Hudson -- Candidates for the 37th District for State Representative shared their views on charter schools, gun control, abortion and term limits Oct. 18 during the "2016 Conversation with Candidates" sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Hudson at the Laurel Lake Retirement Community. Barbara Hipsman Springer, LWV Kent member, was the interviewer.
Incumbent Kristina Daley Roegner (R) faces Casey Weinstein (D) for a seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Roegner said she would be the best person for the position because she "loves Hudson" where she has lived for 14 years. She served five years on Hudson City Council and six years as state representative. Because of term limits, she can only serve one more two-year term.
Roegner said she is a conservative, pro-life, supports the second amendment, support local government over big government and believes the private sector should create jobs. Weinstein said he was the best person for the position because he is an Air Force veteran and chose to live in Ohio. He earned a master's degree in business from The Ohio State University and has spent a decade in business. He has been on Hudson City Council for one year.
He said he brings new ideas such as investing in the local community for growth, investing in public schools and encourages changes for new eco-friendly industries.
Candidates were asked if charter schools need more regulation and whether recent changes with House Bill 2 were enough.
Weinstein said Ohio charter schools were a "national embarrassment" and described as the "Wild West" by others.
"They funnel money from public schools and 60 out of 65 in the state were rated poor or ineffective," Weinstein said. "We haven't done enough."
Weinstein said "drastic measures" were needed, such as shutting schools down and returning funds to public schools but added if a charter school was working, it would remain open.
Weinstein said. "I don't think we can wait any longer. We're losing millions of dollars and kids are losing their education."
Roegner said she sponsored House Bill 2 for charter school reform which increases oversight, transparency, and prevents sponsors from hopping from one school to another.
"More needs to be done but House Bill 2 is a good start," Roegner said.
She is drafting legislation to return misused money from charter schools back to the public school district instead of the Ohio Department of Education.
"Everyone is different, and we need different schools but quality schools," Roegner said.
Another topic was background checks for the sale of guns.
Weinstein, who said he comes from a military and police officer family, supports gun ownership but said 82 percent of NRA members believe in strong background checks.
"There's a huge disconnect," Weinstein said. "We need to stand up firmly for second amendment rights but support sensible gun regulations. Don't put citizens in danger."
Roegner said she believes in the second amendment for law abiding citizens and for the defense of self and families.
"I support sensible background checks," Roegner said. "I have a concealed carry permit."
Candidates disagreed on the pro life vs pro choice stand.
"I'm very strongly pro life," Roegner said. "I believe in the sanctity of life."
She supported the state's Pro-Life Viability Bill which prohibits abortion after 20 weeks in a pregnancy.
"As long as a baby is viable outside the womb, no abortion," Roegner said. "Every life is sacred."
Weinstein said a decision to have an abortion should be between a woman and her physician.
"I fundamentally don't think the government should decide what a woman should do," Weinstein said. "It's a personal health care decision and a woman's decision for what is best for her body."
Both candidates agreed they did not like term limits.
The lobbyists who spend years trying to promote their issues are more informed about government legislation when experienced legislators are forced out by term limits and inexperienced ones take over, Roegner said. An incumbent has a lot of accomplishments and experiences to share.
"The electorate can decide who is not serving well, that's where I fall," Roegner said. "The only benefit is, fresh people get in."
Weinstein agreed that new legislators provide fresh ideas but the governmental office loses information.