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ELECTION 2016: Candidates discuss issues at library forum

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Wadsworth Library hosted its 24th candidates forum Monday night with director Daniel Slife telling an audience of about 40 that the goal was to “have an informed citizenry.”

Slife told the 15 candidates in attendance that the event was “not a debate, but a dialogue between voters and candidates.”

Each candidate was given two minutes for an introduction before taking written questions from the audience. The order in which candidates spoke was chosen through a random drawing.

Attendees were:

  •  Republican incumbent county Clerk of Courts Dave Wadsworth
  •  Republican incumbent county Commissioner Pat Geissman
  •  Republican county prosecutor candidate S. Forrest Thompson
  •  Democratic county commissioner candidate Mark Kolesar
  •  incumbent state Rep. Steve Hambley, R-Brunswick
  •  9th District Court of Appeals judicial candidate Thomas Teodosio
  •  Republican county coroner candidate Lisa Deranek
  •  incumbent state Sen. Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township
  •  county common pleas judicial candidate Michael Conway
  •  Democratic U.S. 16th District congressional candidate Keith Mundy
  •  incumbent Democratic county Prosecutor Dean Holman
  •  Democratic 69th Ohio House candidate Frank Zona
  •  incumbent county Common Pleas Judge Christopher Collier
  •  incumbent Republican Recorder Colleen Swedyk
  •  Republican county commissioner candidate Bill Hutson.

The audience was able to compare answers between candidates for the same office on two questions — one about Ohio schools and another about the proposed NEXUS Gas Transmission pipeline.

Hambley and Zona gave their positions on schools and three candidates for commissioner discussed the pipeline.

Hambley said he believes Ohio schools are “overregulated” and students are “overtested.”

He said those factors have led to “decreased quality” and he wants the state to “return power to local districts.” He said he has been endorsed by the Ohio Education Association.

Zona noted he is a graduate of Highland High School, which recently scored well on a national ranking. He said the public school system “needs innovation” and the charter school system in Ohio takes money away from the public districts.

He said education is going through a period of “trying to reinvent the wheel.”

Zona said he has the endorsement of the Ohio Federation of Teachers.

On the question of local control over the proposed $2 billion natural gas pipeline that would travel through the county, Geissman said: “I feel bad about the issue of eminent domain. But the commissioners have no authority to override on this.

“We’ve listened to both sides. We’ve done what we feel we can. I’m sure it will be built.”

Geissman’s opponent for a seat on the board of commissioners, Democrat Matthew Zamborsky, did not attend the forum.

Kolesar is opposing Hutson for the other open commissioner seat on the ballot.

“I’m not excited about the pipeline,” Kolesar said. “What I am about is being the squeaky wheel. I want to protect property owners’ rights and the environment.

“The idea of property owners being bullied gets under my skin.”

Hutson said, “I’ve heard both sides on this. But there’s state and federal control in the matter. You’re trying to balance private property against the needs of the country and the state. It’s like zoning. You can’t do some things; it’s regulated.”

Before the forum, Sustainable Medina County, which opposes the NEXUS pipeline, staged a protest outside the library.

Contact Managing Editor Lawrence Pantages at (330) 721-4065 or lpantages@medina-gazette.com.



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