WARREN — The race for the 64th District House seat has two candidates who seem equally passionate and in many ways qualified to represent the district.
Since neither Vincent Peterson II, 33, a Democrat, nor Nick Santucci, 31, a Republican, have previously run for or held office, both will face new experiences and responsibilities if elected.
Both, however, have experience working alongside and with politicians in their respective careers.
The new House District 64 includes all of Warren, Girard, Liberty, Niles, Hubbard, Vienna, Howland, McDonald, and Weathersfield, as well as part of Warren Township.
A Howland resident, Peterson has worked for the past five years as a constituent and community affairs liaison for US Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland. He also worked for nearly four years with the Ohio Parole Authority and a year with the Northeast Ohio Community Alternative Program.
Santucci, also a Howland resident, has been a senior consultant for workforce and community engagement at VAZA Consulting for a year; he worked with the Eastern Ohio Educational Service Center for a year; and previously worked with the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber for nearly two years.
Peterson has a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice with a minor in sociology from Villanova University, and Santucci has a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy from John Carroll University.
The two graduated from Howland High School within a year of each other.
“Since I started this campaign, we’ve knocked on 10,000 to 11,000 doors, talking to people about their concerns,” Peterson said. “What I’ve learned is that people don’t want a rubber stamp. They are looking for people who represent their values, regardless of party.”
“Voters want representatives who think for themselves, not just toe the party line,” he continued.
Peterson said he has already had conversations with the Ohio House Minority Leader about his intention to do whatever it takes to represent the best interests of Valley residents, even if, at times, that doesn’t align with the Ohio Democratic Party.
Santucci said he returned to Trumbull County after graduating from John Carroll in 2013 and found the area was still losing residents and jobs at an even faster rate than when he graduated from Howland.
“The Valley is currently losing 7.7 people a day,” Santucci said. “People I’ve talked to during this campaign have raised concerns about jobs and infrastructure.”