A fifth candidate for the 81st House District seat vacated by State Representative Rob McColley has thrown his hat into the ring.
Christopher Meyer, founder and director of West Ohio Pediatrics at the Fulton County Health Center, submitted his application for the position by the Dec. 15 deadline. He is among five contenders for the office, including former Napoleon mayor Steve Lankenau, Village of Leipsic Administrator Justin Barnhart, former state representative Jim Hoops, and Putnam County Republican Chair Tom Liebrecht.
The 81st House District includes the southeastern portion of Fulton County.
McColley was named by a Senate committee Dec. 5 to replace District 1 Senator Cliff Hite. Hite resigned from the office after admitting to inappropriate behavior toward a state worker and citing health issues.
Meyer, 38, of rural Hamler, graduated from Beavercreek High School just outside of Dayton. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Biology from Ohio Northern University, and a medical doctorate from Wright State University.
After earning his degrees, Meyer served as a doctor with the 101st Airborne at Fort Campbell in Kentucky from 2004-11.
He is new to public office, but said his love for small communities and their families is a great motivator to help them. “I’m interested in preserving small businesses and the farm community. That’s a big part of what our area is,” he said.
Meyer said his priority will be to help untangle the red tape of health care. He said he discussed health care issues with both McColley and his predecessor, Lynn Wachtmann, and offered his expertise in the field.
“There’s difficulty in the health care field. There are so many areas I believe that can be improved upon. These are conversations I already started before this position became open,” Meyer said.
He hopes his unique perspective as a physician makes a difference in the areas of health insurance, Medicaid coverage, and the state’s opioid epidemic, “which impacts not only the health care field but the public and the family. Hopefully, my perspective helps me make a difference.”
A conservative, Meyer said the ultimate goal “is to continue the process Robert McColleys’s done, keeping those same implements going, but to also bring my own perspective. If there are new elements, great. I will look forward to tackling those.”
He said that means taking the office with a team mentality. “All the people in the community that make that difference, it’s important to gather their thoughts,” he said. “It’s a community; it’s not just me. I need to reach out to the community, to elected officials. I want to hear their voices and actively engage everybody.”
Meyer said while his goal is to protect farmers and small businesses, he wants to especially focus on health care-related issues impacting Fulton County. “I feel that sense of obligation,” he added.
“I want to open good lines of communication to the needs of the community, to families…and be transparent to what we’re doing, and make sure everyone’s interests are shared and better good of our unique community.”
Reach David J. Coehrs at 419-335-2010.