Forum hosts appeals judge, commissioner candidates

Joanne Bello

Mary Jane Trapp has a leg up on her opponents in the race for the appellate judge spot in the 11th District.

“I’m the only candidate who can legally quarantine a hawk,” Trapp joked in reference to agriculture at last night’s forum hosted by the Kent chapter of the League of Women Voters at the Kentway Apartments.

The league organized a panel discussion involving candidates for appellate judge and those running for Portage County Commissioner.

Commissioner candidates included Democrats Chuck Keiper and William McDowell and Republicans Meg Hudson and Larry Solak.

The appellate judge candidates for the 11th District who attended were Democrats Mary Jane Trapp and Albert Purola and Republican Jeffrey Black. Paul Brickner and Dorothy Henry, the two other Republican candidates, could not make it to last night’s event.

The 11th District is made up of five counties: Lake, Geauga, Portage, Trumbull and Ashtabula.

Each candidate had three minutes to discuss why he or she was appropriate for the position. After the first round, attendees were asked to submit questions for each candidate to answer.

The question-and-answer session allowed the candidates three minutes for inquiries.

use of real estate taxes to fund the Portage County Park District?” was one question.

“How do you feel about dirty campaign ads?” was another.

Residents from all over the county attended the meeting to learn more about each person.

“I have a thousand other things I could be doing,” Kent resident Merle Mollenkopf said. “There’s golf to be played and books to be read, but I think it is important to be here to listen to what the candidates have to say. I’m part of the community.”

Other area politicians such as Municipal Court Judge Barbara Oswick were in attendance to support their peers.

Many water issues in the area were discussed throughout the night. Several of the forum panelists talked about the storm water problem, the Cuyahoga River and supply water.

Commissioner candidate Hudson also talked about her passion to help businesses and increase area college enrollment.

“We need to support our businesses and industries that make Portage County their home,” Hudson said at the forum. “We need to bring back the talks of developing a community college that would bring strength to the people.”

Commissioner candidate Solak talked about creating a “rainy day fund” for the county.

“I’m concerned about the cost of the government for the people,” he said. “I want to create the rainy day fund to help lower our debt and to help with development projects.”

When the judge candidates were asked if they supported dirty campaigns, all present were in support of the right to have them, but not all would run one.

“They are an embarrassment to the legal system, but they are within our First Amendment rights,” Black said. “I would never run one.”

Registered voters will have their chance to vote for these candidates in the May 2 primary election.

Contact public affairs reporter Joanne Bello at [email protected].