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Published: Sunday, 11/4/2012

NORTHWEST OHIO LEGISLATIVE RACES

Incumbents, newcomers eye seats at Statehouse

BY VANESSA McCRAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Northwest Ohio Legislative Candidates Northwest Ohio Legislative Candidates
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A retiree from Green Springs hopes to unseat state Rep. Rex Damschroder (R., Fremont) in the 88th House District, representing Sandusky County and most of Seneca County.

“I feel that we need to put an end to career politicians. Mr. Damschroder was term-limited out once before,” said Democrat Bill Young, 60, a retired government teacher. “I really felt we need to get new ideas, fresh thinking, and bring jobs and prosperity.”

Mr. Damschroder won election to the state House, where he spent eight previous years, in 2010 after sitting out eight years. The small business owner said he “can’t sit on the sidelines” and watch out-of-control government spending.

“Fiscal responsibility is pretty high on my list,” he said. “You really need watchdogs in government.”

Mr. Damschroder said Ohio is recovering jobs, a credit to Gov. John Kasich and work done in Columbus, and his focus remains on jobs and the economy.

Their contest is among the Ohio General Assembly races this election that feature some familiar faces and redrawn districts.

READ MORE: The Blade 2012 Voters Guide

State Rep. Randy Gardner (R., Bowling Green) is seeking the 2nd Ohio Senate District seat, which includes most of Fulton County, the western part of Lucas County and Wood, Ottawa, and Erie counties. His opponent is Democrat Jeff Bretz of North Baltimore, who could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Gardner was first appointed to the House in 1985 and served in the Senate from 2001 to 2008. He then returned to the House.

“I still have a strong passion to serve, that’s No. 1. There’s just plenty of work to do to make Ohio and our region of Ohio stronger,” Mr. Gardner said.

Education, the health of Lake Erie, and jobs are among his top priorities, he said.

Ohio Democratic Party Chairman Chris Redfern, 48, of Catawba Island Township, is running for the 89th House District, which includes Erie and Ottawa counties. His opponent is Republican Donald Janik of Huron who could not be reached for comment.

Mr. Redfern previously served a decade in the state House and wanted to return because he enjoyed the work and believes his knowledge as party chairman will be helpful to constituents. Protecting Lake Erie, crucial to both tourism and residents, is a key issue, he said.

A race for the 3rd House District, representing Wood County, matches a trio Bowling Green candidates: Republican Tim Brown, 50, Democrat Kelly Wicks, 46,and Libertarian Nathan Eberly all seek the position.

Mr. Wicks has been active with a downtown business association and with his wife co-owns Grounds for Thought, a coffee shop and book store. He’s running partly because he opposes moves made by the Kasich administration and said he’s concerned about jobs.

“I really try to bring a true voice about what it really means to be a small business owner,” he said.

Mr. Brown, a 14-year Wood County commissioner, said he was motivated to enter the race because he wants to offer a “bipartisan” approach. His primary focus is the economy, continuing to attract jobs, and removing “burdensome regulations.”

“I just see how government functions much more capably when people work together,” he said.

Mr. Eberly, a financial analyst, said Ohioans are over-taxed and advocates for “a more sustainable, local-based funding structure.”

“I thought that there’s an opportunity for new views and new ideas to be brought to Columbus,” he said.

Other Ohio General Assembly races of regional interest:

The 46th House District race pits Maumee Republican Dave Kissinger against Rep. Matt Szollosi (D., Oregon). The district includes Maumee, South Toledo, Oregon, and Jerusalem and Springfield townships. Mr Szollosi is in his third House term and is assistant minority leader. Mr. Kissinger, a registered nurse, is a regional vice president for a health-care information technology company who said he’s been campaigning for the post since November of last year.

In the 47th House District, Rep. Barbara Sears (R., Monclova Township) faces Democrat Jeff Bunck, also of Monclova Township. The district includes parts of Lucas County and most of Fulton County.

Mr. Bunck is a retired teacher, and Ms. Sears, who formerly served on the Sylvania City Council, is the House’s assistant majority floor leader.

In the 26th Senate District, Democrat Tanyce Addison, 53, a retired teacher from LaRue, faces Republican Sen. Dave Burke, of Marysville. The district includes Crawford, Marion, Morrow, Sandusky, Seneca, Union, and Wyandot counties.

In the 81st House District, Rep. Lynn Wachtmann (R., Napoleon) faces Montpelier Democrat John Vanover, president of United Steelworkers Local 890L. The seat includes Williams, Henry, and Putnam counties and part of Fulton County

Sen. Cliff Hite (R., Findlay) is unopposed in the 1st Senate District. Rep. Michael Ashford (D., Toledo) is unopposed in the 44th House District representing central Toledo, as is Rep. Teresa Fedor (D., Toledo) in the 45th House District, representing West, North, and East Toledo and Washington Township.

Contact Vanessa McCray at: vmccray@theblade.com or 419-724-6065.



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