Candidate wants to clean up Ohio

Amanda Garrett

Ohio Attorney General candidate Subodh Chandra wants to clean up the mess Republicans have made of Ohio’s government, he said yesterday at a speech before the Portage Democratic Coalition at the Kent VFW.

Chandra, who is the father of 2-year-old triplets, said parenting has prepared him to become attorney general.

“After changing all those dirty diapers, it won’t be hard cleaning up the attorney general’s office,” he said to laughter from the audience.

In the May 2 Democratic primary, Chandra is running against State Sen. Mark Dann of Liberty Township, which is near Youngstown. Dann is scheduled to speak before the Portage Democratic Coalition at 4 p.m. April 23 at the Kent VFW.

Chandra began the evening by giving the audience a lesson on how to pronounce his name. His first name sounds like “abode,” and Chandra sounds like “tundra,” he said. Chandra went on to explain that Subodh means good knowledge in Sanskrit.

“Don’t you think it’s time to have an attorney general whose name means good knowledge, instead of having an attorney general who has no knowledge of things going on around him,” said Chandra, referring to current Attorney General Jim Petro. “It’s about time for an Indian-American to clean up the sacred cows in government.”

Chandra mentioned several issues, which he said proved a pattern of corruption in Columbus. One of the things he mentioned was the Coingate scandal. Ohio Gov. Bob Taft gave Republican fundraiser Tom Noe $50 million of workers’ compensation money to invest. Instead of investing the money wisely, Chandra said Noe squandered the money by investing in rare coins and beanie babies.

Chandra also said Ohio Auditor Betty Montgomery, who is running for attorney general on the Republican ticket, stood by and allowed millions to be taken from Ohio’s treasury.

Petro and Montgomery “were like look-outs at a bank robbery,” he said. “They stood on the corner and whistled while their friends stole all the money.”

Chandra said if he becomes attorney general, he will look out for average Ohioans.

“The attorney general’s job is as important as the governor’s,” he said. “The attorney general must do two things. First, he must ensure the economic prosperity of the state, and second he must protect citizens from harm and loss. You can’t have one without the other.”

Chandra said his extensive legal background makes him an excellent candidate for attorney general.

“This isn’t a job for a politician with a law degree,” he said. “This is a job for a real lawyer.”

Chandra said he doesn’t believe his odd name or Indian heritage will deter voters, referring to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as an example of a minority who did well in a Midwestern state.

If he wins the primary, Chandra will face either Montgomery or State Sen. Tim Grendell of Chesterland, which is in Geauga County, in the general election.

Chandra, who graduated from Yale Law School, was the Cleveland city law director during Jane Campbell’s administration, he said. Before that, Chandra worked in large law firms in both Cleveland and Los Angeles, and served as special presidential counsel to the American Bar Association.

Chandra lives in Cleveland with his wife, civil rights attorney Meena Morey Chandra.

Contact public affairs reporter Amanda Garrett at [email protected].