Sunbury/Big Walnut COC hosts Candidates Night at BWHS
By LENNY C. LEPOLA
News Assistant Managing Editor
The 2012 General Election is just around the corner, and candidates for elected office are using every venue that they can afford to stump for votes. It’s estimated that the presidential race will top $1 billion in campaign costs, much of that money going to television advertising.
Candidates closer to home cannot afford mass media campaigns. They have to get out, knock on doors, look folks in the eye and shake hands, and attend functions where they have the opportunity to explain their positions.
Two of those opportunities took place last week, thanks to members of the Sunbury/Big Walnut Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with the Eastern Delaware County Republican Club and the Delaware County Democratic Party. Last Thursday evening featured the annual Candidates Night at Big Walnut High School; and the following Friday morning the Chamber of Commerce held a Candidates Breakfast sponsored by Manos, Martin & Pergram LPA at NorthStar Golf Club.
COC Board President Dave Martin introduced the candidates; Eastern Delaware County Republican Club member John Whitney was the timekeeper. The rules were simple. Candidates running for contested offices were allowed three minutes at the podium, with Whitney flashing warnings cards at one minute and 30 seconds.
Incumbent Republican Congressman Pat Tiberi, seeking reelection in Ohio’s 12th Congressional District, is running against Democratic challenger Jim Reese. Both were present at Friday morning’s event.
Tiberi said he’s frustrated with Washington, and how mandatory spending has grown to almost two-thirds of the federal budget. When mandatory spending outpaces discretionary spending, it becomes more difficult to balance the budget, Tiberi said.
“The huge challenges ahead are going to take leadership from the White House and Congress,” Tiberi said. “We’ve got to get more jobs, that starts with energy and ends with taxes. We need leadership and common sense solutions.”
Jim Reese said he’s running for the 12th Congressional District seat because, as a small business owner, he understands the struggles of small businesses.
“We find ourselves in the greatest recession since the Great Depression,” Reese said. “I want every citizen to prosper. I believe a consumer economy; a trickle-up rather than trickle-down economy. When people have the ability to choose, we prosper. And we have to end tax subsidies for imported Chinese goods — that only undermines the American economy.”
Scott Rupert is running as an Independent Party candidate for a U.S. Senate seat.
“I’m not a politician; I’m a truck driver, an average American,” Rupert said. “I’m on the ballot because the Constitution says I can be on the ballot. The Constitution sets the bar to be a senator so an average American is qualified, and if we see something wrong we can do something about it.”
Rupert said he wants bring back local government control, and, in his words, get the federal government behaving the way it’s supposed to.
“Right now we give the federal government all of our money and then have to beg to get it back,” Rupert said. “The federal government is good at dividing Americans into special interest groups, and then getting them fighting against each other. They know that 350 million individuals thinking independently are hard to control. I intend to actively solve problems instead of just campaigning against them; and our $16 trillion debt must be controlled.”
Margaret Ann Ruhl and John Ryerson are seeking to serve residents of the newly-formed Ohio House of Representatives 68th District.
The 68th House District includes all of Knox County and part of Delaware County. The parts of Delaware County included in this new 68th District are: precincts in Kingston, Porter, Berkshire, Trenton, Harlem and Genoa townships as well as the villages of Galena and Sunbury.
Westerville precincts that are in Delaware County are also in the new 68th District; and some Columbus precincts that are in Delaware County are also in the new 68th District.
Ruhl, a Republican, is currently serving her second term representing Ohio’s 90th House District.
“I was born in Knox County on a dairy farm and am a Mount Vernon resident,” Ruhl said. “I’m a member of the legislature’s Agricultural and Natural Resources Committee; Transportation, Public Safety and Homeland Security Committee; and serve as vice-chair of the Financial Institutions, Housing and Urban Development Committee.”
Democrat John Ryerson, also running for the 68th Ohio House District, graduated from Northwestern University, The Ohio State University School of Law, and is a practicing attorney who has lived in the district for 34 years.
“I believe in small towns and local government, and especially water and wastewater issues,” Ryerson said. “School funding will be my number one priority. School funding in Ohio has been ruled unconstitutional four times, but nothing has been done to fix it.”
Ryerson said he would also work to restore cuts made to local government.
State Representative Andy Brenner, currently serving the 2nd Ohio House District, is running for reelection for the newly carved 67th Ohio House District that includes the western two-thirds of Delaware County.
Brenner said two years ago Ohio had 9.8 percent unemployment; today that number is 7 percent.
“Today Ohio is fourth in the nation in job growth, and number one in the Midwest,” Brenner said. “Education funding reform has desperately been needed for a long time; and I will continue to work towards modernizing state agencies to cut costs and increase efficiency.”
Republican incumbent Delaware County Commissioner Ken O’Brien said he was born and raised on a Delaware County dairy farm and loves the county.
“When I’m making decisions I ask myself what will these decisions mean 50 years from now,” O’Brien said. “Our ancestors worked very hard to make Delaware County what it is today. We need to look at the comprehensive plan, do some wise planning, and then implement the plan.”
New to the political arena is former Delaware Gazette/Sunbury News Publisher Gary Merrill, a Republican candidate for Delaware County Commissioner who cites business experience as his most valuable asset.
“A county commissioner is basically a CFO for the county, and with my background I would be very helpful in that regard,” Merrill said. “I’ve been told I have the right way of asking the right questions; and I’m committed to helping the board of commissioners of this county serve all residents of the county. I’m a fiscal conservative that believes in spending smartly, not spending just because you have the money.”
Rick Beer, a Capital University Criminology graduate, is a Democratic candidate running for Delaware County Recorder who said he wants to bring integrity back to the Recorder’s Office.
“Why is the Recorder’s Office important?” Beer asked. “Because all county real estate documents are there; and if there is a history of those records being compromised banks will not lend money.”
Beer noted that the current Delaware County Recorder is appointed, and, he added, in two years she hasn’t attended one Tax Records Committee meeting.
Running for a seat on the bench of the Ohio Court of Appeals 5th District is Jeanette Moll.
Moll said the 5th District covers 15 Ohio counties, and serves 1.5 million people, but all of the seated judges are from Canton. Moll said she has worked in probate, juvenile and general courts – specializing in domestic abuse and high-conflict family law.
“I’m the only candidate from a small town,” Moll said. “I’m a strict constitutionalist. My job would be to implement law and not legislate from the bench.”
Seeking seats on the non-partisan Ohio State Board of Education, District 6, are Mike Collins, Kristin McKinley and John Stacy.
Collins cites his business and public education experience, and said: “The future of public education holds the key to economic development in Ohio.”
McKinley is a current District 6 State Board of Education member seeking a second four-year term; her last because of term limits.
Stacy said some school districts in the state are very good; some not so good. He said the state board of education would look into the education funding issue during the year ahead.
Running unopposed, but present, was Delaware County Prosecutor Carol O’Brien.
Martin closed the NorthStar Golf Club breakfast session encouraging everyone to get out and vote.
“If you don’t vote,” Martin said, “don’t complain.”