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State representative looking to retain his seat

Blair faces challenge from Republican Air Force veteran

Former municipal court prosecutor and Weathersfield trustee Gil Blair, a Democrat, who was appointed to serve in Ohio’s 63rd House District is asking voters to elect him to a full two-year term in the General Assembly.

U.S. Air Force veteran and small business owner, Mike Loychik, a Republican who’s new to politics and elected office, is Blair’s challenger.

Among Blair’s top priorities is economic development. Lordstown in his district is booming and Blair said he wants to see that type of growth extend to other communities.

“A lot of development is focused in Lordstown and some other communities have not seen that development so I’m trying to work with them to bring development to other areas of the county,” Blair said.

In Cortland and Bazetta, he said he’s worked on development at Mosquito Lake, which will receive a new marina with flush toilets, some retail, concession area and pavilion through $1.5 million from the state.

Also in that area, Blair said, he’s been working with Trumbull 100 on the prospect of a public-private partnership to locate a hotel and docks near the sled hill in Cortland. In nearby Vienna, there’s an effort underway to land a maintenance and repair facility for aircraft maintenance at the Youngstown-Warren Regional Airport.

In Newton Falls, there’s continued talks about how to take advantage of the busy state Route 5 corridor. Also there and in Brookfield, he’s trying to arrange affordable housing given the thousands of jobs that will be created in Lordstown at the General Motors / LG Chem electric vehicle battery-cell plant and the regional distribution center / warehouse for TJX Companies, Inc.

And there have been talks with local businesses and agriculture officials, he said, about locating a meat processing facility somewhere along the eastern border of Trumbull County. Meat processors were impacted by the viral outbreak causing shortages and now face a backlog of upward of year.

“If we can find a way to help our agriculture community with industry, I think we can provide some security for both sides,” Blair, 50, said.

Blair said he also wants to see a full repeal of House Bill 6, legislation that bails out Ohio’s two ailing nuclear power plants that’s now mired in controversy because of its ties to a public corruption probe and bribery scheme that reportedly involved former House Speaker Larry Householder.

Shortly after corruption charges were filed against Householder, Blair brought legislation to tackle public corruption.

His bill, if passed, would prevent anyone elected and facing felony public corruption charges from serving in the legislature. It also would require state legislators to repay Ohio any compensation after a conviction on felony public corruption charges.

Loychik, 31, of Cortland, has owned and operated Atlantic Pressure Washing Solutions LLC in Niles since 2016. Before that he served several years in the Air Force in Arizona and in England in the facilities and maintenance fields.

He did not respond to several calls and emails seeking comment, but did return a candidate questionnaire to this newspaper. In it, he briefly lists his three priorities: school safety, infrastructure improvements and police, firefighter and first responder funding and training.

The 63rd District consists of all of or parts of Bazetta, Brookfield, Cortland, Girard, Fowler, Hartford, Vernon, Hubbard city, Hubbard Township, Liberty, Lordstown, McDonald, Newton Falls, Newton Township, Niles, Vienna and Weathersfield.

The base pay for a state representative is $63,007 per year.

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