|Member of the Ohio House of Representatives
from the 67th district
January 5, 2001-December 31, 2006
|Preceded by||George E. Terwilleger|
|Succeeded by||Shannon Jones|
Thomas A. Raga (born 1965) is an American politician of the Republican Party who previously represented the Sixty-seventh District (Warren County) in the Ohio House of Representatives. In February 2006, he was named by J. Kenneth Blackwell as his running mate in the May 2, 2006, primary for Governor and Lieutenant Governor. Blackwell and Raga won the Republican nomination, but lost the November 7, 2006, general election to Ted Strickland and Lee Fisher in a landslide, 60-36%.
A native of Cincinnati, Raga graduated from Moeller High School in 1984 and from Cornell University received a B.S. in agricultural economics. Raga moved to Deerfield Township, Warren County, Ohio in October 1995. Raga's first elective office was as a trustee of Deerfield Township, elected on November 4, 1997 by defeating long-time incumbent Bob Carter. In the three-way race for two seats, the results were 2,338 (33.65%) for Raga, 2,480 (35.69%) for Larry Backus, and 2,130 (30.66%) for Carter. He served from January 1, 1998 to his resignation in December 2000. (Barbara Wilkens Reed was appointed his successor.)
On March 7, 2000, he won a three-way primary against attorney and former Mason mayor Betty Davis and Clearcreek Township trustee Ed Wade to replace Republican state representative George E. Terwilleger, who was forced to retire because of Ohio's term limits. Both Davis and Wade had lost the 1992 Republican primary to Terwilleger for the open seat. Raga wrote in the Dayton Daily News he was running because
We all know the issues affecting our daily lives, including: education dilemmas with inequitable and insufficient funding, meaningful achievement standards and learning in an environment free from fear; health-care issues affecting the affordability, accessibility and quality of care; and controlled and balanced growth issues involving expansion of infrastructure while maintaining green space and our own unique community standards and way of life.
The Dayton Daily News wrote "Mr. Raga, a Deerfield Township trustee, calls for lower taxes and putting families first on Ohio's agenda. He favors local control of schools and basic education. But he is short on details about how he, as a state representative, would accomplish those goals" and endorsed Davis. Davis had the backing of former Warren County representative Corwin M. Nixon, Terwilleger's predecessor and Republican leader in the Ohio House for years. Raga campaigned hard in northern Warren County and had the support of Lori Viars, head of the Warren County Right-to-life organization. Raga spent $50,000 on the primary. The results were 11,875 votes (45.32%) for Raga, 9,432 (35.99%) for Davis, and 4,898 (18.69%) for Wade.
On November 7, 2000, he was elected State Representative for the Second District, which comprised all of Warren County. In the general election, Raga faced landscaper Richard J. Inskeep, 42, of Mason. Inskeep had previously lost races for the Mason city council and the Seventh Senate District, losing to Richard H. Finan. Inskeep told The Cincinnati Enquirer "I'm not looking at beating Tom Raga. I'm looking at putting the issues out on the table that I think are important." The Dayton Daily News endorsed Raga, saying "He is a more proven quantity", unlike Inskeep, who "has no experience in government and little in community leadership." Raga easily defeated Inskeep in the heavily Republican county 48,498 (75.39%) to 15,833 (24.61%). Raga raised over $120,000 for his 2000 campaign.
After redistricting, Warren County was split into two districts. Raga's district became the Sixty-seventh and comprised about two-thirds of Warren County including all of Franklin, Clearcreek, and Turtlecreek Townships, and the western part of Deerfield Township, plus all of the cities of Franklin and Lebanon; the Warren County portions of the cities of Carlisle, Springboro, Monroe and Middletown; and most of the city of Mason. Since his election in 2000, Raga has been re-elected without opposition in every primary and general election.
Raga is married to Jean M. Raga, a real estate agent, and they have two children, Colleen and Rick. They are Roman Catholic and attend St. Susanna Church in Mason, Ohio. His daughter Colleen attends Adelphi University in Garden City, New York where she is majoring International Studies and is a member of the women's volleyball team. His younger son, Rick, is attending St. Susanna school in Mason, Ohio.
||This article includes a list of references, related reading or external links, but its sources remain unclear because it lacks inline citations. (April 2009)|
- Kevin Aldridge. "Statehouse race poses uphill battle for Democrat Inskeep." The Cincinnati Enquirer. March 19, 2000. B5.
- Lawrence Budd. "Raga Unapologetic About War Chest: Campaign coffer in state race tops $120,000." Dayton Daily News. October 27, 2000. 1B.
- "Betty Davis Best Choice in 2nd House District." (Editorial). Dayton Daily News. February 17, 2000. 16A.
- Tom Raga. "2nd Ohio House District: GOP." Dayton Daily News. February 17, 2000. 16A.
- "Raga Best Choice for 2nd District." (Editorial) Dayton Daily News. October 26, 2000. 16A.
- Richelle Thompson. "2nd District up for grabs." The Cincinnati Enquirer. January 8, 2000. B1.
- Howard Wilkinson. "Blackwell picks Raga: State representative from Mason joins campaign for governor." The Cincinnati Enquirer. February 6, 2006. C1.