Friday, November 12, 1999

Deerfield trustee to run for state seat

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        DEERFIELD TWP. — Trustees President Thomas Raga ended months of speculation Thursday when he announced plans to seek the Republican Party nomination for 2nd District state representative next year.

        Mr. Raga, 34, wants to take over the House seat held by Rep. George Terwilleger, R-Hamilton Township. Mr. Terwilleger cannot run again in 2000 because of term limits.

        “I have been encouraged to run by a number of citizens throughout Warren County,” Mr. Raga said Thursday. “People who know me and know of my background and interest in public service believe that I possess the qualifications needed to be a positive voice for Warren County in the legislature.”

        Clearcreek Township Trustee Ed Wade also is poised to run for the GOP's nomination in the May primary. However, he has not officially declared his candidacy.

A lot of shoes to fill
        Ohio's 2nd District includes all of Warren County, which is heavily Republican. Mr. Raga acknowledged that whoever wins the GOP's nomination will have some “mighty big shoes to fill.”

        “It is going to be an enormous responsibility to take over for George because he's done so much for this area and the state,” he said. “Then again, with term limits and the tremendous turnover, it is going to be a greater responsibility to fill the entire General Assembly with quality people.”

        Most General Assembly members — including the majority of Cincinnati-area legislators — will be ineligible to run for re-election next year. In Southwest Ohio, nine of 13 hio House seats will be open.

        Mr. Raga said that as Warren County's representative, he would concentrate on issues affecting economic development, transportation, education, family values and local control. He said state spending and taxing policies also would be high priorities.

        “Ohio citizens and businesses are burdened with some of the highest taxes in the nation,” Mr. Raga said. “As (state representative), I will work to eliminate government waste, shrink the size of the state bureaucracy and reduce taxes. Unless Ohio really attacks the issue of high taxes and spending, the future economic vitality of Ohio could be endangered.”

A political newcomer
        A Madeira native and graduate of Moeller High School in Cincinnati, Mr. Raga received a bachelor's degree from Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. He entered the political arena at age 31, earning his first political victory in 1997 by defeating 19-year incumbent Bob Carter for a term as Deerfield Township trustee.

        As a trustee, Mr. Raga oversees one of Warren County's fastest growing communities. He has been instrumental in helping the township purchase and develop more than 200 acres of parkland and build a reputation as an attractive location for business and economic development.

        “I think Tom is a bright young, personable guy,” said Deerfield Township Trustee Larry Backus. “He works hard at being a good representative of the people, and I'm sure that type of talent will be a very good thing for our district.”

        Mr. Raga is a general manager for Copart Inc. in Columbus. He and his wife, Jean, live in Deerfield Township with their children, Colleen, 7, and Rick, 22 months. He is chairman of the Young Republican Club of Warren County and executive committee member of the county Republican Party.


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