Hudson -- Candidates for District 3 of the Summit County Council faced off on opiates, gun control and the Local Government Fund 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 Gloria Rodgers (R) is opposed by David Worhatch (D) for her seat on Summit County Council. District 3 includes Hudson, Stow, Silver Lake and Ward 8 of Cuyahoga Falls.
Worhatch graduated from Notre Dame Law School and has been an attorney for 37 years.
"A trial lawyer has to be a quick study and remain faithful to his client's interests and only those interests."
Rodgers is a nurse and ran a small business.
"I have a good working record," Rodgers said. "I work well with County Council, and I have to do my homework. Sometimes I agree, and sometimes I disagree."
Candidates were asked what role the county played in the opiate crisis.
Rodgers said it took weeks for beds to open for treatment but added 18 detox beds at the IBH Addiction Recovery Center in Akron.
The ADM (alcoholism, drug addiction or mental illness) is using money to deal with the opiate issue with the help of ER rooms, the sheriff's department and EMS.
"We have to start with early education in school," Rodgers said. "Drug use begins at 12 years old."
Worhatch said the state can't rely on treatment and needs to get ahead of the problem.
There needs to be a "see something, say something" intervention, he said.
"There has to be some way to promote education about the signs [of addiction] and what they can do," Worhatch said. "Head off the issues before a problem exist."
Candidates were asked about gun sales, especially at the Summit County Fairgrounds.
Worhatch said there needs to be more controls and who has access to guns at a state level. The state laws would usurp any legislation at the local level, he said.
"The second amendment gives us the right to possess weaponry but doesn't mean weapons or power that can wipe out a whole school," Worhatch said.
Rodgers said she attended gun shows and said there were strict rules inside but worried about sales in the parking lot, where police need to patrol to prevent illegal sales.
"We need to make sure guns don't get into the wrong hands or are gotten illegally," Rodgers said. "Make sure the law is followed and if broken, enforce the laws."
Candidates were asked how has the state eliminating the Local Government Fund affected local government budgets?
Rodgers said the Local Government Fund was passed in the 1930s when states needed money and they were supposed to share with local governments. Now they keep it, she said.
Summit County weathered the economic storm in 2009 because of its rainy day fund of $25 million, Rodgers said. The county reduced its workforce by 800 and became more efficient, she added.
"It was not fair to cut the funding," Rodgers said. "It's hard to make up."
Worhatch said the Local Government Fund leveraged state funds and targeted cities who didn't have the base to generate tax dollars.
Because the state legislation eliminated the fund, local municipalities have less money for safety forces and road repairs.
"All these costs are shoved to the local level," Worhatch said.
5th Ohio State School Board
In addition the candidate for 5th Ohio State School Board incumbent Roslyn Painter-Goffi spoke about her qualifications but her opponent, Lisa L. Woods, did not appear at the event.
Painter-Goffi said she had 30 years in education with a passion for education.
"Public schools and teachers are under attack," Painter-Goffi said. "I'm concerned about the excessive testing and accountability for teachers."
She said charter schools have created a "mess" in Ohio.
With House Bill 2 the Ohio State School Board can write rules and regulations to make charter schools accountable.
Currently the board has 11 elected members and 8 appointed members. She would like to see the board composed of all elected members.