"I was born and raised right here in Coshocton. I know what our part of Central Ohio has been, but I also have a vision for our future. I want to work for you. I know what it takes to find solutions and get things done. Your Vote, Your Voice. I Work for YOU!"
Defense of the Constitution
You have my resolute pledge that I will uphold The Constitution of the United States and The Constitution of Ohio. Our rights are precious and I will fight relentlessly to retain them.
We need to cultivate an economic environment that protects small businesses, attracts manufacturing, continues supporting the farm and agricultural industry in Ohio. The farming and agricultural industry in Ohio contributes over $100 billion to our economy. 1/8th of people employed in the state work within that industry. It is imperative that we continue to support farming in Ohio. I also believe we have massive potential within our district to promote business ventures utilizing our vast wildlife resources. We should reach out to entrepreneurs who may be willing to work with state officials in helping develop public hunting lands and waterways.
It hasn't gone away. Our attention has just been diverted elsewhere. I have attended several conferences involving health care professionals, law enforcement, clergy, and those fighting addiction. The general concensus has been that we need to find solutions by working with the pillars of each community. Creating a forum of law enforcement, churches, therapists, and doctors could offer a unified front of support for affected families. Punishment alone hasn't worked. It's time to add another dimension to our approach.
Every child is entitled to a quality education. We can help by addressing and equitably rectifying school funding issues and investing in technology, which will be addressed in the last section. No child's future should be determined by their address, race, disability, or their parents income. With children facing more and more adversity in their lives each day, we need to afford access to mental health professionals to foster a pathway to becoming a healthy, happy adult. This can be accomplished by virtual psychiatry in the comfort of the child's own home, with the advancement of broadband internet. We also need to ensure that no student ever goes hungry. We need to continue the school breakfast and lunch assistance programs that are currently offered in Ohio. 1 in 5 children struggle with hunger in Ohio.
I believe this can tie everything together. We need high-speed broadband internet (25megs download/3megs upload) available to everyone in our district. Within the last several months this has become painfully evident. Many children found themselves without adequate internet service to finish their school year. It is absolutely unacceptable and we must remedy that. Our children deserve the best opportunity to succeed. Not only will educational opportunities flourish, employment opportunities will thrive as well. Expanding our digital infrastructure will attract new businesses, such as all walks of tele-health providers, call centers, and customer support agencies. It also
affords a greater opportunity for people to work remotely. In the long run, this will improve Educational, Occupational, and Recreational opportunities.
Candidate Q & A
Why are you running for this position?
I want to offer a viable, blue-collar option in this election and restore the 72nd District’s voice within Columbus. With the federal investigation and the restrictions placed upon the incumbent, we are not receiving the representation we are entitled to. I intend to eliminate the level of corruption that led to this fiasco and utilize my experience towards bettering the quality of life for the people of Ohio. Our representatives should be held to a higher standard and we deserve better than we’ve become accustomed to. I wish to become a true conduit of the people and I consider myself this election’s “Working Class Write-In” candidate.
What experience do you have for this position?
Served as a Union Steward at Kraft-Heinz many times over a 31 year career, mediating grievances.
Worked on many campaigns with The Feldman Foundation.
Ran for Coshocton City Council At-Large in a tight five-way race.
Currently serve on the Coshocton County bike path committee and the Coshocton Board of
Elected to and served on the Central Committee for the Libertarian Party of Ohio, representing the 7th Congressional District of Ohio.
Served as a State and National Delegate for the Libertarian Party.
What steps must be taken to ensure Ohio has fairly drawn state and congressional district boundaries in 2021?
I am inclined to look towards the Brennan Center's plan of an Independent Redistricting Commission, with full transparency and abundant opportunity for public input. The approach of 5 representatives from the majority party, 5 from the minor party, and 5 with affiliation from neither making up the committee appears even-handed and fair. I also feel it a necessity that these seats are filled by people who hold no current office within the State legislature, nor be a family member of anyone within that legislature. We had taken a step in the right direction with redistricting, but we still have a way to go. It is important to develop a committee that does not have strong ulterior motives to skew the lines of our districts.
What should be done with House Bill 6, the “nuclear bailout” legislation approved in July 2019 ?
I firmly believe that HB6 needs to be repealed and replaced with significantly different provisions. First and foremost, the public's trust was abused with the forcing through of this bill and the distribution of Dark Money. We also cannot allow corporations to continue to burden taxpayers through such efforts. I fail to understand how lowering efficiency requirements and saving two coal-burning power plants (one outside of Ohio) can be considered a "Clean Energy" bill. To add further insult to injury, I had to watch this debacle as the Conesville power plant's impending shut down took place in District 72. Where was the dedication to the constituents from the incumbent ? Why were those jobs allowed to fall to the wayside ? How does the school system operate with such a revenue loss ? Why was the same passion exuded to pass HB6 not applied here ? Yes, I'm angry. My friends and neighbors are struggling to recover and other people are tossing millions of dollars about. I'm quite angry.
Does Ohio’s current school-funding setup comply with the state constitutional requirement of providing a “thorough and efficient” education ?
The DeRolph case has been revisited several times by the Ohio Supreme Court and the method of funding deemed unconstitutional. We need to determine more equatable means of funding our schools. Far too many children are receiving an inadequate education. I believe HB 305 is a step in the right direction, as it is getting the ball rolling. The transportation funding being moved to a separate guarantee seems to be a good move, as it quite important to the 72nd District. However, I do question the funding calculations for Special Education (weighted from 2008 numbers), question why the studies on the economically disadvantaged are not completed, and question the elimination of the Agricultural tier of Targeted Assistance. HB 305 is a reasonable start towards giving Ohio's children the education they deserve. I look forward to contributing towards streamlining it and ensuring that the studies on economically disadvantaged students are completed.
What is the most important issue facing district ?
I believe it is the disconnect between Representation and Citizens.
I’ve found that most people I’ve spoken with feel extremely disconnected from their representatives. Many feel that they’ve been ignored and considered irrelevant. They are also feeling powerless, due to political corruption and the partisan wedges being driven between them.
I was particularly moved by many folks in the village of Shawnee. They told me “People just do not go south of the tracks, in New Lexington” and “I think politicians are scared to come here, or they don’t consider us important enough to visit”. This really troubled me. How can folks just be forgotten ? I was amazed at the appreciation shown by the people of Shawnee. They took extra signs and door-hangers to give to their friends. They said “We are just so excited to actually be able to participate !”. This is what drives me, as a working class citizen running for office. Seeing that hope light up in peoples eyes lets me know I’m making a difference.
My plan of action is to fight corruption, stay in communication with the district, and bridge the political divide by being a decent human being.
I intend to fight for campaign finance transparency. With the events that have unfolded surrounding the incumbent, it has become painfully obvious that reform is critically necessary. We absolutely cannot allow Dark Money Groups to operate in the manner that has created the fiasco with HB 6. The abuse of 501(c)(4) organizations by these groups and politicians is repulsive, at best. Whether a politician is donating to a social welfare group or not, it should all be included upon an official campaign fiance report. We cannot afford to allow such nefarious influences upon our State's Legislation. It must be wholesome and just.
I pledge to stay in contact with the public. Nobody in this district will be avoided or forgotten. I aim to be a true representative and all voices within the district are important. After being elected, I will maintain a social media presence and address people’s concerns when visiting communities.
I will attempt to mend the divide created by hyper-partisanship. First and foremost, we are neighbors. Ohioans have always been there for one another, especially in Perry, Coshocton, and Licking counties. It’s just a product of being farming communities that always rise to the occasion in overcoming adversity. However, it seems many have been swayed by the negative campaigning of many state and federal candidates. We’ve allowed that example to cast a shadow upon our district. This is not the fault of the citizenry. This is the fault of our leadership. I promise you, we can very easily return to the unified, independent, reliable culture we’ve always been. We are resilient and we will restore our district to it’s former glory.
Hyper-partisanship has often led to dysfunction in advancing productive legislation. I feel my affiliation gives me the unique opportunity to reach across to both sides of the aisle and find compromise that will lead to a brighter future for Ohioans. My obligation will not be to serve a political party or any corporation. I happily obligate myself to the citizens of Ohio’s 72nd District. I shall serve the people.
Why do you feel you’re the best person for the job ?
I have the integrity and experience necessary to become the voice of Ohio’s 72nd District.
I served many years as a Union Steward for Kraft which has enhanced my reasoning, listening and negotiating skills. I had also been elected as the Representative of the Libertarian Party of Ohio representing the 7th Congressional District and served on their Central Committee. These experiences have given me an in depth look into the workings of government, working with diverse groups of people, and fostering cooperation. My service as Social Media Director for the Feldman Foundation has taught me how to create excitement and encourage participation. I currently also serve on the Coshocton Board of Zoning Appeals and the Coshocton County Bike Path Committee.
The experience I feel that is most important in serving our district’s seat is that of serving as a State and National Delegate for the Libertarian Party. I helped craft bylaws and petitioned the other delegates on the floor for their input, cooperation, and votes. I find it to be incredibly relevant, as it is very similar to activity required to be productive on the Ohio House floor. I believe myself to be the only write-in candidate that can “hit the ground, running” for our people.
I also believe that I am the candidate that is most in touch with the people of the 72nd District. I’ve been a working class citizen for over 35 years. I’ve known what it’s like having to live paycheck to paycheck. You won’t see any elitist disconnect here. I will fight to improve the quality of life for everyone in Perry, Coshocton, and Licking counties. I am your neighbor and I pledge to restore your voice in Columbus. I will be there for you. You have my word.
Paid For By
Friends of Robert Leist
Deloris Leist, Treasurer