In the race for the 30th Senate District, the best choice to represent local residents is Lou Gentile.
At age 33, Gentile already has an impressive resume of public service. He worked for former Ohio Governor Ted Strickland's campaign which led to an appointment at the Governor's Office of Appalachia. From there he was elected to represent Ohio's 95th House district and most recently was appointed to finish out the term for the newly drawn 30th Senate seat.
During his time in public service he initiated the Ohio Veterans Opportunity Act, which gives veterans academic credit for military training, as well as the Ohio Workers First Amendment, which forces companies doing business in Ohio to be transparent about whether they are putting Ohioans to work. His goal: If companies come here to take advantage of Ohio's rich oil and gas resources, he wants to make sure those companies are hiring Ohio workers.
Gentile works hard to get around his sprawling district and shows he has an understanding of Appalachia and how Ohio's state government can help its citizens here. He fought deep cuts to local governments in the last state budget cycle and says he will make funding local governments and schools among his priorities for a new term.
Republican Shane Thompson of Belmont is Gentile's opponent in this race. He is a veteran and in recent years has worked in manufacturing along with a stint as a radio broadcaster. He just doesn't have the track record of public service Gentile provides. We think Gentile's past successes and experience earn him the right to return for another term.
In the race to represent Ohio's 94th House District, the best choice is incumbent Debbie Phillips. Like Gentile, Phillips has a strong track record of public service to our region and has been working toward school funding reform in Ohio for years, beginning with former Gov. Ted Strickland. We think she deserves the chance to see that challenge through as she continues to work with now Gov. John Kasich on the issue. Phillips has shown she can work with Democrats and Republicans alike whether it be on issues of education, oil and gas development or improving energy efficiency. She has also expressed concern over deep cuts to local governments in the last state budget and vows to work to get local governments more money in the future.
Her opponent, Charles Richter, a small businessman, has some general opinions on ways to improve the local economy by making Ohio more competitive, and he opposes a severance tax on companies coming to Ohio to drill for oil and gas.
But we think it's the groundwork Phillips has laid on education and other issues that give her the edge in this race. It's time the state takes care of its school funding issue and we think Phillips can play a key role in making that happen. Vote for Phillips on Election Day.