By Tonya Shipley
Zanesville Times Recorder
ZANESVILLE, Ohio - Terry Anderson is OK with the image most people have of him. It's the one of a man who was held hostage for nearly seven years by Islamic militants in Beirut, Lebanon.
But Anderson also wants people to see him as a qualified candidate for the Ohio Senate.
"I spent more than 20 years as a journalist, an observer of local, national and international politics and saw up close the terrible violence that happens when politics fail," he said. "Now I want to be a participant."
Terry Anderson, former journalist and Ohio University professor, announces his candidacy for the Ohio State Senate Monday.
Anderson, 56, filed to run for the 20th District seat Monday at the Muskingum County Board of Elections.
Jim Carnes is leaving the seat for a position with the Ohio Department of Natural Resources. Joy Padgett, director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia, is expected to be appointed to replace Carnes. The Republican filed to run for the position in her own right last week.
Anderson was the chief Middle East correspondent for the Associated Press when he was kidnapped in 1985. His captors were pro-Iranian Shiite Muslims who tried to obtain the release of terrorists who bombed U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait. He was released in 1991.
While Anderson said his experience as a hostage is important, he thinks other life experiences helped shape him into who he is today. Anderson, a Democrat, has been a Marine, a Vietnam vet, a journalist, a businessman and a college professor.
Anderson said he decided to run for an office because he believes the Republican-controlled Legislature and governor's office have not done enough for southeast Ohio.
"I have always had an interest in politics and I believe in the political system. I think it works. I am not a cynic," he said.
"The Democratic Party still does care, and so do I," he said.
The 20th District covers Muskingum, Coshocton, Noble, Guernsey, Athens, Morgan, Monroe, Meigs and Washington counties.
Ohio Senate Minority Leader Greg DiDonato joined Anderson on Monday to offer his support.
"I believe we have brought a very qualified candidate to the race," he said. "He's running because he believes he can make a difference."
The Republicans have controlled the state offices and failed to protect this area's interests for too long, DiDonato said. They have a large majority in both the Ohio House and Senate and control all the statewide elected offices.
"It seems like no one in Columbus pays attention to us," he said. "Terry Anderson will be heard."
Education, jobs and business development are top priorities for Anderson.
He thinks the Legislature was wrong not to fix the school funding system after it was declared unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court.
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