The Blade/Amy E. Voigt
Restoring jobs to the Sylvania area was a key talking point for many who spoke Monday at a Meet the Candidates Night at Southview High School.
Each candidate was given about four minutes to speak about his or her platform during the forum, moderated by WTOL news anchor Chrys Peterson. About 150 people attended.
State and national candidates from all political parties were invited, including those running for local Ohio General Assembly seats, the two area U.S. House of Representatives seats, and U.S. Senate from Ohio. Of 16 candidates who were invited, five attended.
While many of the candidates shared their opinions on topics ranging from education to Medicaid, Democrat Angela Zimmann, who is challenging incumbent Bob Latta for Ohio's 5th Congressional District, garnered support and strong applause from the audience when she asserted her dominance.
“Half the battle is showing up,” she said. “My opponent Bob Latta has not shown up.”
Mr. Latta, a Republican from Bowling Green, attended a different event at the same time.
“The other half of the battle is working hard. Jobs are the number one issue in this election. My opponent Bob Latta voted against the auto industry,” Ms. Zimmann said. “I will always show up. It's not about me. It's about you, and making northwest Ohio not just a better place to live, but the best place to live.”
State Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township), the incumbent in House District 47, also stressed job-development in the area.
“It's about jobs. Jobs solve all the problems of the world. Finding a way to recreate and invigorate the opportunity for Ohioans to have jobs is what we need to be focusing on,” Ms. Sears said.
She cited a particular interest in education, as did her challenger, Democrat Jeff Bunck, a retired Anthony Wayne High School government teacher also from Monclova Township. Mr. Bunck said his background in education and his strong work ethic have influenced him to take on what he sees as “attacks in education.”
“I'm really very frustrated with what's been going on in the last two years,” he said, adding that average, middle-class Americans were under attack. “They aren't the problem.”
But Eric Eberly, a Libertarian who also is running for Congress against Mr. Latta and Ms. Zimmann, had a different approach entirely. Government, he said, has caused many of the problems residents are seeing impact their communities.
“Government intervention in so many ways has caused the job crisis,” he said. “We need more honest, hardworking people to take a stand. We really need to take control over our country.”
Mentioning the likes of Ron Paul and Gary Johnson, Mr. Eberly stated that citizens should get more involved in making sure that the government doesn't rule over them.
“We need to take more control of our government and live free,” he said.
State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green), a veteran local politician now seeking a return to the Ohio Senate in the 2nd district, agreed that having an active attitude goes a long way.
“That's the one thing I do in my life: I show up," Mr. Gardner said. "When you put your name on the ballot for public office, you're asking people to hire you. I still have the passion.”
Mr. Gardner, who is running against Democrat Jeff Bretz of North Baltimore to succeed State Sen. Mark Wagoner (R., Ottawa Hills), cited examples of his support for the educational system as driving factors for wanting to stay involved in the political game.
“I have always believed that the real seat of power is not in the White House or the State House. The real seat of power is that chair behind the teachers' desk,” Mr. Gardner said.
The candidates' night was sponsored by the Sylvania Schools' Parent School Council, the Sylvania Senior Center and the Northwest Ohio teachers unions.
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