Lou Gentile works to serve our area

The race between incumbent state Sen. Lou Gentile, the Steubenville Democrat, against a challenge from Republican Frank Hoagland of Piney Fork, is a microcosm of the national election picture written into a local election.

On one hand there is the experienced, steady hand of Gentile, a man with years of experience as an administrator in state economic development and as a legislator.

On the other hand is Hoagland, a retired, no-nonsense Navy SEAL who expresses perfectly the take-no-prisoners stance about how an over-involved, overly complex government has failed its people.

The question is, should voters throw aside a proven, effective legislator because they’re angry at government at large?

Hoagland says he’d be willing to take risks, to fight for jobs that he sees as the basic need at ending the drug abuse crisis. And, to help provide jobs, he says, the area must be marketable.

That means roads must be fixed, broadband Internet access must be expanded, or people will continue to pass by the region as a location for business establishment, expansion or growth.

Gentile is working on those issues.

No matter what the party lines say, Gentile has shown his roots take precedence over what people assume about a Democrat this year. He is not anti-coal. He is not anti-working man.

He worked hard to prevent a mine safety training facility in Cadiz from closing and brought millions of dollars to keep it open and bring it up to date as a state-of-the-art institution.

He has spoken out to support keeping the area’s coal-fired power plants in operation, a 180-degree opposite from the public belief about Democrats and the war on coal.

He listens to constituents and works to bring in money to educate students in the jobs of today, including the modern energy sector. He is backing bipartisan efforts in the state Senate  to expand use of the state bonding power that has repaired many area roads and bridges to put a similar effort toward water and sewer programs.

He is fighting to get the job done, and as a member of the minority party, he’s not beholden to a party line. He freely speaks his mind about what his area, his people, need.

He is against seeing severance tax funds for energy being turned into a revenue boon that serves Western Ohio more than the energy region that is his district.

Hoagland presents the frustrations that speak loudly in the currently divided American atmosphere and has a military man’s approach to bring to legislating, including learning how the state Senate works, and then working to bring infrastructure dollars back.

We think the angry-electorate approach fails to acknowledge the work Gentile does every day.

We know Hoagland cannot be intimidated by other lawmakers as his record of public service has included being wounded several times in the defense of the nation.

We cannot help but admire and respect him, and we understand the frustration that things aren’t turning around immediately. But it took years to get here.

The question comes down to whether or not we believe Hoagland’s strength and toughness apply to the job of state senator in Ohio’s 30th District or whether a proven legislator who is doing the job should keep the job.

We think incumbent Sen. Lou Gentile’s knowledge of the workings of Columbus already is working to serve the area in an effective way, and he deserves the votes Nov. 8  to send him to another term.

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