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Kripchak’s desire to get things done earns support

When you dive into the two candidates running in the Democratic primary for U.S. representative of the heavily Republican 6th Congressional District, you won’t find much political experience.

Rylan Finzer of Bedford Heights, who founded and runs Finzer’s Finest, a cannabis apothecary brand, ran for Perry Township trustee in 2019 and came in a distant last. Finzer also ran unopposed for a Stark County Democratic Party central committee seat, but he gave up that seat when he moved from Stark County to Bedford Heights.

Michael Kripchak, a prep cook and food runner for a restaurant in Columbiana, attempted to run for the congressional seat two years ago, but had his candidacy denied by the Mahoning County Board of Elections due to problems with his nominating petitions.

Despite their lack of experience, both candidates believe they can “flip the 6th blue in June,” and we commend them for that effort in a district that is historically favored toward Republicans.

There is no incumbent in the race. The seat became vacant when Bill Johnson stepped down to become president of Youngstown State University.

If elected to Congress, Kripchak said his primary goals would be to create high-skilled and high-paying jobs in the district, along with improving the public education system by having students learn basic skills they can use in everyday life and participating in community service work. He also wants to improve the federal farm bill by using technology that can help maintain farmers’ sustainability, particularly regarding fertilizer use.

Finzer would like to protect and defend Social Security and Medicare benefits, along with bringing high-paying jobs. He also said he would plan to introduce a bill that cracks down on the federal oversight of running charter schools.

Given the financial challenge that awaits whoever makes it past the primary — both suggested they would need to raise at least $1 million to compete in the general election and neither had raised north of $5,000 at the time of their endorsement interviews with this newspaper’s editorial board — having a determination to get things done, and doing whatever it takes to do so, is an important attribute to have in this race.

It’s going to be an uphill battle, and we believe Kripchak has both the determination and motivation to do what’s best for the 6th District if he were to be elected.

The 42-year-old, who served in the U.S. Air Force for three years and has worked in several other industries, was criticized by Finzer for failing to properly file his nominating petitions in 2022, along with not necessarily knowing how the Democrat party works because he didn’t know about a position that Finzer had held.

While understanding the criticism, Kripchak said he’s more focused on getting things accomplished in Congress and bettering the country than understanding how his party works.

“My focus is on getting into Congress, being in Congress and solving problems there while understanding that this all goes beyond party,” Kripchak said.

Given his willingness to work on both sides of the aisle, and understanding that is what it may take to get things done, we fully support Kripchak with our endorsement.

While Finzer presented a few creative ideas, such as leveraging Ohio’s water resources and access to infrastructure, imploring today’s youth to become involved with government and creating new energy sector jobs, we feel his approach and reasoning for running may be too one-sided. Finzer seemed more focused on “choosing real Democrats” to represent the party than getting things done for the district.

Kripchak understands that playing politics is necessary in government, but is determined to talk to people to figure out the problems, assess what needs to be done and implement solutions.

Being able to work with both sides and having a determination to improve the district in a multitude of ways, we believe Kripchak is the best choice in the Democratic race for the 6th U.S. Congressional District.

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