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CANDIDATE QUESTIONNAIRE | Gil Blair, candidate for Ohio House District 63

Gil Blair, candidate for Ohio House District 63, has answered Mahoning Matters' questions about his campaign and platform.
Ohio Rep. Gil Blair, D-63rd House district (Image Provided)

Mahoning Matters reached out to candidates running for local office with a standard list of questions aimed at helping voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. Each campaign's response will be published in the Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana County Voter Guide as it is received and all responses are subject to minimal editing for clarity and/or length. Mahoning Matters does not endorse any candidate.

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Candidate Name: Gil Blair
Office Sought: State Representative, 63rd District
Candidate's Party Affiliation: Democratic
Candidate's City of Residence: Niles

Candidate Biography:

A lifelong resident of Ohio's 63rd House district, state Rep. Gil Blair understands the importance of hard work and community values to working people and families in the Mahoning Valley. Rep. Blair joined the Ohio House after the closure of GM Lordstown left hundreds of valley workers and their families without jobs. He knows what a good-paying job means to a family and a community, which is why he is eager to bring his decades-long experience to Columbus to bring good-paying jobs back to the Valley. Rep. Blair believes in the dignity of work, the idea that we're stronger when we stand with working people. His people-first priorities -- expanding economic opportunity, growing jobs and building an economy that works for everyone, not just those at the top -- are critically important to moving Ohio forward and delivering on our promise as an opportunity state. A seasoned attorney and municipal court prosecutor, Rep. Blair plans to work together on bipartisan ways to reform the state's criminal justice system, so that every Ohioan has the chance for a better life and a brighter future. Rep. Blair previously served eight years as a Weathersfield Township trustee and five years as a municipal court prosecutor for the City of Warren, where he saw firsthand the impact of cuts to local government funding and the importance of criminal justice and drug sentencing reform. Rep. Blair earned his BA and JD from the University of Akron and currently operates a private law practice. His daughter Meredith attends Kent State University main campus.. His son Gil and daughter Megan attend Weathersfield Local Schools.


Candidate Questionnaire


1. What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?

1. I have practiced law for 25 years.
2. I served eight years as a township trustee, serving part of that time as chairman.
3. I have served 1.5 years as the state representative.
4. I have experience as a small business owner.
5. I spent ten years of my legal career as in-house counsel for a Fortune 500 company.


2. If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?

1. Promote economic development across the 63rd District.
2. Promote legislation that makes necessary medications affordable and prevents exclusion from health insurance coverage based upon pre-existing conditions. 3. Focus on children: effective education funding legislation, early identification of impediments to learning, and establishing a framework for family support services for low to moderate wage-earning families.


3. What do you feel will be the top issue facing this office over the next term? How would you focus your efforts to tackle it?

Keeping economic development projects on track as we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. It is imperative that we keep our existing businesses open and be sure that the new jobs are ready to begin as we come out of the crisis.


4. What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?

Keeping economic development projects on track as we navigate the Covid-19 pandemic. It is imperative that we keep our existing businesses open and be sure that the new jobs are ready to begin as we come out of the crisis.


5. What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?

I am working to stand against public corruption at the state and local levels. There is no place for self-dealing in elective or public office. If I could make that change, I would do it immediately.


6. Are you satisfied with Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?

I am satisfied with Ohio's response to Covid-19, and I am especially proud of the work done by the Trumbull County Health Department, county first responders (EOC), and our local medical facilities. Their hard work and preparation saved many lives. We must now work to be sure that we are able to quickly capitalize on scientific advances and get them to our residents as quickly as possible.


7. The state is expected to make cuts in its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?

I am carefully reviewing the state's budget. I understand that cuts will be necessary, but we must have necessary resources to defeat the Covid-19 virus. Unfortunately, there will be an increased need for services related to medical services, seniors, unemployment, and small business. Furthermore, we must be able to meet the needs in education.

8. What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Ohioans who may be voting for the first time?

Many first-time voters are focused on the availability of good-paying jobs in Ohio when they complete their education. We need to be sure that we secure those good-paying jobs and keep those voters here.


9. Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that has diminished respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?

The rhetoric and mass labeling of candidates is frustrating. Candidates should run on issues related to their race, not try to attach radical views to their opponent. I have pledged that any statement I make about my opponent will be accurate.


10. Who is your hero, and why?

George Washington -- He always put the people before his own self-interests.