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Rhyan Goodman stands in front of the Athens County Democrats Office on E. State St. on Feb. 19, 2022.

OU student Rhyan Goodman discusses his decision to run for Ohio state representative

Editor’s Note: Goodman said the current representative for the 94th District, Jay Edwards, “flies into” the current redistricting “mess,” but Edwards had voted “No” on the Congressional maps that the Ohio Supreme Court ruled unconstitutional.

Rhyan Goodman, a sophomore studying business administration and political science at Ohio University, recently decided to run for the Ohio House of Representatives for the 94th District, challenging incumbent Jay Edwards, R-Nelsonville. Goodman, a student in OU’s Honors Tutorial College, or HTC, currently holds office at the university as the HTC senator to Student Senate. The Post sat down with Goodman to learn a bit more about his experiences and the plans for his campaign. 

The Post: Tell me a little bit about yourself and your background.

Goodman: I never really had it easy growing up. I lived in eight different houses growing up. … I’ve been tied to rural Ohio throughout my life, seeing a lot of issues that I've had to experience and endure along with education and labor and things that have happened to my family and in the workforce that have really put us in tough situations. That's something that has really aggravated me and pushed me to be involved in my community, is making sure that everybody has the opportunity to flourish. I'm so proud of myself for being here. I never was destined to go to school. I'm first (generation). But being able to learn, I think, is one of the most valuable things we can do in life, and I hope that everybody has the opportunity to learn and do what they love.

TP: What do you hope to do with your degree, and where do you see yourself in the future?

Goodman: I say that my goal in life is to change the world, and I don't necessarily know what that means for me in regards to who (I want to be) or what I want to do. I'm not really sure, but I love having a direct impact on people. I love volunteering. I love to serve food to homeless people, and I think that it's so cool to see the instant gratification from that. (I plan on) exploring work with domestic violence centers, as that was a part of my childhood story, and really just seeing how I can make other people's lives better coming from the experiences that I've had thus far. So, nothing too specific for me now, but I'm really open to just seeing where my degree and where my life takes me and going with the flow.

TP: What led you to your decision to run for a Statehouse seat? Why now?

Goodman: It was not an easy decision, and it was not easy to get to where I am so far. A few people have asked me if I would ever consider running for something like this in my life, and I just say whatever I can do to make a difference, I'm going to do. So if that is the opportunity that presents itself, I guess it's the opportunity. And then being involved in the community and volunteering — I've heard a lot of people share their concerns about our current representation in the Statehouse. I like to say that I don't like to play politics; I want to talk about policy. I want to talk about action, what we're going to do. A lot of things really spurred my interest as well. I mean, the redistricting is a complete mess right now, and our current representative flies into that mess and has been passing these maps that are unconstitutional. And so there are a lot of things, but really just the opportunity, people asking me and having a passion for representing people. I have a lot of ideas, but I just want to listen.

TP: Can you explain a bit about your platform and the issues you are concerned about?

Goodman: One of my biggest things that I think is at the forefront of a lot of people's minds right now is just fighting corruption inside the Ohio Statehouse. I think that we've seen a lot of issues with elected officials from all spectrums, misusing our offices and our representation for personal gain, and that's something that I absolutely do not believe in. I'm a big union guy: my grandma's in a union, and that saved her job, so that's why I'm here today. But I think that labor is a key part of our state, and a lot of the issues that I've talked about with students is that there are not the job opportunities that they're looking for in Ohio. I think that's really sad that Ohio is regressing into a place that people want to leave instead of stay, and I hope that in the Statehouse, I can work to address that. (I want to focus on) economic development, like I said, bringing good-paying jobs to the area and making sure that everybody has the opportunities to succeed. And then my final big one is really education. I really believe that career technical education is probably one of the biggest growing places we have to impact our kids. I think people should be able to express themselves in whatever way they want, and I think that CTE would be a great way to do that, to put their hands on the things that they want to do and really get to work before they graduate and explore that.

TP: What do you feel you would bring to this position?

Goodman: I think I just bring a great listening attitude and a great attitude overall. I'm very open to hearing what people have to say, actually using their ideas and not just listening and then doing whatever I choose. Being accessible is one of my main things throughout this campaign. I've contacted our representative around 12 times and have never received a response, and I hear that a lot of other people have the same issue, and I think that our office should be accessible. I believe our representatives should have justification for the things they're doing. So, I think I would just bring a new attitude to the office, a new eagerness to serve in ways that I think is not present in our current representation and really fight for this district instead of selling out to other interests in Ohio.


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