I Can’t Wait to Vote for Mark Welch: Sad to hear, Jennifer Gross has been a Never Trumper

After watching the debate performance at the West Chester Tea Party Candidate Forum between my pick for the 52nd House seat in Ohio Mark Welch, and his rival Jennifer Gross I was very impressed with both of their answers on the 2nd Amendment. I have known Mark for many years, before he ever ran for any office, so I know clearly where he stands on things and he has not been a disappointment. He’s had some temptations come his way as the West Chester Trustee who worked with George Lang to bring so much prosperity to the area and I know that I can trust him in Columbus where things get quite a bit more difficult. My comment to Jennifer was that I wish she wasn’t running against Mark because I’d love to vote for her for some other position. For me she was a bright spot of the evening and I enjoyed talking to her. Apparently, our paths have crossed in the past on projects and so talking to her after that event was a real pleasure. However, as an employer getting ready to vote for a new hire for an important House seat that means a great deal to our area, Mark is still my guy without question. And here are the reasons.

There is a lot of talk in this election about the establishment being some kind of maniacal force that must be overthrown, especially from Candice Keller. But I could write several books about all the work that has gone on behind the scenes with great leaders like George Lang, and Ann Becker to push out the RINO Republicans and build an Ohio Republican Party that is firm behind President Trump’s administration. That is why we recently had a big party for Trump in West Chester that drew a large crowd and Lara Trump herself came to Jungle Jim’s in Fairfield recently to help raise money for the Butler County GOP. Todd Hall as Chairman has done a great job in shaping the current GOP along with Sheriff Jones. I have done my fair share to help shape the kind of people we wanted in those positions and I am very proud of the result, of the people who are now office holders that would never have been if we didn’t start working to get real conservatives on the Central Committees. If there is anything really good that came out of the Tea Party movement, it was that, and the result is that we now have options at high office in the Statehouse like George Lang and Mark Welch, who were born out of the Tea Party movement and are now part of the Trump Administration as far as policy at the local level. So the establishment isn’t so bad anymore, I would say its actually quite good and I have no problem naming myself as a proud, Trump Republican.

In fact, I was never anything but a staunch Republican, no matter how much disagreement we may have had within the party, success does unite people in a great way and Mark Welch was there when it wasn’t cool, and he has done all the right things, and learned all the hard lessons to run that 52nd District seat wonderfully. But after checking out Jennifer’s background, I am not so sure about her yet. I’d need to see her vetted a bit before I’d vote for her in a key spot, something like a trustee seat, or even the school board. I really like her, she is a good personality and a sincere person, but her history as a Never Trumper concerns me greatly as indicated by some of her online postings shown within this article. I’m certainly never one to push away a potential friend or partner, even from former rivals. People learn things in their own way, and I am not rigid in accepting people who have seen the light into being part of a solution in the future. There were a lot of people who were Ted Cruz supporters in the last election that had a problem with Trump. There are of course the Ron Paul types whom I never was a blind supporter. I have never called myself a “libertarian.” I am a Republican in the purest form of it and likely always will be. But I don’t expect everyone to have those firm convictions.

That brings up my other issue with Jennifer, with all that said, she has made comments that she doesn’t associate with being a Republican which is a deal killer for me. It’s not just about party, but its about values. She obviously by some of her messages has some strong feelings about Mark Welch who is my friend because he has many of my shared values. Mark will clearly represent my Republican sentiments in Columbus the way I want to see. But since Jennifer doesn’t care much for Mark and obviously has stated that she no longer identifies as a “Republican” it breaks my heart to see that she’s not where I’d like her to be in life so I could give her a vote. Because I think she has the talent, certainly the charisma. But I’m not sure she can hold a note under pressure on the big stage. I’d need to see her support this current Republican Party and survive some pitfalls first. I understand that sentiments change and with success under Trump, things are much clearer than they were for people coming out of 2016. But I’ve always thought the same things and I know Mark Welch has too. He’s never been a different person. My experience with him is that he holds back a lot, he’s more a man of action than of talk so he doesn’t sell himself enough. But he’s relatively new to this political game himself. He started off as a trustee and has worked his way to where he’s now poised for a more complicated office. And its not about just straight up votes, its about team building for bill passage, and that means that you need to know how to work with the party in charge and not be some outcast that screws everything up. It’s a tough business and it takes a very likeable, and charismatic person deeply rooted in their own belief system to navigate the lobbyists, the pressures in the hall outside the chamber and the constant stream of negative emails because you didn’t vote this way or that. It always takes knowing how not to stumble over the media when they are trying to twist every word you say to play the gotcha game. I know Mark can play that game. Jennifer in my thoughts needs some practice.

When the smoke from this primary on March 17th is over, I hope to see more of Jennifer. I’d like to see her work herself into a party endorsement and to start building some bridges which is what a republic style of government requires. It wouldn’t take much to make me vote for her, just consistency and to fit into the team that has been building in Butler County in the GOP. While individualism is the key to representative government the passing of laws and the art of representation requires those extra team building skills, just as every corporate environment demands. Being a solid individual is needed to fend off the wolves who want to turn every politician into a corrupt specimen. But you must be able to win people over to your way of thinking in a republic and that isn’t easy under the best of circumstances. Its wonderful to say we should never have party politics, but in Columbus we have majorities and minorities and that is needed for all kinds of checks and balances, and that is the framework that anybody going for a State seat must navigate to do the good work that needs to be done. I can’t wait to vote for Mark Welch, he has worked hard and deserves it. And I look forward to getting behind Jennifer Gross at some future opportunity if such a chance presents itself.

Rich Hoffman