Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Tuesday, August 8

Ohio House 91st: Dodd (D) at 134,000 Steps in the Right Direction

On April 22, ten days before the primary, 91st Ohio House District candidate Dan Dodd (D-Hebron) announced that he and his wife would don pedometers and keep track of how many steps they take spreading their campaign message across the sprawling district. Dodd, pictured at right between ODP Chairman Rep. Chris Redfern (D-Catawba Island) and Dodd's wife Stephanie, calls it his "One Million Steps in the Right Direction" program, and he posts the cumulative total of their steps regularly on his campaign blog. Dodd says, “Some candidates are afraid to say anything about where they stand on the issues and substitute clichés for commitments. The men and women of the 91st district deserve more. That’s why we're taking our message to the voters, one step at a time.” According to his August 1 entry, they're now at about 134,000 steps, or nearly one-seventh of the way to their goal.

The 91st District is in Pickaway, Hocking, Perry, and Licking Counties. Incumbent Rep. Ron Hood (R-Ashville) ran for the Ohio Senate, 31st District, but lost in the primary to Tim Schaffer (R-Lancaster). Dodd ran against Hood in 2004 and got 47.36% of the vote. (In 2002, Brad Gothard (D) lost to Larry Householder (R) by 33.33% to 66.67%.) Dodd is opposed by attorney and former city law director William Hayes (R-Pataskala) .

Early in the campaign Dodd distinguished himself from his opponent by opposing the TEL amendment, a draconian government spending limitation that was touted by gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell (R-Cincinnati) before he dropped it and agreed to a weaker legislative substitute. More recently he has focused on attacking Hayes' support for H.B. 530, which would allow school districts to place levies on the ballot to automatically increase property taxes yearly without the consent of the voters. “This (H.B. 530) will really put a strain on folks with fixed incomes, especially seniors,” Dodd has said. “There is no way a candidate can claim he’s looking out for seniors, support this legislation, and be honest about both.” Dodd has also signed the Anti-Tax Pledge of the group Americans for Tax Reform (which Hayes has not done), although Dodd is critical of some positions espoused by that organization. In the pledge, Dodd affirms that he will "oppose and vote against any and all efforts to increase taxes." Dodd also supports the “Turnaround Ohio” plan created by gubernatorial candidate Rep. Ted Strickland (D-Lisbon) and the November ballot initiative to increase the minimum wage.

Dodd is one of the more active candidate-bloggers in Ohio. In a recent post entitled "Ignoring Our Problems," Dodd criticized GOP legislative leaders for their "plans to round up illegal immigrants and ship them back to their native lands." While Dodd agrees that "the only people who should be in our country permanently are those who entered legally," he chastises GOP leaders for ignoring "more pressing problems in this part of Ohio" such as "the ever-growing meth problem":
Hardly an evening news broadcast goes by where we don’t see someone getting arrested for having a meth lab in their home, car or barn. ... Instead of spending millions of dollars paying off rich people who give campaign contributions, why aren't we helping our local law enforcement agencies win the war against meth?
Dodd was born in New Lexington, Ohio, where he delivered the Zanesville Times Recorder and later worked at a McDonald’s. He graduated in 1996 from Bishop Rosecrans High School in Zanesville, where he played football and baseball and belonged to the Key Club and the National Honor Society. In 1998 he was an intern for U.S. Sen. John Glenn. Dodd earned an undergraduate degree in history and political science from Villanova University in 2000 and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati College of Law in 2003. He now practices law with his father and sister at the firm of Robert J. Dodd, Jr. Co. LPA, with offices in New Lexington, Zanesville, The Plains, and Marietta. Dodd has been endorsed by the Ohio Education Association and the Ohio Federation Of Teachers.

Dodd has some positions on social issues that would be anathema in a liberal Democratic district, but are popular in the conservative 91st District. For example, Dodd says on his web site that he is "100% pro-life and my religious faith leads me to not support abortion," although he also accuses many pro-lifers of having "a woeful record when it comes to improving the quality and culture of life for children" and says he "do[es] not support eliminating programs for pre-natal care or instruction for new parents." He also "wholeheartedly support[s] gun ownership for self-defense and for hunting purposes" and supports the establishment of a concealed carry law "which does not require law-abiding citizens to obtain permits for carrying a concealed weapon." Dodd earned an "A" rating from the National Rifle Association during his 2004 campaign. However, Dodd is "troubled by the lack of respect given to our natural resources by one-party rule in this state."

On other issues, Dodd's positions echo those of Democrats all around the state. "In times of economic hardship, middle and lower income Ohioans need the most help," Dodd writes. "It is inconceivable to me how our General Assembly can ignore this basic rule and pass an income tax reform measure that disproportionately benefits wealthy Ohioans, while at the same time giving schools and colleges less money than what they need to educate Ohioans." He also states that "every Ohioan, regardless of income, ought to have the right to health care" and "I am giving the men and women of the 91st district my word to fix our school funding system by promising to sponsor a constitutional system of school funding in my first term in office."

On the topic of public corruption, Dodd is ferocious. "In recent months, newspapers across Ohio have exposed the schemes of several Republican contributors to fatten their wallets at the expense of Ohio taxpayers and businesses," he writes. "At a time when Ohio businesses needed help due to a struggling economy, the Bureau of Workers' Compensation was giving money hand over fist to Bob Taft's friends to invest in Beanie Babies and baseball cards." Blame for the woeful underperformance of Bureau of Workers Compensation investments "lies with investors whose main qualifications were their relationship with Bob Taft, Jim Petro, Ken Blackwell and Betty Montgomery," and "Ohio must ban political contributions from people doing business with the state."

Upcoming events for Dodd include a fundraiser at the VFW Post on State Route 93 S in Logan, Ohio at 1:00 pm on August 12, the Pickaway County Chamber of Commerce Candidates Forum at JR Hooks Cafe in Circleville, Ohio at 11:00 am on August 15, and the Pataskala Street Fair Parade at noon and the Perry County Democratic Forum Picnic in the Park at Somerset Park from 4:00 to 9:00pm on August 19.

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