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Senate candidate rallies support from Valley parents

Staff photo / Lily Nickel Jane Timken addresses the audience during her Parents First event. From left are Timken, Ashley Davidson, Austintown Trustee Rob Santos, and Gabriel and Jacky Srock.

BERLIN CENTER — Just two days after becoming the first U.S. Senate candidate statewide to file formally for the ballot, Jane Timken made a visit to the Mahoning Valley to rally support from the target of her campaign — parents.

Timken, former chairwoman of the Ohio Republican Party, stopped at Ben’s Restaurant and Bar on Saturday afternoon as part of her statewide Parents First tour. Timken aims to open dialogue with parents during the tour about their concerns with the state of education, whether it be transparency issues, COVID-19 mandates or the possibility of critical race theory becoming part of curriculum.

“For me, this is about empowering parents. They’ve had enough of the vaccine mandates and school lockdowns and quarantines and the indoctrination of their children,” Timken said. “I’m standing up and empowering parents to speak out.”

A dozen attendees came to the event to ask questions and show their support for Timken, including Austintown Trustee Robert Santos and Mahoning County Commissioner candidate Geno DiFabio. Parent and Timken supporter Ashley Davidson, of Berlin Center, described Timken as a firecracker with an ear tuned in to the needs of the Valley.

“It truly sounds like someone who wants to hear what our little map dot has to say. We’re not just a drive-by; we actually have a voice,” Davidson said. “I mean, what is going on with the schools? With the curriculum, with the mandates, the masks — it’s just getting a little out of control and taking any kind of choice away from parents.”

Part of Timken’s initiative to empower parents is a “bill of rights” for parents, which she hopes to pass as part of her “Parents First” curriculum, in order to remove the government from decision-making that she feels should be left to parents.

The curriculum Timken hopes to implement includes defunding critical race theory, funding career development programs and abolishing or downsizing the Department of Education in order to return control to a local level.

Timken is self-described as “pro-Trump” and based her campaign on bringing back former president Donald Trump’s “America First” policy to create jobs, a strong immigration policy and a “renewed belief in American exceptionalism.” Timken is one of six major GOP candidates seeking to succeed retiring Sen. Rob Portman.

Former Ohio treasurer Josh Mandel currently is leading the polls in the highly contested race, and other candidates include J.D. Vance, U.S. Marine Corps veteran, venture capitalist and author of “Hillbilly Elegy”; Bernie Moreno, car dealership owner; Mike Gibbons, investment banker; and Ohio Sen. Matt Dolan, representative of the 24th district.

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