League of Women Voters of Kent holds forum for candidates

William Schertz

In preparation for the November elections, the League of Women Voters of Kent sponsored a candidates’ forum at Stanton Middle School last night.

Candidates for the 11th District Court of Appeals, Portage County auditor and the state school board answered questions from the few people who came.

Judge Thomas E. Harris and Judge Diane V. Grendell came to speak, as did Mary Jane Trapp and Paul Brickner, the two running against them in the court of appeals race. They were asked questions about problems within the court system, the issue of judicial activism and the roll of the courts in protecting privacy.

Grendell talked about the inconsistency of court decisions and the problem of judges letting off criminals too easily.

“How does a person who’s a DUI driver get to go back on the road 13 times until he kills somebody?” she asked.

Trapp also feels that harsher court decisions are necessary.

“People have lost confidence in the courts,” Trapp said. “There’s a perception that judges are too lenient. We need to work on that problem.”

Portage County Auditor Janet Esposito and opposing candidate Michele Bogo also answered questions. At one point, Esposito became visibly angry following a question regarding golf courses finding loopholes in paying taxes for public schools.

Thomas Sawyer and Deborah Owens Fink, two of the candidates for the state school board, came and discussed their views on charter schools, gambling as a form of school funding and science versus religion in the classroom. Candidates John Jones and David Kovacs were not present.

Though more than 30 people showed up, many of them were members of the League of Women Voters or the candidates themselves.

The League of Women Voters of Kent will also be sponsoring a candidate debate for the Portage County Commissioner and state representative for the 68th District this month. The event will take place at 10 a.m. on Oct. 28 at the Kent United Methodist Church.

Contact public affairs reporter William Schertz at [email protected].