Democrat Michael Stinziano and Republican Bill Colgan are running unopposed in the March 6 primary for the 18th Ohio House District seat.

Democrat Michael Stinziano and Republican Bill Colgan are running unopposed in the March 6 primary for the 18th Ohio House District seat.

The 18th District now includes German Village, Bexley and Grandview Heights, as well as the following neighborhoods: Franklinton, the Hilltop, The Ohio State University campus area, Olde Towne East and the Short North.

The newly drawn state-legislature districts take effect this election cycle. State Democrats had challenged the district boundaries drawn by the Republican-dominated Apportionment Board, but a 6-1 ruling last week by the Ohio Supreme Court will keep the districts in place for at least the 2012 races, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Stinziano, 32, is serving his first two-year term in the Ohio House, representing the 25th District, which previously included German Village.

"The new 18th District is an area I know well, having grown up in the university area and spending a lot of time in the Grandview and Bexley areas," he said. "I'm excited about running to serve this new district. It includes some of the most dynamic communities and neighborhoods in our state."

The economy remains the most important issue in the fall election, he said.

"The focus always is on the need to create more job growth and to retain jobs," Stinziano said. "The best way we can do that is to support our local small businesses."

Another concern is the "brain drain" that results when graduates of Ohio colleges and universities leave the state, he said.

"We've got to find ways to keep our young people here," Stinziano said.

He said he is working with local officials to increase funding to improve neighborhood safety.

"What I enjoy most about being a state representative is working to meet constituent needs," Stinziano said.

As part of that effort, he holds regular town hall meetings, he said.

"My style is to be accessible and as transparent as possible," Stinziano said.

A Columbus native, Stinziano is the son of Mike Stinziano, a former state representative.

He received a bachelor's degree in leadership studies from the University of Richmond and earned a master's degree in public administration from George Washington University while working for the Woodrow Wilson International Center, a think-tank for national and international issues in Washington, D.C.

Stinziano became an attorney after graduating from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law.

In 2008, he became director of the Franklin County Board of Elections.

Stinziano lives in Victorian Village with his wife, Caroline McNamee Stinziano.

Although he has always been interested in politics, Colgan is a first-time candidate for office.

He said he was motivated to file as a candidate when he saw that no Republican had entered the race for the 18th District seat.

"I think there needs to be more people like me running for office, people who come from the private sector and are not career politicians," said Colgan, who works as a mechanical engineer on the factory floor of a central Ohio Honda supplier.

"Regular people are kind of unrepresented in the Statehouse," he said. "People from the outside can bring a fresh approach and viewpoint to the issues facing Ohio."

A native of Cincinnati, Colgan, 36, moved to the Columbus area about 10 years ago. He lives in the Grandview area.

"I was always politically active," Colgan said. "I would attend city council meetings in Cincinnati and also when I moved to Grove City. I thought the meetings were interesting."

He said his campaign will largely involve going door-to-door to meet voters.

"I really enjoy getting around and meeting people and listening to their concerns," Colgan said. "I wish I could do that all day long."

His biggest concern is the state of Ohio's economy, an issue he faced personally three years ago when he was laid off.

"Ohio is a terrific state," Colgan said. "We need to create an environment in which businesses, especially small businesses, can thrive and grow."

Many companies are operating with smaller numbers of employees who work longer hours, he said.

"I think a lot of businesses are afraid to hire people" because of the uncertainty about the economy, Colgan said.

Colgan graduated from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in engineering. He is engaged to be married this summer to Katherine Rogers and owns a retired racing greyhound named Max.