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Political newcomer Pircio challenging Patterson for state representative
Star Beacon - 10/30/2018
Oct. 29--Republican Michael Pircio is challenging incumbent John Patterson, D-Jefferson, for state representative of the 99th District seat.
"Basically it comes down to this, politicians are inefficient and our district is not being put first in Columbus," Pircio said. "I'm just like everyone else, I work sometimes 50-60 hours a week, I am a father and a husband. I am also a retired veteran. I know from my military experience how to cut through the B.S. and get to the real issues."
An Air Force veteran and a newcomer to politics, Pircio grew up in Willoughby and graduated in 2009 from Willoughby South High School at age 16, after he traveled to Italy with AFS Foreign Exchange Student program.
After spending a semester at the University of Akron, he joined the Air Force. After being medically retired as a staff sergeant from the Air Force, he graduated from Lake Erie College with a degree in Italian Studies. He also holds an associate degrees of applied science in Intelligence Studies and Technology from the Air Force, and a diploma of Russian Studies from the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center in Monterey, California.
Pircio works as a compliance auditor for a large regional bank, and he's worked in the financial sector for two years.
"Serving in the military you quickly understand how important your rights are when they are quite limited," he said. "For this very reason, I believe people, not the government, can best decide the way to govern themselves individually."
When it comes to state gun control laws, Pircio said he doesn't believe any more are needed and what gun control proponents are really talking about is "gun confiscation."
At a candidates' forum Oct. 24, he dismissed Patterson's list of legislative accomplishments, calling them "small" in scope.
"They are not the big things we need to talk about," he said. "We need better infrastructure in Ashtabula ... let's do big things."
Pircio's platform consists of four issues, infrastructure listed as No. 1.
"As part of setting the 99th District up for the future we need to focus on infrastructure as part of our overall plan of action," he said. "I would push for strengthening roads and delegate more funding for the airport."
"The mental health of our children is the most important aspect of our society that we have continually decided to neglect," he said. "We need to prepare parents and educators to look for signs of mental illness ... mental illness is no different than a physical illness and should not be treated as such."
"The current economic boom is fantastic and many jobs are available, however these jobs are quite far away -- I work 50 minutes from Chardon -- and even telecommute jobs are few and far between," he said. "We need to set up tax incentives that allow businesses and labor unions to hire and train employees for the jobs available."
He also wants to bring back apprenticeships after high school.
"While economic booms are nice, we need to give incentives to legacy Ohio businesses to grow and also incentivize Ohio to bring in out of state businesses in order for population growth to happen," he said. "Currently, more people are leaving the state than coming into the state and that has to do with well-paying jobs."
Pircio believes at the heart in every American, especially those from Northeast Ohio, are age-old American values of hard work, sweat equity, general compassion and individuality.
"In six years we've paid someone a lot of money to do very little," he said. "Let's put someone in who has the best interest of the people at heart, because I'm not a politician but just like you."
Pircio and his wife, Alexa, have 3-year-old daughter, Stella.
Democrat John Patterson, a retired school teacher from Jefferson, won election to the 99th District in 2012 and won re-election in 2014. He's running for re-election to "continue and complete the many initiatives I have set in motion," he said.
Patterson boasts a long list of legislation accomplishments, including the school resource officer bill that brought funding to county school districts, efforts to work with Republicans to fix the school funding formula, legislation to help with dredging in the Ashtabula Harbor, cleaning up water quality issues in Lake Erie and clearing the way for out-of-state medical licenses at the Remote Access Medical Clinic held at Ashtabula Towne Square earlier this year.
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