney, 24, a senior at Shawnee State University, and Ciera, a sophomore at Green High School.
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, Ext. 252, or on Twitter @FrankLewispdt.