Get to Know Ryan Koch
Name: Ryan Koch
Office you’re seeking: State Representative, District 21
Twitter handle: @Ryan_Koch
Why are you running? I often think of a famous quote “we can’t solve the problems of today with the thinking that got us into them” and I find that this applies to the state of our fair Ohio. We can no longer sit by while our General Assembly pushes a tax agenda that redistributes wealth from 99% of Ohioans to the wealthiest 1% of them. Currently the bottom 20% of earners pay 12% of their income to the state, the middle 20% pays roughly 10% and the top 1% pays 6%, that doesn’t sound fair to me. This concern for the top and for top donors permeates through other policies as well, whether it’s protecting charter schools from accountability, removing renewable energy standards, or their unwillingness to address college affordability (Ohio ranks 34th in the country for college tuition costs). To add salt to the wound the promises of job growth, economic mobility, and improved quality of life remain undelivered. Our air gets harder to breathe, our water harder to drink, jobs slow to appear, and our wages depressed.
All of that said, we have reason for hope, our state has tremendous potential. I’ve lived in Ohio my whole life and have enjoyed watching it grow and change. I was born in Cincinnati and moved to Columbus 7 years ago. After I moved I served in the US Army Reserves and worked in Central Ohio’s highly promising technology sector. While deployed to Iraq in 2009 I experienced the duality of how bad things can be in a war zone and the joy of connecting with another human being in need. Through an English as a second language program I made a connection with a number of students that lives on to this day. We need that in the Statehouse. We need to build bridges, accept that what we’ve done hasn’t been effective, and focus on investing in Ohio’s future. We can be that shining city on the hill, we can lead the country by giving our attention to what matters.
I’m running because Ohio is my home and I want to improve lives. I learned what it means to serve through the turmoil of a war zone and I learned how to solve difficult problems by working in tech. It’s in my blood to serve, and I want to take what I’ve learned and fight for all Ohioans.
What are the most important issues on your campaign? The budget, education funding, and the fight against inequality are all at the top of my list of priorities. We need to focus on ensuring our State is giving everyone a fair shake regardless of income and that every child in Ohio gets a quality education regardless of where they live. As always we must also be vigilant for attempts to undermine the rights of women, minorities, and the LGBT community as well.
Give us a fun fact about yourself. Some of you may be aware of the tattoo I have on my left arm. What’s fun about it is I got it in the city of Antigua in Guatemala (if you ever have the chance to visit this town, do it). A close friend of mine was serving in the Peace Corps in Guatemala and I went down for a two week visit in order to learn about the mission there. The experiences I had there had an incredibly profound impact on my life and my world view.
Who is your favorite president? Why? I’ll have to go with FDR on this one. FDR not only won a World War but completed incredibly important works toward the establishment of a more equitable society. Many of our social safety net programs would not be without that presidency.
What’s your favorite food on the campaign trail? Why? I’m an absolute sucker for Pho, so if there’s a place anywhere near where I’m canvassing that has it, you can guess where I’ll want to grab lunch from.
If you could be a superhero, who would you be? Why? This is a tough one, but I think I’d go with the Green Lantern. Fighting evil doers while being able to fly around the galaxy at will seems like a pretty nice gig to me.
If you were a professional athlete what song would you choose to be your “walk out” song? I’d probably go with Sleigh Bells “Crown on the Ground”
What was your first paid job? When I was 15 I got hired on at the IGA grocery store that was a couple miles from my parent’s house. I started working there for $5.25 an hour. It’s an interesting environment to work in, I can still remember the bewilderment I felt when one day I found that someone had opened a pack of sliced cheese and left one slice hidden on a shelf in every aisle of the store. Ultimately, the work was hard, but it was how I saved up enough money for my first car.
How can young dems help in your race? Helping spread the word about my candidacy, volunteering, and donating (any amount helps) are the biggest ways to help. One of the things I’ve had to come up against is that Democrats need to see that they can win these suburban seats this year. We have a huge opportunity to win a lot of seats in the State House. Also, check out my website at http://ryankforohio.com.[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]