All five Republican candidates on the March 15 ballot running for the Ohio House 68th District seat attended last Friday morning’s Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce breakfast at the Big Walnut Grill.
GOP candidates Myles Bancroft, Rick Carfagna, Beth Lear, Patrick Quinn and Jason Rogers each had three minutes at the podium to introduce themselves and explain their platforms.
Bancroft said many Americans today feel hopelessly lost, and Ohio has the opportunity to provide much-needed leadership.
“Ohio has a rich history of solving problems and leading the way,” Bancroft said. “This state has done more for this country, including producing eight presidents, and Ohio can lead the way again. It’s folks like us working together that can show the rest of the country how to solve problems.”
Bancroft said he would represent the people of the 68th District with voice, vigor and accountability.
Carfagna, who is serving his second term as a Genoa Township trustee, said residents of the 68th District are blessed to be living in Ohio’s cradle of prosperity, with a median household income near $90,000, and a strong housing market.
“Delaware County is well-positioned for years to come,” Carfagna said. “I offer the right balance of private- and public-sector experience for this job. I’ve worked both ends of the private sector – a family business and a major corporation; and I have a strong record in local government.”
In addition to past experience working as a legislative aide in the Ohio House, Carfagna said he has developed strong political and business relationships throughout the 68th District. His platform includes stopping tax hikes, creating more jobs in Ohio, defending freedom via a pro-life and Second Amendment stance, and encouraging community-based leadership.
Lear describes herself as pro-life, a member of the National Rifle Association, and a military veteran. Lear said Delaware and Knox counties are key to what’s happening throughout Ohio; that business owners in the 68th House District are concerned about excessive regulations and increasing taxes.
“What happens when people elected to represent you, and then end up working for lobbyists?” Lear asked. “Government spending has increased 29 percent since 2011, and the regulations that are stifling our economy keep coming. The last thing I ever wanted to do was be a politician, but I’m doing this for my children and grandchildren, and for yours. I’m someone who represents you.”
Lear, who worked as a legislative aide for 10 years and is self-employed as a legislative analyst and researcher, said she is concerned about Ohio being 49th in the nation in economic performance during the last eight years.
Quinn, who describes himself as pro-life, pro-gun, anti-Common Core, anti-Obamacare, and a constitutional conservative, said he is the only GOP candidate in the race with an actual plan and a realistic vision of the future.
“It’s easy to talk about generalities; it takes courage to have a plan,” Quinn said. “I want to reform how schools are funded, saving 70 percent on your property taxes by going to a sales tax to fund education. I also believe we should evaluate what schools are spending money on, and make cuts to things that have nothing to do with actually educating our future generation.”
Quinn also said Ohioans need to take better care of their military veterans; and he is against all immigration of people from the Middle East, except Israelis.
Rogers, a cattle farmer, an NRA life member, military veteran and two-term member of the Centerburg Board of Education, calls himself a nontraditional candidate.
“Our country was founded by representation,” Rogers said. “I’m a fiscal and social conservative, and I’m not afraid to stand my ground. My morals and my values will never be compromised. My motivation for becoming your state representative is not to be a career politician, but to be a representative of the people. The state representative position should not be considered a job, but a service of common-sense leadership.”
Rogers said the 68th House District is one of the most diverse districts in the state. It includes Butler Township in Knox County, one of the poorest in the state, to Genoa Township in Delaware County, one of the wealthiest.
Also at the breakfast was John Russell, running unopposed in the Democrat primary for the 68th House District. Because he is running unopposed, Russell was introduced, but did not receive time at the podium.
Kristine Hodge, superintendent of the Delaware County Board of Developmental Disabilities, spoke about her board’s 2.1-mill, $13 million levy on the ballot.
“We have a $20 million budget, and serve 2,500 individuals plus their families, 80 percent of them children,” Hodge said. “We have a passion for serving. What we do is vital, and this levy is vital for helping our most vulnerable citizens.”
Also speaking were Christopher Geer and Randall Fuller, candidates for judge of common pleas court’s domestic relations division.
Geer, who served as a domestic relations judge in Franklin County, said he has the experience to set up the new domestic relations division, so that it would run smoothly and efficiently and not harm children involved in domestic relations disputes.
A Delaware County native, Fuller, citing endorsements by the Delaware County Republican Party, the Delaware County sheriff, State Auditor Dave Yost and Sunbury Mayor Tommy Hatfield, said he has the knowledge, skills and lifelong commitment to launch the first domestic relations court in the county.
The 68th Ohio House seat will be vacated by Margaret Ann Ruhl at the end of this year because of term limits.
Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.