Candidate stops in Kent

Douglas M. Kafury

Bryan Flannery, democratic governor candidate, speaks to visitors at Susan’s Coffee and Tea yesterday morning. Flannery was at Susan’s for a meet-and-greet session with local residents and students. SAMANTHA RAINWATER | DAILY KENT STATER

Credit: Carl Schierhorn

A Democratic governor candidate stopped in Kent while traveling a road he said he hopes leads him to the Statehouse in Columbus.

Gubernatorial candidate Bryan Flannery and his running mate, Frank Stams, appeared at Susan’s Coffee and Tea for about an hour for a meet-and-greet with local residents and students yesterday.

They passed out bumper stickers and brochures in order to gain support in the May 2 Democratic gubernatorial primary.

Stams said it was important to go out and meet with people face-to-face to gain support.

“Every day we’re gaining more attraction,” Stams said.

Stow resident Geoff Greer said he thought the visit was great, but he admitted he didn’t really know a lot about Flannery. He said the visit has sparked him to learn more about the candidate.

“They’re real people, not just issues on a blog or Web site,” Greer said.

Flannery’s main issue is education, and he pushed his plan to revise Ohio’s school funding system. He said his plan includes defining the cost of an education for children, relieving the tax burden on property owners for education costs and cutting the fat from government to pay for education.

Flannery criticized his opponent in the Democratic primary, Congressman Ted Strickland. He played off of Strickland’s Turnaround Ohio proposal, which provides a plan to create and keep jobs in Ohio.

“When you look in the mirror and you turn around, you’re actually staying in the same place,” Flannery said. “We’re trying to move forward.”

He also criticized Strickland for canceling planned events to meet with the public.

Flannery has been viewed as the underdog candidate to Strickland.

“I’ve been labeled that my whole life,” Flannery said. “It’s a compliment to me.”

He said his hard work, innovation and persistence have always been some of his strongest traits. As member of the University of Notre Dame football team, he used those traits to help lead his team from a losing program to a 1988 national championship, and he said he plans to do the same for Ohio.

Flannery, who is currently a health care consultant, spent two terms in the Ohio House of Representatives and also served on the Lake City Council.

His brother, Daniel Flannery, is the director Kent State’s Institute for the Study and Prevention of Violence, and his collegiate football coach, Lou Holtz, attended Kent State, so Kent was an obvious place to visit for Flannery.

“We have a lot of ties here,” Flannery said.

Both Flannery and Stams were raised in Northeast Ohio, and Stams said the two plan to be in the area frequently.

“This is our stomping grounds,” Stams said. “We’ll be all over the place.”

Contact public affairs reporter Douglas M. Kafury at [email protected]