Ohio2006 Blog

News, analysis, and comments on Ohio elections.

Thursday, October 5

Ohio House Races: News and Notes

Events of the day in Ohio House of Representatives races:

UPDATE - 19th District: Marian Harris (D-Columbus), taking on incumbent Larry Flowers (R-Canal Winchester), has issued a press release today calling for universal early childhood or pre-K education. Drawing on her experience as a pre-school teacher, Harris cites three urgent reasons why a growing number of states have initiated pre-K programs:
(1) Educational equity – research shows that early education provides children with skills necessary for later school success. Studies in states that have pre-K found that children had clear gains in early language, literacy and mathematical development.

(2) Economic returns – A major study released by the business backed Committee for Economic Development indicated that every dollar invested in preschool is expected to yield $2 to $4 in future benefits to society, including savings to states from less crime and lower remedial educational costs down the road.

(3) Easing financial burdens on parents – Enables working class parents to provide quality care for their children.
Illinois recently passed the first law in the nation that establishes the goal of universally-available public preschool for all 3 and 4 year olds – 190,000 publicly-funded slots by 2010. "As your state representative, I will work to ensure that our youngest citizens get a good start," Harris said. "We can’t afford not to! It’s good for the kids, it’s good for the parents and it’s good for Ohio!"

57th District: Challenger Matt Lundy (D-Elyria) issued a press release charging Rep. Earl Martin (R-Avon Lake) with attempting to orchestrate a self-serving land grab. Martin lives in a lakefront home and would personally benefit from H.B. 206, a bill sponsored by Martin. “Earl Martin is trying to enrich his property through his own legislation," said Lundy. "How self-serving and unethical can you get?” Lundy challenged Martin to remove himself from the bill, which extends private property ownership to the low-water mark. Ohio law now provides that coastal lands are held by the state in trust for all Ohioans up to the high water mark. “He wants to grab public property from Ohioans for his personal gain," said Lundy. "He wants to be a beach bully by turning families and fishermen who walk along the dry shoreline into criminal trespassers." Lundy criticized Martin for spending more time on his self-serving land grab than on solving the real problems facing Ohio. “For him, it’s all about Earl. His priorities are wrong for our families. We have school funding problems, soaring tuitions and high unemployment, and all he wants to do is focus on himself,” added Lundy. “He needs to spend more time working for the families of Ohio."

64th District: The Warren Tribune-Chronicle endorsed freshman incumbent Randy Law (R-Warren) over challenger Tom Letson (D-Warren). The editors praise Law for helping to pass tougher landfill regulations (although Letson has criticized them for not being tough enough), and blame Letson for approving a landfill while serving on the Warren Board of Health. They also praise Law for bringing state funding for various projects into the district, and dispute Letson's contention that Law walks in lockstep with Gov. Taft (R) and gubernatorial candidate Ken Blackwell (R). On school funding, the editors seem to be impressed with law's statement that "We’ll be having this conversation 10 years from now," although that doesn't sound promising to me. They object to Letson's criticism of the commercial activity tax for including grocery staples like bread and milk, his support for equalizing school funding among districts, and his belief that retired teachers should receive social security in addition to their school pensions.

79th District: The Ohio Elections Commission voted 5-1 to clear Dave Fisher (D-Bethel Township) of an alleged falsehood in his campaign literature. In a flyer, Fisher stated that incumbent Diana Fessler (R-New Carlisle) voted against S.C.R. 11, a measure that supported keeping open the area's largest employer, Wright-Patterson Air Force Base. The complainant, a long-time Fessler supporter, contended that she voted against the measure by mistake (the vote was 96-1, with Fessler casting the only "no" vote) and tried unsuccessfully to change the vote afterward, but the OEC ruled that Fessler's official vote makes the statement in the flyer accurate. Fisher spoke on his own behalf before the OEC, saying “When the day has ended, and the lights go out in the state house, Diana Fessler still voted ‘no’ and that vote stands unchanged to this day.” Reacting to the decision, Fisher said “I am pleased that truth has prevailed in these proceedings, and that the Commission was steadfast in following the right and just path.” Hat-tip to the excellent blog Dayton Politics.

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