Matt Dolan Op-Ed: The Four Questions I Ask When Considering Public Service

Following Matt Dolan’s recent #OhioMatters town hall stop in Washington County, he wrote an op-ed outlining the thought process that guided his decision to run for U.S. Senate. The following piece ran in print in The Marietta Times.

The Four Questions I Ask When Considering Public Service

The new year has already brough new faces to the statewide political landscape in Ohio. Since Senator Rob Portman announced that he would not seek reelection, a dozen candidates have formally announced campaigns for the U.S. Senate.

Over the next ten months, Ohioans are likely to be bombarded with tens of millions of dollars in advertisements from self-proclaimed “political outsiders” and “disruptors.” Each will be eager to lob bombs, platitudes, and tweets about what they’re against as opposed to practical solutions or how they arrived at the decision to run in the first place.

Well, Ohio voters deserve to know. In my case, my fellow Republicans deserve to know.

Anytime I consider public service I ask myself four questions: Do I have the support of my family? Is it the right time for my family? Do I have the fire in the belly to run and to serve? Can I make a difference in this position?

With family as my first priority, we sat together to discuss this opportunity. They were enthusiastically supportive of a campaign in the fall. My sons, one at work earning his welding license and the other a freshman in college, have enjoyed learning the mechanics of a statewide run. The also remain frustrated about how divisive the country appears to be right now.

My wife, Jessica, has been equally supportive. Possessing a graduate degree in political science, I have been fortunate to lean on her for advice. More importantly, however, her dedication to this cause is also personal in that she shares in my commitment to strengthen Ohio’s future for all of our sons and daughters.

I enjoy the competitiveness of a campaign, however my passion resides in working on public policy. Prior to becoming a State Senator, I served as a State Representative, Assistant Ohio Attorney General and Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Geauga County. In each role, I cherished the capacity to honor public trust and improve my constituents’ quality of life. Whether it was fighting for justice, focusing on job growth or investing in opportunities for individuals to have a better quality of life, I knew my work ethic and desire to solve problems would make a difference.

When I completed work on the state budget last summer, I wondered whether voters wanted a problem solver to go to the U.S. Senate and make a difference. Seven Republicans had already entered the race. Some accumulated early endorsements, others ran advertising, hosted events and even used their early donations to fly planes over a rally with President Trump. And yet, through it all, there was little to no discussion about Ohio’s needs.

In July, after authoring, negotiating and passing what the Ohio Republican Party referred to as “the most conservative budget in Ohio legislative history,” I embarked on a listening tour of the state. In dozens of meetings with Republican voters and grassroots activists, it became clear there was a desire for a new voice in the contest; someone with a conservative record focused on Ohio.

The campaign to date has confirmed for me that I can use my public and private sector experience and success to achieve results. I grasp the stark difference between substantive engagement and stale platitudes. I understand the powers afforded our government are derived from the consent of the governed. I will honor my oath to protect and defend the Constitution.

A government run by its people, for its people, takes engagement, disagreement, passion and resolution. Our next Senator must be willing to show our citizens, in word and deed, that we can solve problems through self-governance. We must lead by example so that our grand experiment remains the greatest system for freedom and liberty, producing the greatest economy, security and opportunity the world has ever known.

I have affirmatively answered my four questions. The questions that will come to define this primary must now be answered by Republican voters themselves. Are you prepared to elect someone who has and will engage in the fight for you?  Are you ready to cut through the noise and cheap rhetoric to identify a nominee with the record and vision for what’s in Ohio’s interest? As conservatives, are you prepared to conserve our nation’s political inheritance that makes it possible for us to be a decent, prosperous, free and self-governing society?

If so, I would be honored to receive your support.

Matt Dolan is a State Senator from Chagrin Falls and Republican candidate for U.S. Senate.