LISBON — There are four Democrats vying for their party’s candidacy for the sixth U.S. congressional district seat currently held by U.S. Representative Bill Johnson, R-Marietta.
Only two of the four responded to multiple interview requests with the newspaper – Eric S. Jones of Austintown and Louis G. Lyras of Campbell. The other two names that will be on the ballot on May 3 are Martin Alexander of Boardman and Shawna Roberts of Belmont.
Eric S. Jones
Jones operates on a platform of putting the middle class first.
While big companies like Amazon apparently haven’t paid taxes for the past three or four years, Jones said people are working like crazy and paying extra taxes because of it. He is in favor of making only the first 40 hours of a person’s work taxable and making the extra money people make by working overtime tax exempt.
“People like my dad who work 50 hours a week, they’re put in a new tax bracket,” said Jones. “We have to reward hard work in this country.”
He would also like there to be no double taxation on social security. He points out that workers paid taxes on their money the first time, when they earned it, and wonders why additional taxes should be paid after retirement.
Additionally, it would change programs such as the Fallout Elimination Provision and Government Pension Offset, which reduce the amount of Social Security retirees if they worked for the state or local government. Jones said public servants like teachers, police officers and firefighters and their spouses shouldn’t lose the benefits they’ve earned.
Jones would also like to see student loans repaid only to the loan amount without interest. He believes that with the majority of students taking federal loans, the federal government should forgive the interest on those loans. Jones said the plan would put money back in the pockets of recent graduates and allow them to start buying homes sooner and spending more money, which helps the economy. Jones said a college education should not just be an investment in the student, but a public investment in the future.
If elected to Congress, Jones proposes creating term limits and banning members of Congress from investing in stocks. He wouldn’t eliminate bond investing because he said it still encourages Congress to do its best for the economy as a whole. Moreover, it would prohibit members of Congress from later serving as lobbyists for special interests.
Jones doesn’t believe trickle-down economics works, saying just because the boss gets a tax break doesn’t convince him to split the money. Instead, he believes the tax cuts should benefit the middle class, who will spend the money.
Finally, he would like to see more green energy investment in Ohio, allowing the United States to compete with China and Germany, both of which are investing heavily in green energy technology. As an example, Jones refers to China’s investments in new, safer nuclear technology. He would like to see a push for green energy and other products to be made in America, noting that American experts can outshine the rest of the world.
“I am not a career politician” said Jones. “I’m an ordinary guy racing for ordinary people. I don’t care if you’re Republican, Independent or Democrat, I’m trying to uplift all Americans.
Jones, who majored in history and political science and earned a master’s degree from Youngstown State University in computer information systems, said he would bring everyone’s concerns with him to the convention. Jones said he has both Democrats and Republicans in his family and was ready to walk down the aisle. He doesn’t take disagreements personally.
Louis G. Lyras
Lyras started a business painting bridges, factories, and power plants on the Ohio River and co-owns the Penguin City Beer Company. For his platform, he presents a list of what he calls “Kitchen Problems” which he says makes sense to locals.
During his years as a businessman, Lyras said he worked with unionized employees, changed his industry with new technologies and safety measures, and traveled to other industrialized countries like China.
He wants to see American taxpayers’ money flow back into downtown areas, bringing people and businesses downtown instead of seeing them migrate outside.
“I’ve always been a believer that we can’t let big cities die and we can’t let beautiful farmland become developments while cities fall into disrepair,” Lyras said.
In addition, he favors schools offering more courses in civics, basic accounting and trades. He questions the schools’ push to build new high schools when he believes so many of them need to be consolidated with other schools. That way, instead of many schools graduating only 30 people, the largest school could offer more students, including trades courses.
Lyras would also like to see the consolidation of county and city departments, combining taxpayer dollars for larger police and fire departments that span multiple cities in the same region or county.
Lyras expressed concern about the recent rise in inflation, but feels it is important that we do not try to fight inflation by lowering employee wages. Instead, it supports lowering the cost of goods and services by government and business.
At 71 and in good health, Lyras said he believes he has the business skills and life experiences to beat someone like Johnson in the November election. Lyras said he would favor term limits with three or four terms in the House and no more than three terms in the Senate.
“I’m not doing this because I’m going to retire on this”, said Lyras, adding that it would cost him more than he would earn. “I sincerely feel that I have to give back.”
He supports women’s right to choose, the idea that gender cannot be defined as just male or female, and the rights of workers to unionise.
Although in 2018 he failed to obtain the signatures required to run as an independent and the last time he ran for the office he ran as a Republican, Lyras said that he didn’t like what happened in 2020, and especially January 6, and has decided to run now as a Democrat.
“I’ve always been like this” Lyras said, adding that he liked that as a Democrat he was free to express all his opinions. “I think tax issues are important. We have to move things forward. »
He would like to see energy independence in the county involving more than just developing or using more fossil fuels, including nuclear, wind, solar and new technologies in electric vehicles.
Lyras said lawmakers need to realize things are too partisan now and they need to work together and compromise when they can.