U.S. Rep Steve Stivers will face challenger Charles Chope to represent the 15th District in the Republican Party primary election on March 6.

U.S. Rep Steve Stivers will face challenger Charles Chope to represent the 15th District in the Republican Party primary election on March 6.

The winner will face either Pat Lang or Scott Wharton, both Democrats, and Independent Warren Taylor, who owns Snowville Creamery in Meigs County, in the November general election.

In the 2010 election, Stivers defeated then-incumbent Democrat Mary Jo Kilroy by a 54.2 percent to 41.3 percent vote.

The old 15th District included half of Franklin County, and all of Madison and Union counties. The newly redrawn 15th District still includes all of Madison and part of Franklin County. It also includes all of Clinton, Fairfield, Hocking, Morgan, Perry, Pickaway and Vinton counties, as well as parts of Athens, Fayette and Ross counties.

Steve Stivers

Stivers, 46, is married and is the father of a daughter. He is a Columbus resident who has resided in the district for 29 years.

Stivers earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business from Ohio State University. He worked in the banking industry before becoming a state senator from 2003-08. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Ohio Army National Guard, with 26 years of service, and served in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I believe in the conservative values of low taxes, limited government and the importance of continued efforts on job creation," Stivers said of his political philosophy. "My style emphasizes servant leadership and working hard every day to make people proud."

Stivers said getting Ohioans back to work is his top priority.

"I do not believe that it is the role of government to create jobs, but rather, government can create an environment that is favorable for businesses to create jobs," he said. "To that end, I support legislation to create jobs by providing certainty on taxes, regulation, health care and energy costs.

"I have also introduced legislation which would create thousands of American jobs repairing our roads and bridges, paid for by expanding offshore energy production," he said. "This legislation will create jobs, reduce our dependence on foreign oil and lower the price of gas at the pump. I furthermore support over 40 jobs bills which would get Americans back to work."

While he believes the economy "appears to be starting to turn around," Stivers said, much remains to be done.

"Our debt crisis also imperils the economy," he said. "I have been working to get spending under control - from small steps, like returning $700 from my own paycheck each month to go toward paying down the national debt, to large steps like joining my colleagues in passing a budget that cut $6.2 trillion in spending."

As far as energy is concerned, Stivers said the United States needs an "all-of-the-above energy plan that includes everything from renewable energy to clean coal to expanding drilling here at home.

"I am a co-sponsor of multiple bills which help put an end to the Washington policies that are increasing gas prices," he said. "These bills would expand American energy production to help lower costs and create jobs.

"I introduced my jobs bill to use the funding created from offshore drilling leases to pay for our roads and bridges. In this tough economy, it is important that we find creative ways to pay for necessities such as infrastructure."

Stivers said that as a member of Congress, he has no authority over school funding.

"However, it is important that we ensure our schools are properly funded and our children have the opportunity to succeed and remain competitive, not only with children from other states but with children from around the world," he said.

Stivers said Gov. John Kasich "has been focused on job creation, which is where he should be focused. Ultimately, it will be up to the voters of Ohio whether he gets re-elected."

Charles Chope

Chope, 48, did not respond to written requests from ThisWeek to provide information about his candidacy.

According to The Columbus Dispatch, Chope is an Upper Arlington resident and self-employed investor. Chope considers himself a "true conservative" and supports a flat income tax of 10 percent to 15 percent, as well as significant debt reduction through spending cuts. He would make the Bush tax cuts permanent and privatize government functions where possible, including the Transportation Safety Administration."