COLUMBUS (WCMH) — If you ask Jim Renacci, he’ll tell you he has been an underdog his whole life.
The son of a poor, blue-collar family from coal mining town in western Pennsylvania; Renacci started with practically nothing and learned quickly that if he wanted something he had to earn it.
As a boy he would always be looking for odd jobs here and there, trying to bring in what little money he could.
And whenever his family would travel to Ohio, it was like a paradise to him.
Renacci says he can remember growing up that Ohio would call to him as if it was this land of opportunity where dreams come true.
When it was time for college he decided Ohio was where he wanted to be.
He worked his way through his secondary education; one of the jobs was as a mechanic.
After graduating, he started his first business in the healthcare industry.
Over the next 20 years, he would take that business and turn it into 60 businesses across the state.
He sold the businesses and tried to retire, but that didn’t last. Retirement was certainly not for him.
So he started over again, only this time his businesses focused on a completely different set of industries.
At one point, Renacci had his money invested in all sorts of things from sports teams to restaurants to car dealerships.
Despite being a part-time mayor for a time, it was when the bubble burst that politics started to creep into his life.
His was one of the thousands of GM dealerships scheduled to close and he reached out to an Ohio congressman for help.
Renacci says he was given assurances that when it came time to vote for which dealerships were saved, his would be one of them.
That didn’t happen though, and Renacci was angry.
He vowed to do everything in his power to remove the congressman from office, and eventually Renacci won a congressional seat himself.
But Washington D.C. was not what he expected, and in the first caucus meeting he was in at the nation’s capitol he realized exactly what he had gotten himself into and his disillusionment began to sink in.