Michael D. Pitman, Staff Writer
Former Statehouse candidate Kathy Wyenandt announced Friday in front of the Butler County Historic Courthouse she will run for Ohio Senate, and her message will mirror her 2018 Statehouse campaign message: “people over politics.”
Wyenandt, of Liberty Twp., had the best showing among the three Democratic Statehouse candidates last November and the best showing for a Democrat seeking the 52nd House seat since redistricting following the 2010 Census.
“Public servants ought to be problem-solvers first, instead of loyalists to any party or special interest,” she said. “They ought to be rational. They ought to be leaders and bring people together instead of divide folks. Words matter, especially in today’s climate.”
Wyenandt is projected to be unopposed in the Democratic primary and will face the winner of the three-way GOP nomination race between Ohio Reps. Candice Keller, of Middletown, and
George Lang, of West Chester Twp., and West Chester Twp. Trustee Lee Wong. She is seeking Ohio’s 4th Senate District seat, currently occupied by Sen. Bill Coley, R-Liberty Twp., who is term limited.
In 2018, Wyenandt campaigned heavily on the importance of education and education finance reform. She’ll continue that, saying “Every kid deserves a quality education no matter their zip code.”
However, she said the GOP majority in Columbus seems to want “to put the needs of their donors and special interest, and frankly their political party, over the needs of families.”
She said lawmakers aren’t focused on bills like House Bill 305, the bipartisan bill that will address school funding. It hasn’t received a hearing in the House Finance committee since it was referred there in June.
“We’ve been so focused on extreme legislation that we haven’t been focusing on things that matter most for people here in Ohio,” Wyenandt said. Two examples she gave were the Human Rights and Heartbeat Protection Act not including abortion exceptions for rape or incest, and expanded gun rights allowing conceal-carry of weapons into daycares.
For her 2020 Senate campaign, Wyenandt is expanding on supporting families.
“I think every family deserves to feel safe in their neighborhoods, and that’s really important these days,” she said. “I think the economy ought to work for everyone. If you work hard, you ought to be able to get ahead.”
She also wants to ensure Ohioans are healthy, saying the state needs “to protect and expand access to affordable health care.”
Wyenandt has been involved for years in the county, twice as the Butler County Democratic Party Central Committee chair and until her Statehouse run a Butler County Board of Elections board member. She was also involved in the 2013 Lakota school levy campaign, which narrowly passed.
Wyenandt said she plans “to be in George’s ballpark” when it comes to how much she intends to raise. She raised nearly $200,000 in her 2018 Statehouse bid, according to campaign finance reports. She enters the Senate race with $16,200 in her coffers, according to reports.
“We know we got to raise quite a bit,” she said. “We know we have a very aggressive plan and strategy for that. I don’t think any candidate loves fundraising but we know we all have to do it.”