Editorial board endorsements

Mid-term elections don’t have the glamorous sheen of a presidential race. But this year, as in 1994, the stakes are high. Twelve years ago, voters make a ground-shaking statement when they threw out the Democratic leadership and installed the Republicans.

Your vote tomorrow could play an important role in the country’s and region’s direction during the next few years. With that in mind, the editorial board wanted to revisit the endorsements it made for major races during the past month.


Endorsement: Ted Strickland

The governor’s office has been led by Republicans for the past 16 years – and Ohio continues to move backward, not forward. The economy lags the rest of the country; high-tech job growth isn’t where it should be and higher education continues to be less affordable for students.

Ken Blackwell is not the right fit for this position. His plans favor wealthy Ohioans and his get-rich-quick scheme to lease the Ohio Turnpike is too risky. The fact that he continues to use same-sex marriage as a campaign issue and tried to paint Ted Strickland falsely as a pedophile supporter shows he will not unite this divided state.

Ted Strickland’s plans emphasize education and technology, both things Ohio needs for the future. He wants to invest in clean-energy initiatives, and would implement a savings account program for students so they could pay for a college education.

More than anything, though, the editorial board believes Strickland has a better chance to unite residents. For those reasons, he receives the endorsement.


Endorsement: Sherrod Brown

Mike DeWine has served Ohio fairly well during the past 12 years. As his commercials have noted, he did, in fact, work hard to save needed federal jobs in Cleveland. And he’s done what is expected in securing funding for various state programs.

Of course, Sherrod Brown has also served his constituencies well. And he’s not tied to the policies of the current administration. Brown has consistently been against the war in Iraq as well as the tax cuts that have benefited wealthy Americans.

We need a legislature that will start standing up to the president to restore important checks and balances. Brown is key in that process, which is why he receives the endorsement.

Representative, 17th District

Endorsement: Tim Ryan

Tim Ryan is seeking re-election against a candidate who barely has campaigned and has not returned calls from several newspapers. Ryan is the only choice here, and that’s OK – in his first term in office he appears to have served his constituents well and has a forward vision for the region.

State Representative, 43rd District

Endorsement: Stephen Dyer

Both candidates in this race have offered intelligent thinking on the issues. However, Dyer has an innovative plan for higher education and supports raising the minimum wage. For that, he receives the editorial board’s endorsement.

State Representative, 68th District

Endorsement: Kathleen Chandler

Chandler, the incumbent, has held various offices in Portage County for more than two decades, and by all accounts has served the area well. She offers a plan for funding higher education separate from the Issue 3 casino gimmick and wants to fix the gerrymandered election system. For those reasons, she receives the editorial board’s endorsement.

Issue 2: Minimum Wage

Vote YES

The minimum wage has been locked at an abysmal $5.15 an hour for years. This constitutional amendment would raise it to $6.85 and provide for cost of living increases in later years.

Opponents say raising the minimum wage hurts businesses and will cause some people to lose jobs. Supporters say there are studies countering this.

This editorial board believes people need to be able to live off minimum wage. This amendment will put about $3,000 more in the pockets of people just getting by. Nobody’s going to get rich, but at least they will be able to eat and buy needed medications. We recommend voting “yes” on Issue 2.

Issue 3: Learn and Earn/Casinos

Vote NO

Issue 3, another constitutional amendment, would allow slot machines and race tracks across the state as well as two locations in the city of Cleveland. A portion of the revenue from these casinos would be diverted to provide scholarship funding for Ohio college students.

While the editorial board believes Ohio should have casinos, it cannot support this amendment. It effectively provides a monopoly on gambling operations to a few wealthy owners. And after money is taken for scholarships, the state and municipalities are barred from taxing the casinos further.

This is just a bad deal for Ohio, which is why we recommend voting “no” on Issue 3.

Issue 4: Smoke LESS Ohio

Vote NO on Issue 4

Issue 5: Smoke FREE Ohio

Vote YES on Issue 5

You can’t separate Issue 4 and Issue 5, because they are part of the same battle.

Issue 5 would restrict smoking from places of business, including bars and restaurants.

Sure, smokers love to light up when they’re drinking. But that means everyone who doesn’t want to smoke is exposed to secondhand smoke, which studies show causes cancer. This is especially dangerous for bar and restaurant workers, who live in a toxic smog of smoke day after day.

Issue 4 claims to be “Smoke Less Ohio,” but in fact, it is a constitutional amendment dreamed up by tobacco companies to roll back restrictions already in place in some municipalities. It would allow smoking in bars and restaurants, and writes into the state constitution a restriction that keeps cities and counties from imposing their own limits.

Businesses claim they will lose money if customers can’t smoke. But cities with similar restrictions such as New York and Columbus have proved that wrong.

Issue 5 provides protection for workers and non-smokers. Issue 4 is Big Tobacco manipulating you again. Vote “no” on Issue 4 and “yes” on Issue 5.

Issue 20: Portage County Health District Tax Levy

Issue 22: Portage County Mental Health and Recovery Board Tax Levy

Issue 24: Kent City Tax Levy for Recreational Purposes

Vote YES on Issue 20, Issue 22 and Issue 24

Two of these levies (Issue 22 and Issue 24) are replacement levies, so they will mean no new taxes to residents. But all three support important programs in the area, so vote “yes” on all three.

The above editorial is the consensus opinion of the Daily Kent Stater editorial board.