State rep. candidates share stances on key issues

Kathleen Clyde

Kathleen Clyde, who is running in the Democratic primary election for the 68th Ohio House District on May 4, said her Portage County connection allows her to understand what residents need and what makes her the best candidate.

Clyde, who is from Garrettsville and lives in Kent, said her work for her position in Columbus as a deputy legal counsel to the Speaker of the Ohio House of Representatives has given her insight in how politicians work and the keys to being a good representative. Clyde addressed sensitive issues such as abortion, gun control and gay marriage at a “Meet the Candidate Night” by the League Women Voters. While she responded that she is pro choice, she said she thinks those issues often bog down what really needs to be addressed in the community.

Clyde is basing her campaign on jobs, education, environment and domestic violence.

Clyde on the issues:


Clyde said jobs are top priorities on her to-do list when it comes to office. She said the Third Frontier Program, which is meant to help companies with green and new technologies grow, is a prime source of jobs she plans to support.

“The Third Frontier Program created about 48,000 jobs,” she said. “Not to mention there is also a $10 return on every dollar invested into the program.”


Clyde made education a key talking point, and she said it needs much improvement in Ohio.

“I will work hard to get a tuition freeze and then try to maybe reverse some of the increases,” Clyde said.

Besides wanting to address school costs, she said she thinks she can have an effect as a role model to female students.

“I want to be an example of what Kent State students can do,” Clyde said. “I think young people want to see a young person to represent them.”


Clyde said she in an advocate for keeping the environment clean.

“I think we need to have the balance in protecting our environment and encouraging the expansion of business,” she said.

Clyde said she would be interested in tax credits for companies who are using green technology.

Domestic violence

Clyde said another problem she wants to address is domestic violence against women.

“We have weak laws on domestic violence,” she said. “It’s a real problem for women because it affects women’s ability to participate in the economy and at work.”

Clyde said she is proponent of a fatality review board which is responsible to analyze situations where women are killed by known abusive men and find out how they “slipped through the cracks.”

Contact public affairs reporter Anthony Holloway

[email protected].

Sean Buchanan

Sean Buchanan’s political platform in the primary race for the 68th District Ohio House seat focuses on three pillars: job creation, education and quality of life.

“The most important issue in Ohio right now is jobs,” Buchanan said before a recent League of Women Voters event at Stanton Middle School in Kent. “Kent State is a great resource to provide an educated workforce. The next generation of products and processes come from the university.”?

Buchanan, a 29-year-old Kent resident, said the cost of higher education in the state needs to be lowered or frozen again because even if students find work, they cannot pay off the loans it took to earn their degrees with their earnings.

Further, he said preventing “brain drain” — a trend where college graduates migrate away from the state for jobs, taking their skills and ideas with them — is something he will work to accomplish through political action. ?

Buchanan cited his relationship with Kent State as his foremost strength of getting this accomplished. As an undergrad at the university, Buchanan said he was active in student government. ??

“I’m the only candidate who knows the university administration,” he said. “They are very influential people in the community whose judgments are trusted.”??

Buchanan, an attorney, said his political experience stems from his work as head of district council for U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio). Buchanan said he’s handled many local and district issues in his time working for Ryan.

“I’ve been answering residents’ phone calls for six years,” Buchanan said. “I have familiarity and experience with how to get economic development programs off the ground.”?

Buchanan on

the issues:


He is pro-choice, with an emphasis on sex education so students have the information to make proper choices about sex.

Health care

He is a supporter of a single-payer health care program.

Gun control

He is a full supporter of the Second Amendment and responsible gun ownership.


He said Ohio’s reliance on property tax to fund education is a significant problem that needs addressed as quickly as possible. He said he will work to ensure Ohio is at the cutting edge of education in every school district.

Contact public affairs reporter Darren D’Altorio at

[email protected].

Rick Hawksley

A former Kent City Council member running for the Ohio House of Representatives has five main concerns he wants to bring to Columbus: jobs, land conservation, energy, food and food scarcity.

Rick Hawksley served at-large on the Kent City Council from 2002 to 2009. He tied in the 2009 city of Kent mayor race, but lost in a coin toss to Jerry Fiala.

Aside from his work on city council, the self-employed architect co-founded the Haymaker Farmers’ Market and envisioned the Portage Hike and Bike Trail system in Portage County.

Hawksley, who earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in architecture from Kent State, said unemployment and education are correlated, and he will work to raise the level of education in Ohio. He called Chancellor Eric Fingerhut’s 10-year Strategic Plan for Higher Education a “step in the right direction” that he would support.

In a recent forum held by the League of Women Voters, Hawksley and fellow Democrat primary candidates for the 68th District, Sean Buchanan and Kathleen Clyde, answered questions written by the audience and selected by League members.

Hawksley on

the issues:


Hawksley identifies as pro-choice but said, “We need to do everything we can to reduce unplanned pregnancies.”

Health care

He said he’d like to see a single-payer health care system and wants to take steps to get health care for all.


Hawksley said he wants to help improve the economy by supporting education. He said Ohio needs to raise the level of education and have high-tech jobs.

Gun regulation

Hawksley believes in responsible use, but said the state needs to keep its restrictions on where people can carry concealed weapons.

Education funding

Hawksley said he plans to support the 10-year plan. The plan gives strategies to enroll 230,000 more students in Ohio’s higher education system and to reduce the “brain drain” of graduates emigrating from Ohio in pursuit of work.

Contact public affairs reporter Bo Gemmel at [email protected].

W. Roak Zeller

W. Roak Zeller, the Republican candidate for Ohio’s 68th district, said the solution to Ohio’s problems lies with the citizens.

Zeller, a Kent Theodore Roosevelt High School and Kent State University alumnus, said the government’s constant involvement is making Ohio citizens dependent on outside help, instead of allowing them to help themselves.

“What I believe is if we empower individuals, then they will produce far more success than any other government program because most people are far better at determining what they need to do to achieve prosperity than the government will be,” Zeller said.

Zeller on the issues:


Zeller was most specifically referring to Ohio’s high unemployment rate.

As of March, the unemployment rate in Ohio was at 11 percent, compared to the 9.7 percent national average according to the bureau of labor statistics.

Zeller said the current administration feels they need to borrow money from the federal government to help create jobs in Ohio. He feels the opposite.

He said Ohio, which has the 7th highest tax burden in the country according to The Tax Foundation, needs to cut taxes instead of borrowing more money (Issue 1) to stimulate the state’s economy.

Zeller suggests saving by reducing costs in other areas, such as Medicaid prescriptions. He said in Ohio, 60 percent of the pharmaceuticals prescribed to Medicaid patients are generic. He said state auditor Mary Taylor wants to copy other states such as Utah and make 67 percent of the pharmaceuticals prescribed generic — a move that Taylor estimates will save up to 128 million dollars.

Higher education

Zeller said Ohio should also change the way master’s programs are funded. In the current scheme, he said money is allocated evenly amongst all the master’s programs. He proposes that programs that are more expensive to attend and have a better job outlook after graduation should receive more money.

“It’s more expensive to produce a nursing master’s student than it is to produce a student with a master’s in political science,” he said. “I guarantee with a master’s in political science, you don’t have the same chance of finding a job as someone who’s gone through the air traffic control program at Kent State because there’s a shortage of air traffic controllers.

“Start budgeting more money to those career areas where there are labor shortages. That will encourage students to pursue education in those career areas and when they graduate, they’ll actually have a better chance of finding a job.”

Zeller said if students are more likely to find a job right after graduation, then they have a better chance of being able to stay in Ohio instead of taking their education elsewhere.

Contact public affairs reporter Cody Francis at [email protected].