Candidates > State Representative-District 89 – Joe Helle

State Representative-District 89 - Joe Helle

Committee to Elect Joe Helle for State Representative

Official Website: joehelleforstaterep

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Oak Harbor mayor to run for state representative
Sandusky Register | Tom Jackson | 7.14.17


Meet Joe Helle

"I don't believe in running against someone just because they are a member of the opposite party.  If those currently in place serve admirably and by the will of the people I see no reason to replace them.  Unfortunately, that isn't the case.  There are numerous reasons why we need change, and need it now.  As when I ran for Mayor, I again see a need for new leadership, as our government has forgotten it's most important resource - US." - Joe

The Veteran

Joe is a U.S. Army Veteran, having served as an Airborne Infantry Sergeant from 2004 until 2011.  Joe deployed to Iraq in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom JHelle - Veteran - 8.03.17during the Surge between 2006 and 2007, and again in Afghanistan in 2009 as a Section Sergeant. While in Afghanistan Joe was responsible for a Personal Security Detachment (think Secret Service), which provided secure travel through the battlefield for the Battalion Commander and other VIP's.  

It is during this time that Joe developed his knowledge and experience as a leader, compassion for those who struggle to live, and his passion for public service.  Joe's life revolves around the seven ARMY VALUES he learned in his service - Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless-Service, Honor, Integrity, and Personal Courage.

The Father

Joe is the father of two incredibly beautiful daughters, Autumn, wJHelle - Photo - Kids-Flowersho is six, and Natalie, who is two.  As a single father, Joe understands the challenges and rigors that other single parents face each day with balancing work,education, and childcare.  Joe will make it a goal to work to see things like our tax code changed, which favors those married over those who are not, placing an unnecessary burden on those with children who are unmarried or widowed.

The Public Servant

Joe was elected as the 31st Mayor of Oak Harbor in 2015 after defeating the incumbent.  Joe identified a problem with the local government that many communities struggle with: COMMUNICATION.  There was little communication with the residents of Oak Harbor, and he made it his goal if elected to change that. JHelle - Photo - Public Servant - 8.03.17Since becoming Mayor communication has increased drastically with the community, along with bringing legitimacy and respect back to the office. 

Joe previously served with the Veteran Disaster Relief organization TEAM RUBICON, where he served for two years, eventually holding the position of Regional Membership Manager.  Joe oversaw approximately 2,300 Veteran Volunteers across six states, facilitating their deployment to domestic disasters across the country.  


What Does Joe Helle Believe In?

Real Jobs

People deserve jobs.  More importantly, people deserve jobs that will help them support themselves and their families.  Our minimum wage hasn't scaled with our economy, all the while large corporations continue feeding dollars in to executive compensation at the expense of their workers.  Joe will work with local businesses, economic development agencies, and communities to determine strategies to bring more jobs to our region, increase the minimum wage, and take that FIGHT to Columbus.

Joe BELIEVES that Labor Unions are a PILLAR of a strong economy, and STRONG LABOR UNIONS are beneficial to the success of our communities. Joe will work ardently to continue securing the success of these organizations by working with Unions and ensuring their organization health and security.  

Joe will also fight to KEEP the Davis-Besse Nuclear Power Station afloat.  Current representation buckled under the political weight of pending legislation, and Joe will not buckle.  Losing 700 jobs is far worse than losing political capital, and Joe will fight tirelessly to ensure it's survival. 

Better Communication

Odds are many of you don't know who your local elected officials are, whether that be Council members, Mayors, or State Representatives.  Unless you've attended a parade or small event, it's most likely many of you haven't seen one of these people in person.

That CHANGES under Joe.  Since becoming Mayor of Oak Harbor, Joe made it his number one goal to bring the POWER back to the people.  By utilizing 21st century communication tools, such as interacting with Community Pages on Facebook, Joe has brought the Mayor's Office into his resident's living rooms by COMMUNICATING the way the PEOPLE do. By supplementing newspapers and in-person contacts, Joe has been able to communicate with a far larger base of his population than has been done in years past.

As State Representative Joe will continue this legacy by regularly interacting with members of the population in the same way.  He will also spend more time in District, and less time attending fundraisers and events meant to bolster future political gains. By increasing communication with the constituency, Joe will be able to make decisions based on the WILL OF THE PEOPLE, bringing the POWER of government back where it belongs.

Protecting Lake Erie

We all know that Lake Erie is the largest economic driving force in our region, yet funding has been STRIPPED by the Trump Administration.  Unfortunately the CASE HASN'T BEEN MADE by the legislature to pick up the necessary tab to continue efforts to clean up our lake, prevent Algae Blooms, and ensure clean drinking water for our residents.  Instead the Legislature is worried about DEFUNDING PLANNED PARENTHOOD and RESTRICTING WOMEN'S RIGHTS.

On DAY ONE Joe will bring this issue to the Statehouse, and present legislation to move forward on SECURING the future of OUR lake, ensuring it's survival for years to come. 

Everyone Deserves Healthcare

Joe believes that ​EVERYONE, no matter their socioeconomic status, DESERVES the security and safety in knowing that should they become sick that they will receive the necessary care to become healthy again.  ​

Addiction is possibly the largest challenge in Ohio. WE CANNOT ARREST OR INCARCERATE OUR WAY OUT OF THIS ISSUE.  Rather, we need to reallocate dollars back to communities through the Local Government Fund, earmarking these funds specifically for prevention and treatment programs, and bolster County Health Departments' ability to create community based treatment clinics.

Equal Rights

No one is above anyone else in our communities, and unfortunately our Legislature has continued to place their views and beliefs above the best interests of their constituents. Joe will stand shoulder to shoulder with minorities to ensure that their safety and security is paramount.

Joe will fight tirelessly to prevent prohibitions on Constitutionally provided protections, such as women's reproductive rights.  It's no secret that there are people clinging to what little they can of the past, and unfortunately WOMEN'S RIGHTS are one of those they cling to.  Joe will take his appreciation for women to Columbus, and STAND FIRM in protecting their rights.​

Selfless Public Service

Serving several years in the Army taught Joe the  VALUE  of SELFLESS SERVICE. The issue with today's political spectrum is that every decision a politician makes, they are doing for their own political survival.  Joe does NOT BELIEVE in maintaining the status quo, and believes that an effective government needs change. As Representative, Joe will NEVER take his own political survival in to account when making decisions, no matter the political consequence.  Every decision will be made based on feedback from his CONSTITUENCY, not special interests or himself.


Why Now?

 Why should we as a district want new leadership?

Taxes have gone up

That's right, taxes have gone up despite what current leaders want you to think. They have voted to REDUCE Local Government Fund dollars, funds that the state pays local communities to operate. No doubt we have all seen local funding for our schools reduced. Again, our taxes have gone up as a result. 

How? Because every shortfall to funding our local organizations, whether it be your schools or your community, will at some point require those funds TO BE REPLACED TO CONTINUE OPERATIONS. While it looks fiscally responsible at the state level, really they are TAKING THE TARGET OFF OF THEIR BACKS and passing it off on local leaders to increase taxes on their residents.

As Representative of the 89th District, I will use my experience as Mayor to work to restore original funding of the Local Government Fund, bringing OUR TAX DOLLARS back home where they belong, and ensure that the State pays it's fair share to communities.

School Funding has stalled

In the last 18 months First Energy Corporation has informed the area that they intend to move out of the power generation business due to significant loss of revenues.  A sale or bankruptcy is looming, but something even worse is - DEVALUATION.

The local school district and Ottawa County will be SHREDDED by this devaluation, with an estimated $5 MILLION DOLLAR LOSS.  While legislation was introduced in the House (House Bill 178), NONE of our local legislators co-sponsored it and it died due to a LACK OF LEADERSHIP.  It's clear that priorities lie elsewhere, following the lead of the current House "leadership."  But Oak Harbor isn't the only district suffering. All of our school districts continue to suffer as the Legislature and Governor consolidate rainy day dollars, at the expense of our children and educators. Reductions in Tangible Personal Property Tax have caused districts to lose hundreds of thousands of dollars, which the schools have to levy taxes onto residents anyways to continue operating.

​As Representative, I will work tirelessly to see that ALL school districts receive adequate funding, and that we don't push off responsibility on LOCALS while the state has a war chest of over $2 billion dollars in the Rainy Day fund.  Our children are our future, and it is our RESPONSIBILITY to prepare them for tomorrow.

Where are the jobs

Our District BOASTS an unemployment rate above the state average.  EVEN WORSE in the winter, unemployment jumps over 2% or more over the state average. Where is the economic development that was promised?  Why isn't the state leveraging Jobs Ohio, the State's economic development arm, to push for economic development in our district? Why hasn't this been a priority of our officials?  And where are our tax dollars going that they cannot be returned to the communities?

Our District has a large amount of part-time jobs based on the tourism season, leaving few jobs available once the season ends.  As Representative, I will work with our communities to determine needs, and leverage my position to negotiate with other State agencies and Jobs Ohio to bring new employers into our District. And as is very much needed, work tirelessly to return Local Government Funds to our communities, so that they may leverage their dollars for development as well.

Crumbling infrastructure

In the 80's the Federal government spent billions of dollars to pay for new waste water treatment plants across the country. While this was great, in the years following these dollars dwindled off, and communities were left to their own demise to maintain these multi-million dollar facilities.  Today, communities struggle under the weight of these costs, and the near constant changes coming from the Federal and Ohio EPA.

Despite being a very known fact that phosphorus is a main contributor, the State has continuously FAILED to provide adequate funding to communities to pay for upgrades to prevent this issue.  Our residents then contend with basements flooded with sewage, streets impassable, and treatment plants overwhelmed.

As a Mayor I see the struggles that wastewater employees face each day, operating systems far beyond their original capability or capacity.  As Representative, I will use my municipal government experience to propose legislation to increase necessary funding to our communities to treat our water, which inevitably protects our lake and ensuring clean drinking water.

Lake Erie's survival has stalled

Lake Erie is, without question, our state's most important natural resource, and our District's most important as well.  It also tops the list economically, bringing in $1.3 billion dollars in 2016, according to Lake Erie Shores and Islands.  That equates to over 13,000 jobs.

Yet we see NO ACTION from local representation to PROTECT AND PRESERVE Lake Erie.  No proposed legislation in the last two years has been sponsored by our local state elected officials. With another Algae Bloom looming in the late summer of 2017, we are still left waiting and hoping that action will be taken to keep our livelihoods in tact.  As our largest economic driving force in our district, Lake Erie deserves more attention.  Unfortunately defunding Medicaid, Planned Parenthood, and attacking women's rights is more important.    

As Representative, I will make Lake Erie's health and survival a DAY ONE GOAL, proposing Legislation to ensure it has adequate funding from the state, regardless of the federal government's inaction.  

Attack on healthcare

While the legislature debates de-funding Planned Parenthood, and RESTRICTING the reproductive rights of women, our communities and families struggle daily with the repercussions of opiate abuse.  While the State has recently set aside $35 million dollars to combat this issue, it HAS NOT determined if or how these funds will be used, or if they will even be returned these funds to the local communities responsible for fighting this epidemic.

The House and Senate are also attacking our MOST VULNERABLE residents by RESTRICTING Medicaid.  The Republican-controlled House, and our elected officials, voted to PREVENT our struggling neighbors the opportunity to obtain healthcare when THEY NEED IT THE MOST.

As Representative, I will not vote to restrict Medicaid for our neighbors, friends and family who need it, and I will work with others in the House to restore this essential right.  I will also STAND UP for Planned Parenthood, knowing that the provide a VITAL SERVICE to women and families in our communities, especially those stricken by poverty.  We should be DEFENDING our residents, not attacking their RIGHT TO LIVE.    

No representation

Our government is broken.  We DESERVE leadership that regularly goes out in to the community to solicit OUR opinions and thoughts on legislation, not wait for us to go to them.  There is no communication between our elected representatives and us when a vote is about to come up on an issue.  A WELL INFORMED PUBLIC is essential to government, and that burden cannot only rest on the public.  Our officials FAIL at communicating these issues with our communities.

This is ABSOLUTELY UNACCEPTABLE.  As Representative, I will continue my work in rebuilding TRUST  and COMMUNICATION with our communities.  I will regularly communicate via social media, contact local press regularly to inform them of pending legislation in the House, hold regularly scheduled Town Halls, whether in person or virtual, and make myself absolutely accessible to you.  This is what I have done as Mayor, and Oak Harbor has benefited greatly.  Why?  Because a WELL INFORMED PUBLIC returns power back to the people, not special interests. 

Unequal Rights

Our State has fought to restrict progress in our communities. The Legislature is worried about PROTECTING SPECIAL INTEREST GROUPS over defending the fundamental rights of ALL OF OUR CITIZENS.  As such, women's rights ARE ALWAYS under attack.  Current representation has been RELENTLESS in it's assault on the reproductive rights of women.  Our officials have decided that they have the right to CONTROL a woman's body and the decisions she makes.  A woman's right to choose isn't important to our Legislature, where both chambers are DOMINATED by men.  

The LGBTQ community is discriminated against under the guise of conservative values. Failing to take action on HB 160, which would offer protections regarding sexual orientation or gender identity from discrimination in housing, employment and other areas is appalling.  Instead of defending our residents, the House chose to let this bill die in committee.

The State has also chosen to RESTRICT VOTING RIGHTS of our residents, to which I WAS A VICTIM. As a VETERAN, I raised my right hand to SUPPORT and DEFEND the Constitution of the United States, to which a fundamental right to vote is protected. Unfortunately, while serving in the Army and maintaining residency in Oak Harbor, the State of Ohio FRIVOLOUSLY removed my names from the voter rolls, PREVENTING me from voting.  Being told that I wasn't permitted to vote; a right I put my life on the line to defend, was heartbreaking, and PREVENTABLE.

As Mayor, I was one of the only local officials who came out in support of the LGBTQ community, issuing a proclamation for Pride Month in June.  As Representative, I will take the fight to Columbus to ensure ALL residents in our communities are represented equally.  I will NOT vote yes to a single issue restricting a woman's right to choose how to manage and care for herself.  When legislation like this is presented, I will MARCH side-by-side with the women in our communities to defend THEIR RIGHTS. And I will fight to PREVENT the attack on voting rights, as I have seen first hand the detriment it causes.