Area candidates on the ballot next month met the public and spoke on various topics recently at two well-attended events.
The Stow group, Citizens for NonPartisan Politics, sponsored a Candidates Night Oct. 4 at the VFW/Acker-Moore Memorial Post 175 in Stow. The League of Women Voters of the Akron Area, Hudson and Tallmadge presented a Candidates Forum for Summit County on Oct. 6 at the Cuyahoga Falls High School.
For 37th District State Representative, incumbent Kristina Daley Roegner (R) will face Casey Weinstein (D). Both candidates are Hudson residents. Roegner attended the Stow event and Weinstein attended both.
Weinstein is a U.S. Air Force veteran with a master's degree in business administration and has served one year on Hudson Council. He said state cuts forced local governments to raise taxes to raise funds for "basic fundamentals" like infrastructure.
He said he would look at ways to make big government more efficient and free up the growing industry of renewable energy for jobs and investments in Ohio.
Weinstein said charter schools are "wasting funds" that should go to public schools and would start with a "clean slate" immediately by removing operating licenses from charter schools.
"Hold them to the same standards as public schools," Weinstein said. "It matters for our children."
Roegner has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in business administration. She was elected to Hudson City Council twice and served five years. In 2011 she was elected as state representative and is running for her fourth two-year term. Roegner said she supports a free market and competition, local control not big government, common sense initiative, pro-life and charter school reform.
"The government doesn't create jobs," Roegner said. "The private sector creates jobs."
The economy and education are her top priorities. Schools need to be "top notch" and "properly funded," she said.
For Summit County Executive, incumbent Ilene L. Shapiro (D) of Akron will face Bill Roemer (R) of Richfield. Both attended each event.
Roemer said the heroin/opiate issue was a concern for Summit County and had attended three funerals of victims of overdoses.
"The most important priority is to make sure citizens are safe," Roemer said.
He proposed a three-prong approach: opening the closed wing of the Summit County jail to get dealers off the street, providing additional beds for rehab, and educating the public about the problem.
Roemer said with his experience on Summit County Council and as a CPA, he had the ability to attract businesses. He said he helped to retain large businesses like Goodyear/Goodrich and would work with small businesses where 80 percent of the jobs grow.
"I have the ability to directly interface with businesses," Roemer said.
Shapiro agreed that opiates are a challenge for the community but there wasn't one way to fix the problem. Local resources can help in emergency situations and hit the pressure points, she said. Shapiro said opening the closed jail section is not fiscally responsible. Shapiro said jobs and family services has been hit hardest of county agencies.
"It's one of the largest agencies and touches the widest breadth of people in the community," Shapiro said.
The most important priority is to take care of the people who live in Summit County with jobs, safety and financial security, Shapiro said. The county is creating more jobs with Conexus to match job seekers with companies.
For Summit County Prosecutor, incumbent Sherri Bevan Walsh (D) will face John E. Chapman (R) of Cuyahoga Falls. Walsh did not attend either event. Chapman attended both.
Chapman has been a prosecutor for 13 years and a police advisor for local police. He said the Summit County prosecutor position needs change.
"This county needs change," Chapman said. "We saw drug, crime and gang problems three years ago and they [prosecutors] denied it. I deal with these problems every day. We can't have leaders who have their heads in the sand. They don't go to court. They don't practice law."
For Summit County Clerk of Courts, incumbent Sandra Kurt (D) of Akron will face Ann Marie O'Brien (R) of Akron. Kurt attended both events. O'Brien was at the Cuyahoga Falls event.
Kurt said she has been Clerk of Courts since January 2016 and saved $600,000 by eliminating finance fees to the state of Ohio. Prior to that she served as an at-large Summit County Council member from 2011-15. She is currently overseeing the implementation of electronic filing in the Criminal Division to improve access to court records. She was an industrial engineer at Goodyear for 30 years.
"It taught me to be more efficient and use technology," Kurt said. "I care about your tax dollars and time."
O'Brien has been an attorney for 25 years.
"My entire career has been serving people by representation, including individuals and businesses," O'Brien said. "I want to maximize results with the least amount of cost."
She said she was running because electronic filing needs to be efficient and integrated with the courts.
"We need the maximum results with the least amount of cost," O'Brien said. "The buck stops here."
For Summit County Fiscal Officer, Jeff Iula (R) of Cuyahoga Falls will face incumbent Kristen M. Scalise (D) of Uniontown. Iula did not attend either event. Scalise attended the Stow event.
Scalise oversees a $16 million budget with 150 employees and as CFE, Scalise is a CPA and fraud examiner.
"I'm trained to investigate fraud and prevent it," Scalise said.
Summit County Sheriff Steve Barry (D) of Uniontown and Summit County Engineer Alan Brubaker (D) Akron are unopposed. Neither incumbent attended the events.
More information can be found at www.Vote411.org
Another event, A Conversation with Candidates, is sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Hudson on Oct. 18 at Laurel Lake Community Room on Boston Mills Road in Hudson. The candidates scheduled for the Hudson event include 37th Ohio House Representatives, District #5 State Board of Education and District #3 Summit County Council.