Taylor Sappington, candidate for state representative. Submitted photo.

(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Meigs Independent Press does not participate in advertising for or endorsing candidates. The submissions from candidates are a service to the voters and the people of Meigs County. Candidates were invited to write an open letter to the voters. It is published as submitted, unedited.)

For years, our politicians sure have talked good game. They love using our hills for back drops on mail. They can’t resist using our people and stories for tv ads. They are especially practiced at pulling on our emotions for our votes. Just look at the 2016 election. The entire year revolved around the issues and crises that working people and Appalachia face. But in the end, it was all shameless politicking. Even the well intended candidates have accomplished little to nothing.

In Columbus, we have campaign donors buying our politicians to pass laws that benefit themselves and hurt us. It has gotten so bad that the Ohio Speaker of the House may very well end up in jail for taking money and paid-for trips from lobbyist representing predatory lending companies. These companies prey shamelessly on thousands in these hills when they’re struggling to get new clothes for their kids or fighting medical debt collectors. But there’s nothing too low for our politicians these days.

Frankly, I am sick and tired of it all. That’s why I am running for the 94th House District. I was raised in the hills around Nelsonville in our little yellow trailer, but we knew we weren’t lower “class” just because we were lower income. Mom raised my brother and I to stay honest, work hard, and don’t ever give up for any reason. I took those lessons to City Hall, where I have served on Nelsonville City Council since 2015. Working hard with many groups and residents, we have went toe-to-toe with those who were holding progress back on the budget, street paving, and other important issues the city faced. I introduced and we passed by vote of 6-1, the city’s first balanced budget law. It forces Nelsonville to pass budgets that are in black. I am so grateful to the many who made 2017 the first year that the city’s balances increased instead of decreased. Despite crippling cuts and closures from the states, we came out ahead. We then promised new street paving and followed through. Not because any of us care about our re-elections, but because it was the right thing to do for the people.

As this campaign moves forward, I am hopeful to meet every single person in Meigs County. Everyday, I discuss the injustices committed against Appalachia and how I’ll fight every waking second in Columbus against those who commit them. I won’t relent until growing up in Pomeroy or Racine gives you the same opportunities as growing up in Columbus. Each and every single day, I’ll keep asking the questions I asked when I was considering running for this seat. Why are so many unable to see a doctor when they’re sick? Or if they do go, they’re broke and in debt? Why are our graduates struggling to find jobs? Why do our students have 50,000 in debt for an education? Why is it that so many are alone today because of this drug crisis? We deserve a fighter in the State House. And I will be relentless in the face of pressure and corruption. My mom didn’t quit when the disconnect notices and repossessors came during our time of struggle. And I won’t quit on you at the State House just because the going is tough. My name is Taylor Sappington and I’m asking you to stand tall in 2018 and join in our fight.