Video included below
The trio of candidates out to represent most of Logan and Shelby counties, and all of Champaign County, highlighted their respective strengths Wednesday.
85th District in the Ohio House of Representatives candidate during Wednesday's debate. (EXAMINER PHOTO | NATE SMITH)
Robert Luckey of Sidney, Nino Vitale of Urbana and Doug Chamberlain of Bellefontaine are vying to replace outgoing Rep. John Adams as the representative of the 85th District in the Ohio House of Representatives, which includes all of Logan County except Richland, Rushcreek and Bokescreek townships.
Mr. Luckey has extensive experience in retail management, a skill set and work ethic that he said would translate well as a state representative.
Mr. Chamberlain is familiar with both the private and public sector, having worked in private law practice prior to becoming a prosecutor and Logan County Family Court judge.
That experience, he said, gives him a demonstrated track record of working in a public service capacity.
Mr. Vitale has 20 years’ business experience at corporations large and small, he said. He’s an NRA instructor and currently helps operate Johnson Welded Products in Urbana.
Each candidate spoke of the importance of making Ohio more business friendly as a way to grow the economy and create jobs, and Mr. Luckey said he would endorse a “right to work” bill — legislation that would prohibit union shops from forcing employees to pay union dues.
Mr. Vitale said his goal wasn’t to get elected in order to pass legislation, but instead to undo overreaching rules and regulations from the state government.
Mr. Luckey agreed that there exists several duplications and excesses within state government, and asserted that many of the cuts to local government funding could be restored by removing those duplications in state laws and regulations.
Candidates identified the $600 million being spent to implement Common Core curriculum in Ohio as examples of government spending and power gone too far.
Public education should be modified to encompass more vocational training, and other specialized instruction, Mr. Luckey said.
Mr. Vitale decried a “one-size-fits-all” approach toward educating kids, and said there should be strong funding for each kind of schooling.
Mr. Chamberlain said he was in favor of school choice and believes that parents should be able to educate their children however they choose, but, he stressed that private and charter skills should be held to the same standards as public schools.
Passage of a “heartbeat bill,” legislation that would place further restrictions on abortion access should be a priority, candidates agreed.
A volunteer panel representing the political Web site, www.ivoterguide.com recently ranked each of the three candidates in this and other state races based on their responses to a series of mostly multiple choice questions about the candidates’ political beliefs and values.
According to the subjective panel evaluations, Mr. Vitale was labeled “very conservative,” Mr. Luckey was deemed, “somewhat conservative,” and Mr. Chamberlain was tabbed “somewhat liberal.”
Voters may visit www.ivoterguide.com and evaluate each question and the candidate’s response by identifying their political persuasion and entering their address so their respective races can be found.