LORAIN — A Lorain native who served as a staffer to state Rep. Joe Koziura hopes to win his former boss' seat in the Ohio Legislature.
Dan Ramos, 28, said he will run as a Democrat for the 56th House District, which represents Lorain, Oberlin, Sheffield Lake and South Amherst as well as Amherst, New Russia and Sheffield townships.
"I believe I have the statehouse experience needed to represent our area well starting on day one," Ramos said.
An alumnus of Admiral King High School and The Ohio State University, Ramos began working in politics in campaigns for Lorain County Commissioner Lori Kokoski and his father, Raul Ramos, who was on the Lorain City School Board.
He has worked as a constituent staffer for former Ohio House Minority Leader Chris Redfern, and for Koziura, House Democratic Caucus leader Joyce Beatty and House Speaker Armand Budish. He recently quit his job with Budish in order to campaign.
Ramos credited Koziura for his insights into crafting laws in Ohio.
"Joe has a depth and a breadth of knowledge in the legislature that's truly unrivaled, especially in the age of term limits," Ramos said.
"He sort of taught me the ins and outs of how the legislative process works, how it's differed over the years, and always keep an open mind, be willing to compromise, be willing to reach across the aisle, which is good for everybody."
Bringing jobs to the 56th House District will be a top priority, Ramos said.
"We are in need of a representative who can start working immediately to help bring jobs to our area and improve education," Ramos said. "My years of experience will allow me to do that.
"Our area has been hurting. We can't afford on-the-job training from our new representative."
A chance to pursue higher education helped open new opportunities for him, Ramos said. Lorain County has a tremendous asset with Lorain County Community College, Ramos said, and he wants to increase access for students to continue studies beyond high school.
Ramos' campaign sets the stage for a Democratic primary for the seat.
Lorain County Board of Elections Director Jose Candelario will leave the elections board to run for the 56th House seat.
Candelario said he knows Ramos personally and was not surprised by his decision.
"I welcome any person who wants to run," Candelario said, adding he will not change his plans.
"I want to run to serve the people of the 56th House District," Candelario said. "It's something I have a passion for."
It was unclear last night what Republican candidates might be gearing up to run.
Opportunities for open seats do not come up often and if a political party cares about the people and district, it will field a candidate, Candelario said.
"There's 116 days till election day," Candelario said. "I think the people are going to have good choices.
"And of course I'm the best choice," he added with a laugh. "We'll let the people decide."