The Press Newspaper
Former Cardinal Stritch and Genoa football coach Bill Hrabak always said that he
wanted to get into politics. Now, he’s getting his chance.
Hrabak is a candidate for Ohio House of Representatives District 81 in the November 2 general election. Representing the Constitution Party, he joins Democrat Benjamin E. Nutter and Republican Rex Arthur Damschroder on the ballot. The seat, now held by term-limited Jeff Wagner, R-Sycamore, covers parts of Seneca, Sandusky and Ottawa counties.
Politics is nothing new for Hrabak — he was a campaign volunteer for President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush’s election efforts. His original intention was to run in the Republican primary, but changed his decision after being interviewed by the Constitution Party.
“I am a pro-life advocated, Second Amendment supporter and Reagan conservative,” Hrabak wrote in campaign literature. “My decision to run for the Constitution Party is, in part, due to a lack of a true conservative direction by other parties.”
He analogizes politics to football in his campaign literature.
“When I have spoken with people in District 81, they feel like it’s late in the fourth quarter and Ohio is behind. However, I have a plan that aims at reinforcing Ohio’s state sovereignty, protecting our Second Amendment rights, and reducing taxes. I also plan on attracting a realistic alternative energy industry, which will help the state put on a rally that will return Ohio to national prominence,” Hrabak continued.
Hrabak, a Chagrin Falls native who received his B.A. in physical education in 1981 from Hiram College, has been an educator 22 years. He currently is a physical education and health teacher, along with football coach, at Fostoria St. Wendelin High School.
As a football coach, he is a four-time Coach of the Year. While at Stritch, he took the football program into the state playoffs.
Hrabak is a multiple nominee for Who’s Who among America’s teachers and was selected for two Golden Apple awards. He maintains professional memberships with the National Rifle Association, Heritage Foundation, North Central Ohio Conservatives, The Findlay 912, and Ohio High School Football Coaches Association.
Hrabak resides in Tiffin with his wife Carolyn and their two sons, J.J. and Zach. The family is members of the Church on 53.
2003. He is the son of the late Gene Damschroder, who held the same House seat from 1973 to 1983.
Rex Damschroder was elected to the Ohio House of Representatives in 1994, representing the 89th District which includes parts of Sandusky County and Seneca Counties. He served from 1995 to 2003, when he was required to step down due to term limits.
In 2002, Damschroder unsuccessfully challenged incumbent Congressman Paul Gillmor in the 5th Congressional District Republican primary.
"I'm truly honored to have the opportunity to run for this seat again," Damschroder said. "I'm passionate about the issues facing Ohio today and I hope to bring some experience to the table at a time when our state needs it the most."
Damschroder says his small-business experience will bring a common-sense, real-life approach to Columbus. Also, he said he believes more can be done to attract businesses to Ohio and create jobs.
"It's unbelievable that with the workforce we have here in Northwest Ohio that the unemployment rate in parts of the district is above 13 percent," he said. "I intend to work with my colleagues every day to find real solutions to Ohio's fiscal problems should I be given the chance to serve again."
"In these challenging times, our state needs a leader like Rex with tremendous experience in public policy and a practical knowledge of private business," House Republican Leader Bill Batchelder said. "Our caucus is very much looking forward to Rex's return to the legislature."
Wagner, who has served in this seat since 2003, said he fully supports Damschroder, the candidate’s website says.
"I have been privileged to work with Rex on many political matters through the years," Wagner said. "During his earlier tenure as state representative, I was able to provide input on various state issues to him and, in my tenure, he has provided the same to me."
currently resides in rural Tiffin with his wife Lisa, son Colin, and daughter Addison.
Nutter grew up just south of Tiffin and says he was raised with strong family values by his parents, Bud (from who he says he gained a strong interest in government) and Sue. He is the third of four children including an older sister Sulynn, older brother Jon and younger brother Jer.
Nutter also has a background in football. He is a 1986 graduate of Mohawk High School where he earned all-state honors as a defensive end. He followed his brother Jon to Tiffin University on a football scholarship where he received a Bachelor of Business Administration in 1991 with concentration in management, marketing, and accounting.
Nutter has been serving the City of Tiffin for the last 15 years as a fire captain and is currently in his second term as a Seneca county commissioner, currently serving as board president. Nutter recently earned the status of Executive Fire Officer from the National Fire Academy in Emmetsburg Maryland.
In a letter to the public on his campaign website, Nutter wrote, “I have had the pleasure of serving as a county commissioner for the last five years where I have tackled some very difficult issues in very difficult economic times.
“My approach to these challenges has always been to approach them head-on and make decisions based on what is best for the county both financially and operationally — not what is the easiest or most popular.
“The State of Ohio also faces some tough issues including jobs and the economy, school funding, budgeting and many others. Although most of these issues are long-range and ever-changing we need to start moving forward now to build a strong future for all Ohioans.”
Nutter has recently received the endorsement of two state-wide labor organization — the Ohio American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) and the Ohio Civil Service Employees Association (OCSEA).
According to Nutter’s campaign website, State Representative and Speaker Pro Tempore Matt Szollosi was on hand as guest speaker when Nutter announced his bid.
As Szollosi introduced Nutter, he stated, “We do not have a stronger candidate in the State of Ohio than Ben Nutter.”