Van Wert County Republicans held a luncheon Friday afternoon. Present to speak at the luncheon was current State Senator Cliff Hite.  (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)
Van Wert County Republicans held a luncheon Friday afternoon. Present to speak at the luncheon was current State Senator Cliff Hite. (Times Bulletin/Ed Gebert)

VAN WERT — State Sen. Cliff Hite made an appearance to speak to Van Wert County Republicans on Friday, and one of his opponents in the G.O.P. May 6 primary also attended. Van Wert County resident Milo Schaffner, himself a state senate candidate, was also given an introduction to the party faithful.

The two joked about their relationship that began just a few months ago when the campaign started.

“In all honesty, Milo and I have become great acquaintances,” Hite said. “I don’t know if you can say friends because we’ve only known each other a short time. But we’ve been extremely respectful on the trail, and I can’t tell you how much I appreciate that… We don’t agree on everything, but we do agree that Ohio is important and for sure that Van Wert County is important. That’s what it’s about.”

Schaffner noted the presence of Sheriff Tom Riggenbach and Dept. Dennis Wagonrod and joked, “We don’t need the Sheriff’s Department here, Cliff and I get along fine!.” Then he added, “Cliff and I treat each other with great respect, and I thank him for that.”



After the pleasantries were concluded, Hite went on to bring out some fiscal accomplishments from Columbus.

“We’ve taken the $8 billion deficit and balanced it. And it was tough because it was tough on local governments, but we did it and we lowered your taxes a little bit, and we’re done even more since then. Since I’ve been in the General Assembly, we’ve lowered your state income taxes by 30 percent, but your state income taxes aren’t what bug you the most, and you don’t really feel it that much. I know that. But it’s a start, and we’re trying to whittle this down even more.” Hite pointed out. “We just did a $2.7 billion tax reduction over the next two years. If you have a small business, you get to deduct 50 percent of your first $250,000 in income. We’re making Ohio a job-friendly climate.”

He also highlighted the reductions in unemployment rates over the past five years, including the jobless rate in Van Wert County which fell from 15.5 percent in 2009 to 6.0 percent in February 2014.

Hite also noted the increase state budget for education and legislation supporting the right to life debated and passed in Columbus. He also had words of praise for both Ohio Gov. John Kasich and Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor.

“I just think we need to talk about the good news things that are going on. There are a lot of things, but here’s the best part .— we’re not done. You look at your mid-budget review, we’re going to reduce taxes more. We’re going to figure out how to do it the right way, and we’re working on that. That’s our goal is to continue to do that.