Why are you interested in the position of State Representative?
I’m interested for a variety of reasons. I’m interested in public policy issues. I’ve been involved with them in Illinois before I came to Ohio. I’m a graduate of Kenyon College and The Ohio State University Law School. I’ve been involved in public policy issues here in Ohio and locally. I think I can bring a fresh perspective to the office for the benefit of the 68th District.
What is something you can bring to the table that you think your opponents cannot?
I have experience as a legislative staffer in Illinois. I worked for the Illinois Senate. I was a lobbyist in Illinois for a while and have done some lobbying here. I’m familiar and comfortable working with the legislative process, and I feel that with my experience it would beneficial and I believe that is something that separates me from my opponents.
What are the two biggest issues in the district and how do you plan to address these?
Actually I believe there are really three issues but they kind of fold into one. The first one is jobs and economic development. No doubt that we need to continue to develop our county and the state and bring good jobs that will promote good industries and good careers for individuals in the county as well as Delaware County, and of course Central Ohio and the state.
The second issue has to do with the relationship with the state budget. It’s clear that the cuts in local government aid and some of the other cuts that occurred in the state budget have adversely affected our local school districts and our local units of government, our cities, municipalities and villages. It’s all tied together. If we have economic development, we don’t have to raise taxes but we can utilize the economic development to develop more resources that can be a benefit to the state.
The third aspect which I think is extremely important to this district is the fact that there has been one party rule in this county for I believe at least 46 years. I looked it up, and it may even be 48 years now. I think it was 1964 the last time a Democrat was elected State Representative or State Senator in our District. And I think that’s too long. I think we need some fresh voices. And I would tell the people that I would be independent. I am a Democrat. There’s no doubt about that, but I’d be independent in my outlook. As I’ve told people before, there are 99 people in the Ohio House of Representatives. And if I was the only one who stood up for an issue and I got out-voted 98-1, if it was the right thing, that’s what I would do.
How would you go about bringing more jobs to Ohio?
I think we need to build upon our strengths. We have several strengths, especially here in the county and in Delaware County. Statewide, we have a very strong educational system. We have an outstanding system of public education, higher education and private colleges also. We need to take advantage of those resources and try to help them help us bring companies into both our local area, the 68th District and Central Ohio, and statewide. We have a particular strength in this area with energy-related businesses, there’s no doubt about that, between Ariel, Rolls-Royce and Jeld-Wen. We have a lot of gas development here, too. So we have a natural kind of synergy that I would like to explore in connection with people in the colleges and universities here in the district, to go out and talk to people and see whether they’re interested in settling here.
Do you feel legislation should be passed to stop double-dipping and why?
Double-dipping is a complicated issue. First of all, I will say that I am not a double-dipper. I am self-employed and trying to save money for my retirement, which hopefully won’t be too close. Double-dipping is the issue, of course, when people who have worked their job for state or local government or the school district, have worked enough to qualify for retirement. And then they retire, start to get their benefits, which they have earned, according to the contract they signed and according to law, and then come back and are hired back in the same position. And in effect they are paid twice, or at least that’s what some people believe, are paid twice for the same job. I’m not trying to duck this question, but I think I’d like to look into this more carefully and determine the motivation for the units of local government and the schools as why they do this? I would like to see new people come in and new ideas come in rather than just hiring the old person back. If there’s some way we could work it out, maybe extend their tenure a little bit and continue to pay them and have them continue to build up their retirement benefits so we wouldn’t have that problem in the future. I don’t know if I’d want to pass an outright ban until I do some more investigation on that and talk to the school districts here, talk to the local units of government and talk to the county commissioners and find out if they feel it is an issue that is deserving of legislative action.
Why should people vote for you for state representative?
I would work hard. I believe I am qualified. I would work on behalf of the citizens of the 68th Legislative District. I would be responsive to their concerns, always available to them. I would not move to Columbus. I would probably commute every day. I would have a district office where I would be available on a pretty regular basis to see people and help them with their concerns.