Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Saturday, October 7

General Assembly Races: News and Notes

Items of interest in General Assembly contests:

7th Senate District: Rick Smith (D-Cincinnati) will appear at a Front Porch Pancake Breakfast hosted by John Karabaic and Cheryl Crowe on Sunday, October 8th, at 3545 Zumstein Avenue in Hyde Park, contribution $10. RSVP to pancakes-at-exnext-dot-com.

11th Senate District: Today the Toledo Blade reported that eight priests convicted or accused of sexually abusing children still retain their state-issued teaching certificates. State Sen. Teresa Fedor (D-Toledo), who has led a crackdown on child abuse by clergy members, issued the following statement:
“Children need to be made a priority in Ohio and clearly that is not happening when accused or convicted sex abusers are still able to instruct our kids in the classroom. What message does that send to our children, their parents and the taxpayers? It tells them that public office holders and those in charge of protecting our children are allowing predators to take precedence over our most vulnerable citizens. It is the duty of the public office holders to constantly review public policy and ensure we are doing everything in our power to protect our children.

The Blade’s story today further proves we need procedures in place for temporarily revoking the professional licenses of those charged with sexual offenses. When lawyers face misconduct charges before the Supreme Court, there are license revocation procedures that must be followed. Whether it is a social worker, day care provider, teacher, or anyone else who works with children, there must be a similar process put in place. Protecting our children must become Ohio’s first priority and not an afterthought.
State Sen. Marc Dann (D-Liberty Twp.) and Fedor announced yesterday that they are introducing legislation that will give victims of child sexual abuse and other sexually-oriented crimes more time to seek justice from their abusers and those who may have covered-up for them.

21st Senate District: The Cleveland Plain Dealer today endorsed Rep. Shirley Smith (D-Cleveland) over Richard Norris (R-Cleveland). The editors praised Smith's understanding of critical urban issues. She "has been outspoken about possible racial or geographical disparities in the state's application of capital punishment" and "[h]er call for a moratorium on the death penalty pending further study has received lots of attention." The district comprises most of Cleveland's East Side, Cleveland Heights, East Cleveland, University Heights, Bratenahl, Brooklyn Heights, Cuyahoga Heights and Newburgh Heights.

7th House District: The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that "more than 1,500 absentee ballots sent to voters in several Cuyahoga County communities listed the wrong party affiliations" for Rep. Kenny Yuko (D-Richmond Heights) and opponent Beverly Valencic (R-Euclid). More than 4,300 voters have requested absentee ballots in the district, but Yuko brought the error to the attention of the Board of Elections after the first batch had been mailed. Director Michael Vu claimed that ballots are proofread three to five times, by a team of one Democrat and one Republican. Yuko has been urging constituents to vote straight Democratic "and to vote by absentee ballot to avoid long lines and confusion at polling places." He said that the oversight weakens his faith in an elections board that he calls "No. 1 in incompetence." "I don't have to tell you what this news did to my heart and my stomach," Yuko said. "If they couldn't function properly during the May primary, and they couldn't get a legitimate absentee ballot out, it doesn't make me feel safe that they will do it right starting now."

52nd House District: The Akron Beacon Journal today endorsed Rep. William Healy II (D-Canton) over Eric Waldrop (R-Canton), citing Healy's leadership on the predatory lending law earlier this year and praising him for "being a strong voice for constituents." The editors say that he "would be a valuable contributor to the debate on school funding and other issues of broad impact." Waldrop is criticized for supporting a flat state income tax, which would impose an "added burden to middle-income taxpayers" and "harm the state's ability to invest in its future."

92nd House District: Debbie Phillips (D-Athens) charged opponent Rep. Jimmy Stewart (R-Athens) on Thursday with using war widows as political footballs. At least three times during the past two years, Phillips said, Stewart and other Republicans voted to block a common sense plan to award free college tuition to the spouses of those killed while serving in active military duty in Iraq, commanded to do so by Republican leaders because it was put forward by a Democrat. The measure was eventually passed when it was re-introduced by a Republican.

Phillips called Stewart’s treatment of Iraq war widows "outrageous and indefensible." Education is one of Phillip’s major issues and she believes that is it crucial to be competitive in a knowledge based economy. “I’d like to hear Jimmy Stewart try to defend these votes. The fact is, he can’t. No one could,” Phillips said. “I disagree with the Bush administration about the conduct of the war in Iraq. But, our brave service men and women are making enormous sacrifices to serve our country. They deserve our respect, our support, and fair treatment by our government.”

Phillips also announced her support for a plan to make college more affordable for servicemen and women when they return home. The plan, announced by Ted Strickland in June, would ensure that that no one eligible for the G.I. Bill pays more than 25 percent of tuition costs at a public Ohio university. Currently, the G.I. Bill only covers a fraction of costs.

Phillips was joined at the news conference by Korean war veteran and Athens County Commissioner Bill Theisen, Iraq war veteran Fred Riffle, relatives of an Iraq soldier on leave, and Korean War veteran Bob Smiddie.

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