Westerville resident Richard Bird may not have to face a Democratic opponent in the May 4 primary for Ohio's 2nd House district.

Westerville resident Richard Bird may not have to face a Democratic opponent in the May 4 primary for Ohio's 2nd House district.

But he knows that come November, it may be a challenge to win what has historically been a Republican-dominated district.

Bird filed petitions last week to vie for the seat held by outgoing Republican Kris Jordan. Five Republicans also filed for the seat: Powell residents Andrew Brenner, Traci L. Saliba and Craig Schweitzer, Galena resident Beth Lear and Westerville resident Mark E. Phillips.

Bird, who has lived in Westerville for 10 years, said he'll be looking to earn voter support by pitching himself as a pro-business Democrat who is tired as "politics as usual" at the state level.

"It's not a party thing," Bird said. "I'm tired of the fact that representatives are no longer representing."

With a bachelor's degree in political science from Ohio State University, Bird said he's always dreamed of getting into politics but never found the time. The run for the 2nd Ohio House district seat will be his first political bid, though he has worked on the last two Westerville City Schools levy campaigns.

As someone who has been laid off twice and seen his income decrease dramatically with the downed economy, Bird said he understands the challenges faced by constituents of the 2nd Ohio House district.

"When the economy stopped, I went through the same experiences as other Delaware County residents," he said.

Because of those experiences, and his experience as a project manager for JP Morgan Chase and other companies, Bird said his top priority as a legislator would be bringing jobs to Ohio by taking down barriers government can create for private-sector companies.

"The private sector will take care of creating jobs if given the right economy," he said.

Too often, Bird said legislators pass bills without understanding the impact felt by businesses. As someone who understands that, Bird said he would work with business leaders throughout central Ohio to find ways to attract, rather than deter, job creation.

Education also will top Bird's campaign platform going into November, he said. He said it's unacceptable that the legislature has done nothing to address Ohio's unconstitutional system of school funding.

"Gov. Strickland took a very bold stance in trying to fix things," Bird said, but there already have been measures taken by the legislature to dilute Strickland's plan.

"This is a huge point for me," Bird said. "The legislature should be doing its job, and it isn't."

He said he also takes veterans' issues to heart. He is a veteran and a member of the American Legion, and his son is an Army veteran who served in both Iraq and Afghanistan.

Bird said the state must work to make sure its veterans aren't being hampered by bureaucracy in getting the services they need, and their families must be protected from foreclosure, ruined credit and loss of business that often comes with being deployed.

"We send out people from our communities and our towns," Bird said.

Most importantly, Bird said, if he is elected, he would represent moderates from both parties, rather than focusing on partisan politics.

"The voice of independents and moderates from both parties needs to be heard," Bird said. "Voters are smart in this district, and they want a winner. They want a fighter."