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Published: Sunday, 10/31/2004

Ohio House: 6 in Toledo area compete for 3 Statehouse positions

Voters in Lucas County will decide three state representative races, all but one of which have incumbents running for re-election to a post that pays $54,942 annually.

In the suburban 46th House District, political newcomer Mark Wagoner is challenging former Maumee city councilman Nancy Patrick Greeley for the seat held by state Rep. Lynn Olman (R., Maumee), who is running for Lucas County commissioner.

Both of the candidates are attorneys with local law firms who point to their legal experience as reasons they're qualified for the job.

Ms. Greeley, a Democrat, said she would be a strong voice for constituents in Columbus because of her past position in a political office, helping to promote controlled growth in Maumee in places such as Arrowhead Park.

Mr. Wagoner pointed to his energy as well as the fact that he would be a Republican in a GOP-controlled House as reasons he could deliver results for residents.

In the 49th District, state Rep. Jeanine Perry (D., Toledo), a former Toledo councilman who has held the House seat for more than a decade, is being challenged by political newcomer Christopher Myers, a Web master for the University of Michigan's school of education.

Not surprisingly, both candidates list the looming state budget deficit among the state's biggest challenges.

Mr. Myers has suggested returning the budget to covering just the state's necessities, much like a struggling family has to balance its checkbook by buying only essentials.

Ms. Perry argues that it's not that easy, and she said lawmakers need to take a look more closely at existing taxes to determine whether they are really necessary and whether they fund their original purpose.

Mr. Myers has criticized Ms. Perry for being absent - both on the campaign trail and from high-profile legislation in the House. Among his plans: to arm each of the state's estimated 148,000 seventh graders with personal computers.

But Ms. Perry has argued that she has worked quietly in a Republican-controlled house, building alliances and working on quality-of-life issues.

Among her accomplishments was the support of legislation that cut taxes on cancer treatment drugs, raised fines for railroad companies whose trains block traffic for too long, and strengthened the restrictions on convicted sex offenders.

State Rep. Peter Ujvagi (D., Toledo) is running for re-election in the 47th House District and is opposed by Republican Mike Goulding, a Toledo attorney.

Mr. Ujvagi, a longtime Toledo City Council member and past council president, was first elected to the House in 2002.

Mr. Ujvagi's significant legislative victory in his freshman term was the passing of the Patriot Plan, which provides benefits and protections to Reserve and National Guard members on active duty outside the state.

The bill passed unanimously.

Mr. Goulding, a partner at Shindler, Neff, Holmes, Schlageter, and Mohler, is a newcomer who has never held public office.

If elected, Mr. Goulding has said he would propose a state constitutional amendment that would allow casino gambling in some cities. He said it would not only bring in more money for the state but also jobs for this part of Ohio, which has not had a full job recovery.

The 48th District will have just one candidate, state Rep. Edna Brown (D., Toledo), on the ballot. Her Republican challenger, Zachary Haughawout, has dropped out of the contest.

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