Ohio Sen 3rd: Debate Exposes Candidates' Contrasting Stance on School Funding
As reported in the Columbus Dispatch and the excellent blog The Ohio Twenty-first, last night's debate at Otterbein College in Westerville between small business owner Emily Kreider (D-Westerville) and State Sen. David Goodman (R-New Albany) produced a striking contrast on education: Kreider is committed to overhauling the unconstitutional school funding system in Ohio, and Goodman thinks the state is doing fine.
As quoted in the Dispatch, Goodman said "I do think we spend too much on property taxes, but it is up to each community to decide whether they want to pass those levies or not. We are spending an extraordinary amount on education in Ohio and are a model for the rest of the country." The latter statement reportedly "drew a cynical laugh from the crowd."
Kreider responded that Goodman's statement "tells me that, in his mind, the property tax issue is under control." Kreider didn't give specifics on how she would lower property taxes, saying "[w]e’re not at the point where we’re ready to say what we want to do. But the first step definitely is to make the commitment to do that. I’m ready to find a new way of funding our schools."
Kreider brought pie charts to show that much of Goodman's campaign money comes from political action committees, saying "I believe the source of a politician’s contributions say a lot about who they’ve been listening to." Most of Kreider's money is from individuals. Goodman again attacked her for not always voting during the last twelve years.
The newspaper makes much of three individuals purportedly disrupting the debate by "shouting at Goodman." Blogger Mark Grimsley, a professor of history at Ohio State University, writes that he "simply do[es] not recognize the part of the story that suggests a meltdown." He explains that a retired U.S. Air Force veteran name Mahmoud El-Yousseph "became frustrated when Goodman steadfastly denied having ever said" that Arabs are "scum" and "filth," an accusation that El-Yousseph bases on an email from an attorney who once had an office near Goodman's. After El-Yousseph spoke at some length, the moderator "managed to get Mr. El-Yousseph to subside." It sure doesn't sound like Goodman was "verbally attacked by a hostile crowd," as claimed in the headline to the Dispatch article. Grimsley promises a second installment of his report on the debate.
I just spoke to Kreider, who was on her way to her endorsement interview at the Columbus Dispatch. She said that the debate provided "more evidence of how out of touch Goodman is with the voters in the district." In his opening, Goodman said "we need to stay the course," which shows that he is miles apart from the majority of Ohioans who feel the state is on the wrong track.
UPDATE: Good wrap-up of the debate by Bonobo on Blue Bexley.