Here is a summary of The Blade's endorsements in key election contests.
He's not perfect, but AL GORE is clearly the better prepared of the two major candidates to be president. Beyond the superficial issue of personality that unfortunately has dominated the campaign, he most assuredly has the edge in terms of both policy and a lifetime of preparation for the most demanding job in the world.
In eight years as vice president, Mr. Gore has demonstrated that he knows how to make government work. His proposals for continuing to balance the federal budget, solidifying Social Security, adding a prescription drug benefit to Medicare, and making progressive appointments to the Supreme Court represent both sound and mature policy. He should be elected 43rd president of the United States.
We would liked to have seen a robust, energetic campaign featuring two qualified candidates, but the Democrats fielded what amounts to a token choice. Republican MIKE DEWINE, on the other hand, has assembled an admirable first-term record on a number of issues of importance to Ohioans, including speeding up adoptions and protection of foster children; improvement of pediatric research, asthma research, and children's hospitals, and more funds for improving crime laboratories and drug interdiction efforts. Mr. DeWine should get a second six-year term.
MARCY KAPTUR has a history of hard work, broad vision, and committed constituent service to Toledo and northwest Ohio. She also has the advantage of incumbency in the 9th District, as illustrated by her ability to get money in the federal budget to fund establishment of the Fallen Timbers national historic site. She deserves re-election to a tenth term.
Having said that, we are pleased that Ms. Kaptur's opponent, Dwight Bryan, has run a stronger campaign than Republican candidates usually manage in the 9th District. He is bright and articulate, though a bit too dependent on the Republican platform, and he doesn't live in the district.
Ohio needs a high court less willing to exceed customary legal bounds on such issues as school funding and tort reform. We believe that goal will be accomplished if voters break up the court's activist “Gang of Four” to elect Judge TERRENCE O'DONNELL and re-elect Justice DEBORAH COOK.
In House District 50, the race is a three-way rematch of two years ago. We believe that former Toledo city councilwoman JEANINE PERRY, who has been a locally focused member of the Democratic minority in Columbus, deserves a second term as state representative.
For House District 51, LYNN OLMAN has been productive with such measures as a new law that gives larger townships more power in regulating growth. The Maumee Republican also has worked for issues important to the “Other Ohio” and should get another term.
TERESA FEDOR is our choice in the hotly contested 52nd District. A veteran 4th grade teacher at Burroughs Elementary School, Ms. Fedor understands the issues related to school funding that will be paramount in the next session of the General Assembly.
In the far-flung 53rd District, CHRIS REDFERN, of Port Clinton, should be elected to his first full term in the legislature. Personable, smart, and energetic, Mr. Redfern has shown the potential for bipartisan leadership during his first year in Columbus.
While some might criticize a legislative job-swap necessitated by term limits, ROBERT LATTA has had a successful four-year term <$eb> in the Ohio Senate and should be elected to represent Wood County in House District 4. State Rep. Randy Gardner, term-limited for the House seat, is unopposed in Senate District 2, now held by Mr. Latta.
Finally, REX DAMSCHRODER, of Fremont, merits re-election in House District 89. Mr. Damschroder has represented the district since 1995 and has taken on a variety of causes, including tougher enforcement of trains blocking city streets and rural roads.
We believe Ohioans should say YES to state Issue 1, the $400 million bond issue to clean up polluted industrial “brownfields” and provide funds for parks and other new green space. Our endorsement carries a caveat: that the General Assembly will maintain strict oversight to ensure that projects are selected in a fair and impartial manner.
For county commissioner, we endorse veteran Toledo city councilman ROB LUDEMAN, who has all the credentials for this important post: youth, energy, independence, and, especially, bipartisanship, which is badly needed on the current all-Democrat board. His opponent, incumbent Bill Copeland, has a long history of accomplishments as a city councilman, county recorder, and county commissioner, but he would be 82 at the end of another term, and he's had a recent history of health problems.
In order to break a 52-year Democratic stranglehold on another local office, ROGER BAKER should be elected county engineer. Mr. Baker, a fully qualified professional engineer and licensed surveyor, is pledged to open up this musty political fiefdom with a modern personnel policy that gives minority job applicants a chance. His opponent was handpicked for the job from another county less than two years ago.
Only one Common Pleas Court judge has a contested race, and we endorse incumbent JAMES BATES. Judge Bates is well-qualified - even his opponent concedes that. The other judges on the common pleas bench apparently see no merit in claims of conflict because the judge's wife, Julia Bates, is county prosecutor. They chose Judge Bates as the court's presiding judge.
Toledoans should strike a blow against political bossism by voting YES on Issues 3, 4, 5, and 6. These are good-government amendments to the city charter which require early elections to fill council vacancies; staggered terms for at-large and district councilmen; a mechanism for letting an outside commission set the salaries of the mayor and councilmen, and new language making the city charter gender-neutral.
Toledoans pay some of the highest electric rates in the nation. Voting YES on Issue 2 will allow city officials to bargain for lower rates for the entire city under the state electric deregulation law that takes effect Jan. 1. We endorse Issue 2 and its companion ballot measures, Issue 10 in Oregon; Issue 12 in Maumee; Issue 13 in Sylvania; Issue 15 in Holland; Issue 16 in Waterville, and Issue 30 in the county's unincorporated areas.
This is a critical issue for Toledo Public Schools and its chances to improve. It's a smaller levy and would run for just three years, giving the new superintendent and school board time to institute reforms. If it fails, cutbacks would be disastrous. We urge a vote FOR Issue 23.
Voters first approved this 1-mill levy in 1970 and reauthorized it in 1980 and 1990. Bus fares haven't gone up since 1991 and service has improved. We recommend a vote FOR Issue 29.