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Published: Sunday, 11/2/2008

Gillmor tries to reclaim 26th District


Some voters in northwest Ohio will see a familiar political name on the ballot for state Senate when they head to the polls this week.

Karen Gillmor, 60, the widow of former U.S. Rep. Paul Gillmor (R., Tiffin) is running for the 26th District seat. During the 1990s, Mrs. Gillmor represented the 26th District for two terms in the Ohio Senate.

The 26th District includes Sandusky, Wyandot, Crawford, Marion, Union, and Logan counties, as well as portions of Ottawa and Seneca counties.

After her husband s death in the fall of 2007, Mrs. Gillmor said she was urged by friends to run for his congressional seat but she didn t want to move her children to Washington.

A lifelong teacher with a doctorate from Ohio State University, she said she hopes to work in Columbus on education reform as Gov. Ted Strickland rolls out his education plan. Since I ve taught everything from Head Start through doctoral students, I thought perhaps there should be a Republican alternative, Mrs. Gillmor said.

Her opponent, former Marysville Mayor Thomas Kruse, who turns 69 today, said he thinks 11 years of experience as an executive has helped prepare him for Columbus.

The district is made up of a great many small towns and villages, and having been a small town mayor for as long as I have, I have a pretty good understanding of the needs of small towns and villages, Mr. Kruse said.

He claimed that Mrs. Gillmor never took the time to visit the district s small towns, such as Marysville, when she previously represented the district.

In the 2nd District, Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills) is running against Rossford school board member Jackie Brown, 45.

The district includes all of Wood County, as well as portions of Lucas County and Ottawa County.

Mr. Wagoner, 37, who was appointed to the state Senate seat vacated by Randy Gardner, said he led the charge in the Statehouse to renew the Clean Ohio Fund and helped create the recently passed jobs package.

Ms. Brown said one of her main issues is reforming how education is funded in the state. She said she would look at weeding the garden and cutting inefficient state programs in order to increase school funding.

State senators serve four-year terms and are paid $58,900 a year.

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