Currently serving fourth term in the Ohio House of Representatives. Served as an election official with the Franklin County Board of Elections. Served as a law clerk for the Ohio Secretary of State and the Ohio Senate.
BA from Wesleyan University JD from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law
Ohioans see a system where the levers of accountability are broken, where self-serving politicians rig the system against everyday Ohioans, special interests exert too much power and our ability to access the ballot box is in question. Business as usual, which has silenced voters and ushered in an era of unprecedented scandal and corruption, needs to change. I want to bring fresh, new leadership to the Secretary of State’s office. We need to bring fair districts back to our state, secure our elections and shine a light on the secret money influencing our politics. We also need to ensure that every eligible Ohioan has the opportunity to have their voice heard and their vote counted. We need to get back to having a system that holds politicians accountable and puts people first.
The integrity of our democracy is being challenged, from rigged districts and cyber threats to dark money pouring in to influence the outcome of our elections. I have a comprehensive plan to ensure our elections are fair, secure and transparent. Ohio is a diverse state and our districts should reflect that. I’m committed to fair districts and have introduced a plan to ensure our map-making process is open and transparent. Second, I announced a comprehensive cybersecurity plan nearly a year ago in the wake of reports that our election systems were targeted by hackers. Under my plan, Ohio counties would move to secure, voter-marked, voter-verified paper ballots, our machines would be subject to regular post-election audits and a full-time cybersecurity director, who would work with a bipartisan team of public and private sector security experts, would be added to the Secretary’s office. Finally, I would increase transparency for LLCs and corporations who spend millions in secret, dark money to influence our elections. We need to open up our campaign reporting system to see where this money is coming from. I’m the only candidate with a plan to do that.
I’ll follow the guidelines set up under Ohio law to remove ineligible voters from the rolls. I will also end our aggressive, optional purge of infrequent eligible voters and work to enact Automatic Voter Registration, which would help keep our rolls up-to-date by modernizing the office and encouraging data sharing between state agencies. This would be more efficient than the costly system we have in place now and actually keep our rolls better maintained for less cost.
I will overhaul the system, working to modernize Ohio’s outdated campaign finance database to make it easier to search and more user friendly. I will work to enact commonsense reforms to open up reporting requirements so that corporations and LLCs, who currently spend millions in secret, dark money to influence elections, have to disclose where their money is coming from. I’ll also strengthen bans on foreign spending in our elections.
In non-presidential years, we’ve seen low voter turnout, and as Secretary of State, part of my job will be to get voters of every party out to vote each year because our democracy is strongest when citizens are engaged in the political process. That means doing things like mailing absentee voter applications to voters, enacting Automatic Voter Registration to ensure every eligible voter’s information is up-to-date, engaging our young people to get involved and modernizing the office to make voting more accessible for Ohio voters.
If given the authority, I will mail absentee ballots to every voter, including those caught up in Ohio’s aggressive supplemental purge process because we need to encourage infrequent voters to participate, not freeze them out of the process. We also need to look into our early vote centers, as we’ve seen long lines in recent years in our larger counties, especially on weekends before the election. Early voting was implemented as a response to hour-long waits at the polls in 2004. We need to constantly be evaluating our system to see what makes sense for voters in each of our counties.
We as Ohioans have a real choice this November, to continue on our current path or to choose a new generation of leadership that puts people before politics and the rights of voters before special interests. I’m uniquely qualified for this job. I represent a swing district and have had to work with people on both sides of the aisle to get things done. I’m an election law attorney and I worked at the Secretary of State’s office, served as a county election official and am the ranking Ohio House member on committees that have debated these issues. But most importantly, I’m an Ohioan that’s seen firsthand the consequences of a system rigged against everyday people. I’m running to change that.
WORK EXPERIENCE: U.S. Army, 101st Airborne (1997-2001), U.S. Army Special Forces, Green Berets (2001-2007), State Senator for 27th District (2010-Present)
AWARDS (U.S. Army):
Army Commendation Medal (2x),
Army Achievement Medal (5x),
Combat Infantryman Badge,
Expert Marksmanship Award,
Air Assault Wings,
Special Forces Tab,
AWARDS (STATE SENATE):
"Legislator of the Year," Ohio Association of Elections Officials (2016),
National "Rising Star," Millennial Action Project (2018),
“12 State Legislators to Watch,” Governing Magazine (2014),
Rodel Fellowship in Public Leadership, The Aspen Institute (2018),
Small Business Advocate, Council of Smaller Enterprises (2014),
Legislator of the Year Award, AMVETS
Award for Legislative Excellence, Ohio National Guard Association,
Watchdog of the Treasury Award, United Conservatives of Ohio (Multiple Years),
“30 for the Future,” Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce (2015),
History Leadership Award, Ohio History Connection,
Leadership Award, Israeli Leadership Institute (2015),
Bowhay Institute for Legislative Leadership Develop. Program, Council of State Governments,
Public Servant Award, Ohio Environment Council (2012),
CIVIC AND CHARITABLE:
Copley/Fairlawn Veterans of Foreign Wars, Jr. Vice Commander (2009-Current),
Ohio History Connection, Board Member (2011-Current),
Boy Scouts of America Great Trail Council, Executive Board Member (2009-Current),
Northern Ohio Italian American Foundation, Board Member (2009-2014)
Ohio State University (2004-2008), Bachelor’s Degree in Consumer Affairs & Business
At eighteen, when I began my decade of service in the U.S. Army, I took an oath to defend the Constitution. This oath was a lifelong commitment. While serving overseas I had the opportunity to see people risk their lives to vote for the first time, and this made a profound impact on me. When I came back home I decided to run for State Senate to continue my service, and when I took office some of the first things I tackled were making it easier for men and women in uniform to cast a ballot and reforming the redistricting process. This started me down a track that led to me becoming the go-to legislator on elections issues. Since then, I have sponsored numerous bills to help modernize our elections system and encourage participation. Some of these bills include funding to replace aging voting machines, bringing online voter registration to Ohio, and working with the Ohio National Guard to protect our elections systems through increased cyber security.
The Secretary of State’s office is also the front door for all new Ohio businesses. I have a record of helping reduce burdensome regulations, balancing budgets, and creating an environment for job creation so our families can thrive.
I’m running for this office to continue my service and make Ohio the best it can be. I’m passionate about civic engagement, elections, and helping create a thriving economy which leaves no Ohioan behind. We want a Secretary of State who embodies civility and servant-leadership -- someone who is committed to working for all Ohioans, not just one political party. That is clearly my record. I will conduct secure, fair and accessible elections for all Ohioans and help create an environment where entrepreneurs can prosper so our families can thrive.
When elected, I plan to continue to push the office forward on improving our elections systems and attracting new companies to Ohio. My key goals will be:
Modernizing the Office -- In 2015, I introduced legislation to create secure online voter registration. I’ve also worked to make it easier to request an absentee ballot by putting that process online. We can continue to take advantage of opportunities offered by technology to make it easier to get registered and vote. This includes passing my automated voter registration bill. Additionally, voters deserve to know who funds our political campaigns, so I’ll continue fighting for greater transparency, as I have in the past.
Keeping Elections Secure -- We must be vigilant about securing our elections from evolving threats. I passed a bill with near-unanimous support that helps us update our aging voting equipment. I’ve also introduced legislation to require sophisticated “risk limiting audits” to ensure we weren’t compromised. We need to continue identifying best practices and working with the legislature to ensure we are protected from attacks -- and to communicate with voters so they know they can trust the outcome of an election.
Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Supporting Small Business: As a State Senator, I’ve authored legislation that eliminated outdated, burdensome regulations and streamlined the relationship between state government and small business owners. I also co-sponsored and shepherded legislation to reduce business filing fees by 21%. As Secretary of State, I’ll continue working with the legislature in a bipartisan fashion to make the office welcoming and supportive for entrepreneurs. As the front door for new business in Ohio, I’ll be the advocate for entrepreneurship. We must create a culture among public-sector leaders that encourages small business.
Ohio law requires the Secretary of State to maintain accurate voter rolls. We also have a responsibility to ensure we aren't removing eligible voters. Every Secretary of State for nearly the last twenty years has followed a similar process for maintaining the rolls, but I believe we can do better.
First, we should encourage participation so voters don’t go years without voting. Competitive elections are one of the clearest ways to increase participation, which is why I’m passionate about redistricting reform. We can also do more to educate voters, especially young voters, so they understand the importance of participating.
Finally, we should make it easier for eligible citizens to get and stay registered, and keep their registration up-to-date. My online voter registration bill does this. I’m also working on a bill to implement automated voter registration which creates convenient automated opportunities for people to register or update their information when they interface with various entities of state government.
The system we currently have dates back to 1999 and is in need of a major modernization to make it more user friendly and transparent. Additionally, I would work with the Ohio legislature to modernize the campaign finance filing process for all local candidates so that they would also file all of their campaign finance reports online, similar to state-level candidates. Currently, local candidates are required to file their finance reports on paper to their local board of elections. By changing our system to allow local candidates to file their reports online, their would be an increased ease and transparency for anyone interested in searching these finance reports.
Over my time in the legislature I have worked on improving the absentee voting process with a clear focus on voter convenience and increasing participation. As Secretary of State this would continue to be a priority for me. Recently, I introduced a bill to require the state to pre-pay postage for returning absentee ballots. This relatively small cost to the state would eliminate yet another barrier to the absentee voting process. Additionally, I have introduced legislation to modernize absentee voting by allowing people to request their ballots online. This would be a more efficient and faster process and would not only help voters but also county boards of elections who could process the requests faster and more efficiently.
When elected, I plan to continue the program of sending all registered voters an absentee ballot request, as the Secretary’s office has done for years. Additionally, I support and would continue to encourage weekend and Sunday voting hours to provide the opportunity for all Ohioans to get to the polls if they are unable to vote on Election Day. Ohio has 28 days of early voting, which makes it a leader in our nation. I am proud of the fact that we have made voting easy and accessible.
Yes. I plan to continue to send absentee applications to all registered Ohio voters.
Today it's easier than ever to vote in Ohio, but it can still be intimidating -- especially for first-time voters. We need to prioritize outreach to minority communities and youth so they understand the process and are familiar with the equipment. We also need to make sure they understand that every vote counts. This will be a key priority for me as Secretary of State, and I intend to work hand-in-hand with groups and individuals around the state to accomplish it.
While access and convenience have improved, we haven't seen a corresponding increase in overall turnout. One of the clearest ways of increasing participation is through competitive elections. That's one of the reasons I have championed redistricting reform since my earliest days in office. Voters should be choosing their leaders; politicians should NOT be choosing their voters. Both parties in the past have tried to give themselves an advantage by drawing creative and non-competitive districts and this process must end. Ohio voters took an important step when they recently passed redistricting reform, which I was vocal about in supporting, but ending the practice will still rely on leaders faithfully executing the law. This will be my mission.
My background and experience makes me unique on the statewide ballot this year. I'm the only veteran running statewide, and my military experience has taught me a lot about putting the mission first. I’ve worked hard on issues related to elections and growing our economy, and I’ve always worked to do it in a bipartisan way. In contrast to my opponent, I have a demonstrated record of working across the aisle to get things done.
I also have a clear vision for taking this office to the next level for Ohioans. I’m honored to have a diverse base of support from business and labor groups, and from individuals across the state who believe we can accomplish more by working together. Ultimately, voters don’t want a partisan activist as their next Secretary of State. They want someone who will faithfully execute the law, put service over self and keep our elections fair, secure, and accessible.
The opportunity to serve as Ohio's next Secretary of State would be an honor that I would not take lightly. If you choose me for this important job, I’ll work hard to make you proud.
I have extensive knowledge of and experience working with the Ohio Revised Code. I also have firsthand experience petitioning for multiple petition drives and have always been heavily involved in the electoral process.
Graduate of Rutherford B. Hayes High School
I am seeking to be elected as Ohio's next Secretary of State, because I believe I can bring a fresh, fair, and balanced approach to the office. I am beholden to no Party bosses and no special interests. When I am elected I will do the bidding of the people of Ohio. For far too long politicians have used this office to fight each other instead of for the people. I intend to use the office as a bully pulpit for the people's right to vote.
I think the three biggest issues facing the office are partisanship, how to keep Ohio's rolls clean, and how to increase voter participation at a time when it seems to be declining.
I would not continue the current practice of doing so by sending letters to inactive voters. I believe we can increase voter participation and help keep rolls clean with an automatic voter registration/update system. What I mean by this is that when you give the State enough information to register you during any process, you should subsequently be registered to vote. Voting should be an easy and simple process for all eligible Ohio citizens and I believe this action will help make that a reality. I think this can add tens and tens of thousands of new eligible voters to the rolls and I think it can be done securely and efficiently. Another way we can find voters who have moved out of State specifically is to incorporate the National Change of Address datatbase into our own. This way when John Doe moves from Dayton, Ohio to Lexington, Kentucky we will know.
Campaign finance transparency is extremely important for a healthy Representative Democracy. My background is not in IT, but I would want to consult with people who do have a background in it on how to make the State finance website more easy to browse. Right now its very clunky and unpretty. It should have clear easy to read directions and multiple search methods.
Ohio is one of the leading States in early voting. This is a great thing. I would like to see early voting expanded to include weekends and specifically include the Sunday before Election Day. Ohio is ahead of the curve in how we handle absentee voting as well. Mailing an application to every registered voter is a great way to try and keep folks engaged.
I will definitely continue sending applications to every registered voter. This has been a great success for Ohio and should be expanded upon by including postage in the application as well. Other ways to include voter participation would be my proposed automatic voter registration system and my proposal of having polls open all day Sunday before Election Day.
Candidate response is not yet available.