HUDSON — Seventeen county and state candidates took the stage of Hudson High School Auditorium Wednesday to share their views during the annual Summit County General Election Forum, presented by the League of Women Voters Hudson.
The event preceding the Nov. 6 General Election was moderated by Barbara Hipsman Springer, a retired journalist and current member of LWV Kent. The audience was welcomed by the president of LWV Hudson, Maura McCaughey.
On hand at the forum were Summit County Council At-Large candidates Clair E. Dickinson (D), Michael Washington (R) and Elizabeth Walters (D); 27th District State Senator candidates Kristina Daley Roegner (R) and Adam VanHo (D); 9th District Court of Appeals Judge candidates Diana Colavecchio and Jennifer Hensel; 37th District State Representative candidates Mike Rasor (R) and Casey Weinstein (D); Common Pleas Court judge candidates Jill Flagg Lanzinger, Susan Baker Ross, Kelly L. McLaughlin, Dave Lomardi, Kathryn Michael, Tom McCarty and Amy Corrigall Jones; and 14th District Congressional Representative candidate Betsy Rader (D).
14th District Congressional Representative candidate Dave Joyce (R) did not appear at the forum. Other candidates listed in the League’s voters guide who were not present included County Council At-Large candidates Cynthia D. Blake (R), Nicholas Robert DeVitis (R) and John Donofrio (D).
Candidates for the Ohio Senate and Ohio House of Representatives sat down with Hipsman Springer for conversations and questions. Their opening statements, responses to vetted questions from the audience, discretionary rebuttals and closing remarks were timed. Candidates in county races were given time at the podium to speak, but were given no questions.
27th District State Senate race
Daley Roegner opened with complimentary remarks about Hudson, where her parents moved to 30 years ago and where she and her husband have raised their three daughters. She said throughout her eight years as the State Representative in the 37th District, she has “worked hard and served with integrity.” She said the district is competitive and it’s been a pleasure to serve it.
"I am a conservative,” said Daley Roegner. “I work very well across the aisle to get things done in Columbus. And I do believe in our state motto: With God all things are possible.”
VanHo, a resident of Munroe Falls, maintains a law office in Hudson. He grew up in Euclid, after his mother came to America from Slovenia. His father’s family has been in Ohio since the 1800s. He said he’s worked for two county prosecutor’s offices and three attorney generals before starting a private practice.
“I am an unabashed moderate and I believe we need to return to the days when the parties could speak to each other with civility,” VanHo said.
They were asked about the state’s $2.7 billion rainy day fund after state funding to municipalities was cut. Daley Roegner said that in 2011, the state had to decide whether to cut spending or raise taxes, and legislators decided to cut spending across the board.
“I anticipate some of that money will go back to the local governments,” she said.
State legislators, she said, need to think creatively. Daley Roegner has introduced a bill in the General Assembly that would make the prevailing wage permissive and give local governments the freedom to pay their employees less than the wage currently mandated by the state.
VanHo said there are many communities in Summit County, including Macedonia, that have had to ask for more money to fund safety forces.
“As a result of those cuts made by the state legislature, you see communities throughout the sate of Ohio struggling,” he said. “You see police levies coming up. You see fire levies coming up … We need to return that money back to the people.”
VanHo said cuts to safety services couldn’t have come at a worse time with the ongoing opioid epidemic. Daley Roegner said the state government takes the drug problem seriously.
“We’ve put over $1 billion a year toward fighting the opioid epidemic,” she said.
37th District Statehouse race
Weinstein and Rasor are running for Daley Roegner’s seat in the House, which she is vacating due to term limits. Weinstein, a graduate of the U.S. Air Force Academy in Colorado Springs, described himself as a “military brat” growing up all over the country. A U.S. Air Force veteran, he met his future wife at the academy and the couple came to Ohio when she was assigned to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton.
They settled in Hudson where they are raising two girls, he said, adding he is impressed by the community and its residents. Weinstein is a managing client director and member of Hudson City Council.
“It’s been a terrific proving ground for me because I am the Democrat on Council, so to do anything I’ve had to work across the aisle,” he said.
Rasor, a business attorney and member of Stow City Council, said he was 24 when he first ran for council, “and people laughed at me.”
That was nine years ago. During that time, Stow’s debt was greatly reduced without raising taxes or cutting programs.
“We buckled down because the consequence of not doing so — my hometown, the city that helped raise me, would have to raise taxes, and a lot of middle class families could not afford it,” he said.
Rasor describes himself as a fiscal conservative.
On the state’s drug problems, Weinstein said funding needs to be restored to cities and counties and go toward safety forces. He also said the state needs to maintain Gov. John Kasich’s Medicaid expansion.
“Nothing is more fundamental than access to care,” Weinstein said, “both on the preventative side and the treatment side.”
Rasor said he is pro-life, but also believes society is not “doing a good enough job to end generational poverty.” He said he will work to help single mothers get jobs and child care.
Weinstein said he doesn’t believe it’s the government’s place to regulate what a woman does with her body.
“The aim for all of us is the reduce the number of unwanted pregnancies and to reduce the number of abortions,” he said. “The very clear way to do that is to provide women’s access to health care and contraceptives.”
Reporter Steve Wiandt can be reached at 330-541-9420, email@example.com or @SteveWiandt_RPC.