Local Candidates Speak at First Church
With the May 2 primary election less than two weeks away, this Tuesday’s Candidates’ Night provided Oberlin citizens and College students the opportunity to meet and ask questions of many candidates on the ballot, as well as to brush up on some of the key issues.
City Councilman David Ashenhurst, who organized this candidates’ night with the support of other volunteers and the Oberlin Office of College Relations, moderated the event.
“The reason we had this,” said Ashenhurst, “is because we like candidates’ night and saw that there wasn’t an event scheduled in the south part of Lorain County.”
Ashenhurst emphasized two goals he had in organizing candidates’ night: to make it bipartisan and to allow unopposed primary candidates the chance to speak as well.
“The idea here was to level the playing field for all and allow everyone an opportunity to hear all the candidates on the ballot,” said Ashenhurst.
Sal Talarico, finance director for the city of Oberlin, discussed the city’s three replacement tax levies that will appear on the ballot. The levies would fund police and fire services as well as public security, among other things, and would cost the average homeowner of a $100,000 home an additional $23 in taxes per year.
A former employee of the Murray Ridge Center discussed Issue 17 on the ballot, which would continue a renewal levy that supports the Murray Ridge Center. The center provides lifelong support to Lorain County Citizens with developmental disabilities through a variety of services, some of which are located in Oberlin. The levy provides one third of the organization’s current budget.
After issues were presented, candidates for district, county and statewide positions spoke about their campaigns.
Beth Thames, district director for Congressman and current candidate for United States Senate Sherrod Brown, spoke about Brown’s candidacy.
“Sherrod has fought an administration that has betrayed the public’s trust and that has lost its sense of fairness, integrity and direction,” she said. “I hope you join us in this fight — I think we’re in for a very exciting year.”
After Thames spoke, candidates competing for four different judgeships on the General Division of the Lorain County Court of Common Pleas spoke: Kreig J. Brushnahan, Raymond Ewers, Michael E. Brosky, Jim Burge, John R. Keys, Geoffry R. Smith and Jim Miraldi.
The General Division of the Court of Common Pleas addresses civil and criminal cases, while the Domestic Relations division hears cases relating to juveniles and family issues. David J. Berta discussed his candidacy for the Domestic Relations division of the Court of Common Pleas.
Mark Stewart, who is running unopposed in the primary and general election for the position of Lorain County Auditor, spoke about what the position entails. Stewart has held the position 12 years now and has spent 30 years working in the auditor’s office.
Two candidates running for the open Lorain County Commissioner seat, Democrats Betty Blair and Rita Canfield, spoke about their candidacies. Blair is seeking her fifth four-year term as Commissioner. Canfield has served on several local associations and boards, including the Lorain County Community College Board of Trustees, the Community Foundation of Greater Lorain County, the Lorain Country Farm Bureau and the Lorain County Township Association.
Two candidates for the 13th district of the Ohio State Senate spoke as well: Democrats Sue Morano and Martha Wise. The 13th district encompasses Lorain County, Huron County and part of Seneca County.
“I really know what it means to work for a living,” said Morano, who has worked as a registered nurse for 24 years and spoke with passion about her campaign.
“A river of corruption is running through the halls of Columbus,” she said, mentioning high drug costs and insurance premiums specifically. “This one power rule can’t be allowed to continue — it’s unfair to workers and working families.”
Wise has worked on the state board of education for 28 years. She promised leadership, service and results.
“When someone needs to get something done,” she said, “I know how to get it done in Columbus.”
John Quinn and Clair Dickinson spoke about their candidacy for the ninth district court of appeals judgeship.
Quinn emphasized his experience as a trial court judge, which he said was very important in determining whether or not other trial court judges are doing their jobs correctly.
Dickinson described the position: “The job of the court of appeals is
to make sure that people that have come before trial courts have been treated
fairly,” he said. “I’m running this year because I can’t
think of anything I could do in my life that would be more important than making
sure people are treated fairly.”