Local Candidates Talk Out the Issues
“I’m here because I feel like I haven’t had a lot of chances to learn about a lot of the higher profile candidates [for] the State Senate or United States House of Representatives,” said Avery Book, OC ’04, on his attendance at the Oberlin Community Candidates’ Night, which was held at First Church on Monday evening.
This sort of education was a theme of the event, which was designed to promote thoughtful voting.
The Candidates’ Night featured 19 candidates in a nonpartisan event. In attendance were Democrat Marcy Kaptur, United States House 9th district representative and State Senate candidates Sue Morano (D) and Martha Wise (R), among others.
Representatives from First Church kicked off the night by listing and describing the complexities of the ballot issues. Issue Two, “Fair Minimum Wage,” comprises a proposed amendment to the Ohio Constitution to increase the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85. Issue Three represents a constitutional amendment that would permit slot machines in certain locations and direct some of its revenue to the public schools.
Issues 4 and 5 — “Smoke Less” and “Smoke Free” — propose two very different policies. “Smoke Less” restricts smoking in certain public spaces, but with the caveat that no further laws could be enacted to ban or restrict smoking in the allowable areas, which consist of most bars, restaurants, smoking sections of hospitals and others. In addition, any existing laws or ordinances to the contrary would be abolished. “Smoke Free” bans smoking in places of employment and most public spaces, including restaurants.
A highlight of the program was the section in which each candidate had the chance to answer a surprise question.
Morano, along with her opponent, Wise, was asked to speak about school funding. Wise argued for long-term reform of the charter school system while Morano addressed the need for a two-year moratorium on any new charter schools in the area.
“Lorain County itself has lost 13 million dollars on the charter school system,” said Morano. “Imagine what could be done with 13 million dollars in Lorain County.”
Wise argued that even though the charter school system may seem like a failure in its current form, the system should be reformed, not eliminated.
“We must fund [charter schools]; we cannot just throw them out in the street,” she said. “As far as how to fund them, we are shifting the paradigm from funding the schools to funding the student need.”
Kaptur spoke on the corruption involved in financing a campaign.
“Right now we can’t limit spending because spending equals free speech,” said Kaptur.
“But it is totally corrupt. I hate it. You should hate it.”
The night concluded with a fiery debate about evolution in school curriculums. The combatants were the candidates for Ohio State Board of Education, Kathleen McGervy and John Bender. McGervy argued that public schools would benefit by teaching creationism, while Bender disagreed and was against mentioning creationism in schools.
“We’ve got to have a clear separation of church and state,” he said.
McGervy spoke passionately about the subject, saying that both sides should be taught to children. She also emphasized that prohibiting the teaching of creationism violates free speech.
“We have a major problem when we can’t mention creationism in front of our children in school,” said McGervy.
More information on the above issues and candidates can be found on the Ohio Secretary of State’s website. Election Day is this Tuesday, Nov. 7.