Debating the issues and candidates

Week four: local races and issues

Election Day 2006 is just one week away. This week, the editorial board presents candidates and issues specific to Portage County. All information is culled from candidates’ Web sites and the League of Women Voters, unless otherwise noted.

Next Monday, the Forum page will present a recap of all of the information in the “Debating the issues” series.

Representative to Congress -ÿ14th district

Lewis Katz


This law professor from Case Western Reserve wants to put an end to federal deficits. He supports bringing troops home from Iraq within a year. He wants to repeal President Bush’s tax cuts on those making more than $250,000 a year and restore corporate tax rates to pre-2001 to free up money for domestic programs. He has criticized his opponent, LaTourette, for supporting CAFTA, a free trade agreement.

Steven C. LaTourette


LaTourette has been the 14th District’s representative since 1995. Like his opponents, he supports bringing troops home from Iraq, although he is not in favor of setting a deadline. He wants to renew President Bush’s tax cuts. A Plain Dealer story reported that he said he made a mistake in voting for CAFTA.

Werner Lange

Nonparty candidate

Lange wants to reward work by making it illegal for anyone to work full-time, year-round and still be considered poor. He also wants to invest in children through family allowances and subsidized childcare, cut the military budget and create a pro-family budget. His to-do list includes ending the war and impeaching President George W. Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney.


The major-party candidates, Katz and LaTourette, have a number of similarities. Where they differ, their views largely come down along typical party lines. The editorial board did not find any of the three candidates to make a compelling case for election and has chosen not to endorse in this race.

Representative Congress – 17th district

Tim Ryan


The current representative to Congress of the 17th District wants to make sure no one goes without health care, expand Medicaid and encourage small businesses to cover their employees. He does not support renewing Bush’s tax cuts and is working to bring new-economy jobs to the region.

Don Manning


Manning is the current vice chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party and has served on the Mecca Community Park Board. However, he has no Web site, and the Plain Dealer reported that he did not respond to repeated calls for information.


Based on reports, Manning is barely a candidate in this race. If he won’t respond to media requests for information, what will he do for constituents?

Ryan appears to have been a strong representative during his first term in Congress, and presents forward-looking plans for the region. Tim Ryan receives the editorial board’s endorsement.

State Representative -ÿ68th District

Kathleen Chandler


Chandler is the incumbent from the 68th District. She served as a Portage County commissioner for six years, Kent mayor for seven years and councilwoman for eight years. She has also been on numerous state committees.

Chandler wants to use a 0.5 percent sales tax to pay for college and rework the current state public school funding scheme so it is constitutional. She supports bolstering education programs as a means for creating jobs in the state. Chandler also wants to create a checks-and-balances system to ensure legislative districts are redrawn in a non-biased manner.

Bill Davis


Davis served 10 years in the U.S. Air Force and on the Ohio Chamber of Commerce.

He is in favor of Issue 3, which will provide college funding through casinos. He wants to eliminate the current property-tax funding scheme for public schools and replace it with an income tax. Davis wants to eliminate the commercial activity tax to spur the economy. He supports the current law for redrawing legislative districts.


Chandler has been an excellent representative of Portage County interests for more than two decades. Her plan for higher education does not rely on a casino gimmick, and eliminating the election gerrymandering that has swept across the country is a move that puts voting power back in the voters’ hands. Kathleen Chandler receives the editorial board’s endorsement.

State Representative – 43rd district

Christine Croce


Croce is on the City of Green City Council and the director of administration/legal at the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. She wants to increase state funding for higher education. She is against Issue 3 (Learn and Earn) and also against Issue 2, which would raise the minimum wage.

Croce wants to create a commission composed of citizens who are non-elected officials or their employees that would help in redrawing legislative districts.

Stephen Dyer


Dyer is an attorney who worked for the Akron Beacon Journal for nine years, where he earned a nomination for a Pulitzer for a piece that looked at solutions for Ohio’s problems. His higher-education plan would pay the majority of costs if students agreed to stay in the state for five years following graduation. He is also against Issue 3 but supports Issue 2.

Dyer wants to make drawing legislative districts more competitive by taking the decision out of the political realm.


Croce and Dyer both offer intelligent views on issues affecting Portage County and the state. Dyer, however, has presented an innovative plan to help students pay for college. He is also in favor of raising the minimum wage. For these two reasons, the editorial board endorses Stephen Dyer.

Portage County Commissioner

Chuck Keiper


Keiper plans to attract family-supporting employment in the region by creating an effort that highlights competitive advantages to global economy participants. He places emphasis on storm water management and creating a cost-efficient government that partners with neighboring communities.

John Thomas


Thomas wants to work for cleaner air and water by enforcing regional regulations. To keep the neighborhood safe, he wants to increase sheriff road patrols and increase funding for law enforcement to prevent drugs and crime. He wants to build a “Portage Economy” that focuses on developing work opportunities with living wages and benefits by marketing Portage County.

Meg Hudson


Hudson intends to create a 5-year plan based on collective goals of all communities within the county. High on Hudson’s list is

assessment and repair of county owned buildings that are vacant by developing a maintenance schedule. She also wants to start a campaign that would focus on supporting local businesses and keeping Portage County tax dollars in Portage County.


Both Keiper and Thomas bring experience to the position, but the editorial board has chosen not to make an endorsement in the county commissioner race.

Portage County Health District Tax Levy – Issue 20

Placed on the ballot by the Portage County Commissioners, this tax levy would use money to improve disaster planning, obtain more accessible senior citizen and disabled Health Department facilities, increase children’s immunization program and reduce some of those fees.

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

This tax levy is a renewal, which means if it passes there will be no increase in taxes. It will help maintain a network that provides services including treatment for residents with mental-health or substance-abuse problems, domestic-violence victims, 24/7 crisis assistance and suicide and substance-abuse prevention education.

Kent City Tax Levy for Recreational Purposes – Issue 24

Placed on the ballot by the Kent City Council, this issue would change the current tax to a permanent levy that will provide money for operations and future park improvements.


All three tax levies support important services in the Portage County and Kent areas. Without the financial support, those services may be cut. The editorial board endorses all three levies.