Rulli earns nod in special election for 6th District

On June 11, a special election will be held to choose whether Republican Michael Rulli or Democrat Michael L. Kripchak will fill the 6th Congressional District seat formerly held by Bill Johnson before he resigned Jan. 21 to become the 10th president at Youngstown State University.

The winner will serve the remainder of Johnson’s term, and then the two will meet again in the Nov. 5 general election for the full two-year term starting in January 2025.

As shown in March’s primary election, both candidates bring appealing attributes to voters in the 6th district.

While Kripchak, 42, of Youngstown, lacks political experience, he served in the U.S. Air Force for three years and has a diverse professional career with experience in various industries. He currently works as a prep cook and food runner for a restaurant in Columbiana and is also an adviser for MGHealth Advisory. His resume states he facilitates integration of International Space Station partner nations with the broader NASA-European Space Agency’s $1.5 billion operational and life-support framework. It also states he coordinated medical suppliers across three continents to fulfill U.N. requirements for a $700,000 U.N. COVID-19 emergency relief package to Algeria.

Kripchak earned our endorsement in the primary because he has goals of creating high-skilled and high-paying jobs and also wants to improve the federal farm bill by using technology that can help maintain farmers’ sustainability. However, he was also dead set on getting things accomplished in Congress, whether it was working with the Democratic Party or crossing the aisle. We commended him for his willingness to have a bipartisan approach, which is an attribute he still has heading into this election.

Rulli, 55, of Salem, is currently the director of operations for his family-owned Rulli Brothers Markets. He was elected to the state Senate in 2018 and then reelected four years later. He also served as a Leetonia Board of Education member from 2009 to 2017.

Like Kripchak, Rulli earned our endorsement in the primary election over Reggie Stoltzfus, state representative of Ohio’s 50th District, and Rick Tsai of East Palestine. We gave him a slight edge over Stoltzfus because of his success and experience in the state Senate.

We believe that to be the case in this special election as well and believe Rulli’s success and experience in the Senate can translate to working with both political parties in Congress to get things done for the district, which is what has earned him our endorsement.

While Republicans hold a supermajority in the Senate, a 26-7 advantage over Democrats, Rulli has said that he works closely with Democrats to co-sponsor bills and garners their support by adding amendments.

“Bipartisan isn’t the worst word in the world,” Rulli told our editorial board recently. “Extremes on the right or left get nothing done.”

For example, Senate Bill 98, which addresses fraudulent business filings, deceptive mailings, reinstatement of canceled business entities and addresses of statutory agents, was passed unanimously in the Senate, 32-0. Also, Senate Bill 46, which creates the Commission on Eastern European Affairs and the Office of Eastern European Affairs and to make an appropriation, was passed in the Senate by a 32-1 vote in the 134th General Assembly.

While those two bills may not be the most controversial, we think getting them passed with overwhelming support from both sides speaks to Rulli’s experience in the process and his ability to get things done.

We also believe that Rulli has the greatest understanding of what the district needs. When it comes to making the nation energy independent, Rulli supports fracking for natural gas and oil, particularly in the 6th District. However, he isn’t against utilizing green energy, such as wind, solar and water and believes that it could come into play in the future.

“Right now, people need to have the lights on, and you have to keep the grid operating. The reality is natural gas is the only thing that will serve the grid,” he said.

Both Kripchak and Rulli are credible candidates and bring their own attributes to the table. While he lacks the political experience, Kripchak displays a personality that could connect with politicians on both sides of the aisle. After the Jan. 6 insurrection, Kripchak is also motivated to make a change and wants to do whatever he can to get things done. We believe that is commendable.

However, we believe that Rulli’s experience in the Senate his overall understanding of the process and his ability to work with both sides gives him the edge for our endorsement.


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