Republican To Challenge Phillips For 94th District Seat

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A Washington County nurse and school volunteer has announced she will challenge Rep. Debbie Phillips for the Ohio 94th Congressional District seat this November.

Yolan Dennis, of Warren Twp. in Washington County, filed petitions Thursday, Jan. 30 to the Athens County Board of Elections to formally jump in the race as the Republican challenger.

Dennis is a graduate of Cincinnati's Bethesda Hospital Nursing School and has worked in family medical practice for 15 years, according to a press release from her campaign. She has also served as a Parent Teacher Association officer in the Warren School District and as a Certified Lay Speaker and Sunday school teacher for Tunnel United Methodist Church.

"Over the years I have become very concerned with the direction of government, both in Columbus and in Washington D.C.," Dennis said in the release. "The citizens of the (Ohio 94th) district have suffered from the power special interest groups have gained over our government in Washington and even here in Ohio."

Dennis is hoping to unseat Rep. Phillips (D-Albany), who is serving her third term in the Ohio House. The 94th District covers all of Meigs County, all of Athens County except Trimble Twp., the southwest portion of Washington County and the eastern portion of Vinton County.

"I want to be an advocate for the farmers, the small business owners, the skilled workers and the energy producers in Ohio. In medicine, we diagnose problems, and we apply remedies for our patients. In the same way, we must all work together to find solutions for the citizens of [Southeast] Ohio," Dennis said.

Phillips was narrowly elected to the Ohio House in 2008, winning 50.5 percent of the vote. She won more comfortably in her re-election efforts, winning 64 percent in 2010 and 72 percent in 2012.  If re-elected, term limits would make this coming term Phillips' last in the Ohio House.

Phillips, the second-highest ranking Democrat in the Ohio House, was often rumored to be a possible running mate to Ed FitzGerald, the Cuyahoga County Executive campaigning for the governor's seat. Any potential for a FitzGerald-Phillips ticket never materialized and Phillips has spent the past few months gearing up for her fourth election and helping campaign for a potential Hillary Clinton presidential run.