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Boehner challenger kicks off campaign in Oxford

OXFORD — One of three people who have declared they will challenge Speaker of the House John Boehner for the 8th Congressional District seat in the spring primary kicked off his campaign Tuesday.

Tom Poetter, an Oxford resident for 17 years and an education professor at Miami University, pledged during a campaign kickoff at Uptown Memorial Park to represent the people rather than special interests.

“I’m energized to create something different. That is an approach to public service and politics that is more about service, more about relationships, and more about duty than about arrogance, greed and political machinery,” Poetter told a crowd of about 80 people who had gathered for the kickoff.

Poetter, a Democrat and a native of St. Mary’s, Ohio, said he realizes challenging Boehner in a very heavily Republican district will be an uphill battle.

Boehner has been the 8th Congressional District representative since January 1991 and Speaker of the House since January 2011. Boehner has earned more than 60 percent of the vote in each of his campaigns.

But Poetter said he has run into many people of both parties who are not satisfied with the incumbent, particularly in the wake of the government shutdown.

“When we isolate ourselves, cut off communication, guard our turf, we have tyranny. We have gridlock. And we do damage to the public good. If you elect me to office, I will lead. I will not embarrass you. I will listen to you, I will work for you, and I will reach across the aisle,” he said.

Some people came from outside of Oxford and even outside of Butler County, to hear what Poetter had to say Tuesday.

“I think he has a really good chance … It will take a lot of blood, sweat and tears (to beat Boehner), said Tana Fodt of Troy, who works at the Miami County Board of Elections.

Mark Hardig of Ross Twp. said of Poetter, “He’s very impressive. He’s a pretty good speaker, and I like his ideas.”

Holli Morrish, Poetter’s campaign manager told the audience, “It is really important for us to start out in Oxford … to come here first, so that Tom could talk to his friends, his neighbors and his colleagues and students, and announce to all of you first that he’s got the desire to run for Congress in 2014 and take on a Goliath like John Boehner.”

Poetter said, “I’ve lived my entire life overcoming odds, being the underdog and winning when no one thought we had a chance. If you join me and you aren’t scared, we can defeat Goliath together. We have the know-how, we have the courage, and we have the confidence to do it,” he said.

West Chester Twp. businessman Eric Gurr and Matthre Trisler, a Tipp City Republican and truck driver, have also announced they will challenge Boehner for his congressional seat.

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