2014

 

 

VOTER'S GUIDE

 

 

LEAGUE OF WOMEN VOTERS OF

 

ATHENS COUNTY, OHIO

 

The League of Women Voters of Athens County is a nonpartisan organization that works to promote political responsibility through active, informed participation of all citizens in government. The League does not support or oppose any political party or candidate.  Questions and word limits are set by the League. Information is printed as submitted. According to the guidelines of The League of Women Voters, the League does not alter, edit or correct candidates’ responses to questions. Candidates were instructed to this effect, and that any words over limits stated may not be printed. Each candidate is solely responsible for the accuracy of his/her statements. A candidate's answers are printed with the understanding that the material will not be used in any way that may be deemed to be an endorsement by the League of his or her candidacy or views.

 

athensleagueofwomenvoters.org

 

 Election Day 

 

To find your polling place phone the Board of Elections at 740-592-3201 or visit: athensboardofelections.com

All Candidates were asked to list their Name, Occupation, and Training and Experience, and to limit each of those response areas to 50 words. They were also asked two or three questions, and were instructed to limit their response to 100 words for each of the questions. Words in capital letters (except for initials, such as USA) are not allowed, and bold and italic type are also not permitted.
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Office: Athens County Auditor
Question 1: How would you exercise oversight of county expenditures?
Question 2: What are your priorities for the office of auditor?
# Nominated: 2      # To Be Elected: 1
 
Kathy Hecht
 
Training and :Experience: Athens City Auditor, 10-1/2 years; Athens City Council, 2 years; B.A. from Indiana University; Yearly Continuing Education credits through the Ohio Municipal Finance Officer's Association and the Ohio; Government Finance Officer's Association; Immediate Past President and 6 year board member of the Ohio Municipal Finance Officer's Association
 
Question 1: Being auditor is about protecting county money and property and not about Monday morning quarterbacking.  During my ten years as City Auditor, I have worked to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used for a proper public purpose. The auditor prevents improper expenditures before they happen, not pointing them out afterword. I would have training and clear policies and procedures. I would work with officeholders, agency directors and administrators to ensure that things are done properly the first time and they understand the processes and laws regarding expenditures. Good communication between the auditor and all who oversee public funds is critical.
 
Question 2: The politics of the County Auditor for the past 12 years have not been working. It is time for a change.  I will work to ensure that the financial statements of county agencies are appropriate and that tax monies are properly distributed and accounted for each year. I will work with those groups who touch my office that are trying to improve Athens County. It is important that property values are fair and accurate.   I will work to ensure that every homeowner is treated equally and fairly. I believe we can do better, and more, if we work together.
 
Jill A. Thompson 
 
Training and Experience: Ohio University Master of Financial Economics Pickerington, Ohio 2013 Honor Society of Phi Kappa Phi 2013 Bachelor of Business Administration – Finance Athens, Ohio 1992 Athens County Auditor’s Office County Auditor 2000 – Present Deputy Auditor 1992 - 1996 CAAO/Continuing Education > 950 Hours Past President Government Finance Officers Association – Board Member County Auditor
 
Question 1: As County Auditor, I serve as the watchdog over public funds. As Auditor, I have the authority to ask for additional documentation prior to issuing a warrant to determine if the expenditure is for a proper public purpose. Before a check is issued, the request is reviewed for proper approvals, policy and ORC compliance. Since taking office, my office has challenged a number of expenditures that were not properly documented or were not for a public purpose. The result is a more accountable government, and an increased trust that tax dollars are being spent for their intended purpose. Accountability matters.
 
Question 2: • To serve all the citizens of Athens County in a kind, professional and courteous manner. • To be knowledgeable, accessible and accountable while striving to streamline processes and make government records and transactions more transparent and easier for the public to access.• To make government work for the people it serves with technological updates and website enhancements.• To provide relevant and meaningful information and resources to elected officials, departments, agencies, townships, cities, villages and schools by offering educational opportunities and being accessible, educated and informed.• Staying up-to-date on legislative initiatives that affect Athens County; making the mandatory updates timely and effectively.
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Office: Athens County Judge
 
Question 1: Do you favor an appointment/retention election system (i.e. merit selection) in choosing judges?
Question 2: What innovations would you bring to the Athens County Common Please court?
Question 3: Please estimate the number and types of cases you have tried (civil and criminal).
# Nominated: 2      # To Be Elected: 1
 
Herman A. Carson
 
Training and Experience: Federal-Hocking High School Class of 1973; Ohio Northern University, B.A. Chemistry, 1977; The Ohio State University College of Law, J.D. With honors, 1980. I have more than thirty-three years of broad courtroom experience, and served as an Acting Athens County Municipal Court Judge for over 22 years.
 
Question 1: No. Electing public office holders is at the heart of our democratic form of government. The voters in each judicial jurisdiction, not some centralized commission, are best suited to select who should be seated as a judge. It is also important that the local electorate has the opportunity to make the decision as to whether a sitting judge facing an opponent should retain the judgeship at the end of each term. In a retention election the sitting judge, who was not elected by the people, would not have an opportunity to challenge whether or not the judge should continue to [reached end of word count limit]
 
Question 2: I will work with the other newly elected General Division Judge to find ways to increase the speed with which cases are brought to a final disposition after the are filed. Soon after the initial pleadings are filed, I will review domestic relations cases assigned to my docket and select ones which I will hear, rather than referring all to a magistrate for hearing. In cases where substance abuse has caused, or contributed to cause, the person to be in court, I will look for expanded treatment and community services to support recovery and to reduce relapse and recidivism.
 
Question 3: I have handled hundreds of cases, both criminal and civil, in my almost 34 year legal career. I have represented clients in 25 Ohio Counties, with jury trials to a verdict in 14 counties. My criminal trial experience spans a range from capital murder (for which I am certified as lead counsel by the Ohio Supreme Court) through OVI and theft. My civil trial experience includes representing both plaintiffs and defendants in premises liability, contract, auto accidents, divorce, custody, boundary line, livestock at large, election contest, and others.
 
George P. McCarthy
 
Training and Experience: Current Judge of Athens Common Pleas Court. Associate and Law Partner-Mollica, Gall, Sloan, Sillery & McCarthy Co., Law Firm (2002-12); Athens City Prosecutor (1993-2002). Asst. County Prosecutor (1991-93). Prosecuted murder, rape, assault, theft, and drug cases. Ohio Northern University Law School. Admitted to U.S. Supreme Court, all Ohio Courts.
 
Question 1:  As the current judge, I believe in the democratic process in this non-partisan Judge’s election, and I hope to be retained as the democratically elected Judge in this election as well. Although not required, I underwent interviews with the Governor’s office before becoming judge. I had multiple interviews to review my expertise, background and knowledge, which determined I was qualified to replace Judge Mike Ward. I also underwent a background investigation which included a criminal background check. My opponent, or any candidate, is not required to undergo any interview/background check with such State Officials to become a candidate.
 
Question 2: As the current judge, I am starting Athens County’s first Veterans’ Court to address the increasing amount of Veterans coming into the criminal system. Once established, I’ll seek grants to help establish a Drug Court to serve a larger group of people. At 49 years old, I believe I’m more technology knowledgeable (opponent is 59) and have helped establish a new electronic fingerprint system to track criminal convictions. I have already upgraded computers in the office to improve efficiency. I have also started to upgrade the court room technology as well. I’d like to expand the mediation program.
 
Question 3. As current judge I hold criminal felony trials and hearings as well as civil cases (opponent was occasionally a magistrate in misdemeanor court). I hold multiple hearings everyday-includes drug (heroin/meth) cases and related crimes. As a prosecutor I’ve tried criminal cases like rape, assault, racketeering, theft, B&E, DUI, domestic violence and drug cases. I’ve prosecuted murder and drug cases while my opponent has defended murder and drug cases as a public defender. In the city prosecutor’s office, two of us handled about 7000 cases a year (for 10 years). Civil cases tried include divorces, personal injury, custody, worker’s compensation etc.
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Office: Ohio House of Representatives
 
Question 1: What do you see as the state’s role in addressing women’s health?
Question 2: Do you believe that horizontal hydro-fracking poses a benefit or hazard to your district’s economy or environment? What kinds of regulations would you support, if any?
Question 3: Do charter schools need increased scrutiny and accountability for taxpayer funds they expend? If so, what proposals do you support?
 
# Nominated 2   # To Be Elected: 1
 
Yolan G. Dennis
 
Training and Experience: Graduate of Waterford High School; graduate of Washington technical School of Practical nursing; graduate of Bethesda Hospital School of Nursing, Cincinnati, Ohio;  Experience:  Worked in hospitals in medical/surgical units and in intensive care units for 8 years.  I presently work in a physicians office in Barlow, Ohio.
 
Question 1: I believe the role of the state in regards to women's health should be to identify issues that affects the health of women, and initiate programs that will address those issues, and promote overall wellness of Ohio women.  Local health facilities and business groups in communities should partnership to educate women about nutrition, physical activity, preventative check-ups and screenings, and healthy behaviors and relationships.
 
Question 2: Horizontal fracking benefits our district.  Natural gas is clean, efficient, reliable, and will make us energy independent.  Fracking produces high-paying jobs in support industries and unions like transportation, machining, welding, road and building construction, equipment operators, manufacturing, and food industry, to name a few.  We are seeing expansions in universities, community, and technical colleges to train the workforce in the natural gas industry.  New legislation and regulations are adequate at present, and deals with well construction, air emissions, reporting of chemicals, road maintenance, water disposal, and geological studies.  The new standards protect our water, land, and people.
 
Question 3: The original purpose for creation of charter schools was to increase competition for students, giving parents more school choice.  The theory was that competition would lead to better educational programs for all students.  Bipartisan legislation needs to strengthen accountability with quality control provisions, requiring quality evaluations and performances for charter contracts.  School operators need to be carefully vetted.  Responsible authorities need to monitor schools for academic performance and poor performers should exit in a timely fashion.  The issue with charter school education has become a political battlefield.  We should ensure that all choices are educationally sound.
 
Debbie Phillips
 
Training and Experience: BSS Ohio University, 1997; Executive Director of the Ohio Fair Schools Campaign, 2003-2008; Athens City Council 2004-2008; State Representative 2009-present; Assistant Minority Leader; 
Committees: Finance, Education, Rules, JCARR, Ethics.; I hold quarterly roundtable discussions in the four counties I serve, and just completed my third Listening Tour in 17 locations. 
 
Question 1: The state needs to work to promote accessibility and affordability of health care for all Ohioans, and leave the health care decisions to individuals. I am a co-sponsor of the “Not 
my boss’s business” bill which would prohibit employers from interfering in individual health 
care decisions. For example, there are numerous health conditions which can be treated with 
contraceptives, and no one should have to get their boss’s permission for treatment. Women, 
their doctors, and their families should make the tough calls when faced with a medical crisis, 
not politicians in Columbus or Washington.
 
Question 2: Horizontal hydro-fracturing is creating jobs in the region, and also raises concerns for public safety. In Washington County, the union halls have been hiring and have lots of people working. But, I have serious concerns about the potential for accidents that could harm people in the region, like the two we’ve already experienced in Morgan and Monroe counties. In addition, the lack of monitoring wells around the Class II injection wells creates a serious risk to our water supply. Ohio does not have adequate laws, adequate staffing, or clear incident command protocols to protect public safety. I support stronger regulations.
 
Question 3: Absolutely. Many of Ohio’s charter schools have performed very poorly, both academically and in terms of basic fiscal accountability. When public funds are involved, the taxpayers have a right to know how the money is being spent, and whether it is being well-spent. Charter school operators have given significant campaign contributions to Governor Kasich and legislators in the majority; who have then turned a blind eye to their failures. This is unacceptable. Charter school funding needs to be publicly accounted for, and charter schools need to have treasurers who have fiscal training. Charter schools that fail academically should be closed. 
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Office: U. S. House of Representatives
 
Question 1: What measures, if any, do you favor to decrease reliance on fossil fuels and increase use of alternative energy?
Question 2: What is your position on changing the Affordable Care Act, and what will you do to accomplish your goals?
Question 3: What is your position on immigration reform, and how will you work to promote that position?
 
# Nominated: 2       # To Be Elected: 1
 
Steve Stivers [No response received from the candidate.]
 
Training and Experience:
 
Question 1:
Question 2:
Question 3:
 
Scott Wharton
 
Training and Experience: 1980 Graduate Ohio University BS in Computer Engineering. No prior elected office held, but I am a retired Air Force officer, a captain for Delta Airlines, a farmer, and the father of 2 adult children. I believe I have the background to represent the district better than anyone else.
 
Question 1:  I am in favor of transitioning off petroleum entirely. I believe that solar, wind, geothermal, and hydroelectric energy should be pursued. I also support increased fuel economy standards for vehicles. All of which will educe our dependency on oil.
 
Question 2:  I believe that, as with any large scale legislation, the Affordable Care Act has room to be improved. I am willing to look at provisions that can be made better, without weakening the coverage offered.
 
Question 3: While I believe that those entering the country through proper channels should be favored over those entering by illegal means, there are a large number of immigrants who have been working and contributing, and are otherwise law abiding individuals. I believe there should be a path to citizenship so these people can contribute directly to the tax base and social security. I will support legislation that provides an appropriate path for these people.
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Office: Member State School Board District 8
 
Question 1: Do you believe that the current reliance on standardized testing to measure student achievement and evaluate teachers is a valid determination of student learning and teacher performance? If not, what changes would you support?
Question 2: How can the State Board of Education ensure a quality education for all Ohio students considering that charter schools are permitted to follow different standards for graduation, course requirement, and teacher licensing and evaluations, when compared to traditional public schools?
Question 3: What would be your priorities if elected to the State Board of Education?
 
# Nominated: 3         # To Be Elected: 1
 
Robert F. Hagan 
 
Training and Experience: State Legislator, 28 years; Locomotive Engineer, CSX 43 years
 
Question 1:  No, I don’t believe that. Using student testing and teacher evaluations does nothing to improve the learning process, it only divides us and diminishes the respect we have for our teachers. I would let teachers teach, students learn, get more parental involvement, and focus on building up our Public School System.
 
Question 2:  Easy answer. They can’t, and haven’t been accountable. We need to see what is going on in these charter schools, hold them accountable as we do public schools, and then do a serious evaluation of their operations. I would urge the support of Sen. Schiavone’s Bills, Sb190 and 329, that would require more accountability.
 
Question 3:  First I would do my best to eliminate the Charter schools, and vouchers, and focus my energy on talking about education instead of taking care of big business charter school advocates and direct more, not less funding to public schools.
 
Kathleen Purdy
 
Training and Experience: Kent State University, Bachelors of Science, M.Ed., Ashland University, Retired Teacher, Stark County Law Related Teacher of the Year, Ohio Teacher of the Year nominee, past district president of ECOEA, Government Leadership Academy, Savings and Loan Company, Receptionist, Baton Instructor.  Presently, on the Ohio Education Association Retiree Advisory Council
 
Question 1: I support standardized testing to measure student achievement to guide the instructional growth of students as being valid, however, not for the evaluation of teachers.  Students enter school from various experiences and opportunities oftentimes with little home support.  Teachers shouldn’t be held wholly responsible for this.  Standardized testing is necessary to provide the teacher with diagnostic information to ensure student growth.  Changes I would support are to limit the amount of testing, the time taken away from instruction to accommodate the testing schedule and to use other measures, such as hands-on projects and portfolios, to identify strengths and weaknesses.
 
Question 2: Upon high school graduation, regardless of how students were educated, they must be taught to co-exist in society as leaders and responsible civic-minded adults.  We must address the lack of accountability with our charters, especially the for-profits.  Graduates must also be career-ready.  This could be accomplished through charter or traditional curriculums; developing and combining collaborative interactions with the school employees and parents equally participating in professional development excursions using diverse events within communities.  From these efforts, through the State Board of Education, learning could be successful ensuring a well-rounded quality education of all Ohio students.
 
Question 3:My priorities are to make charter schools financially and academically accountable because now only public schools must have audits and budgetary forecasts available for any public requests and charters are not required to provide such information of tax dollars.  When the charters close, the taxpayer’s monies are gone.  School funding is an important issue facing education today along with factors outside of any student’s control, such as crime and shelter uncertainty.  Lastly, I would increase publicengagement in the board’s decisions, such as Common Core Standards (Common Learning Standards), which supports having career-ready and college/technical preparations for all students. 
 
Ida Ross-Freeman
 
Training and Experience: I have four years of college in the Criminal Justice and Law Enforcement Program. I currently run a Community Base Organization here in Canton for 22 years. I have served on the local school board for the last three years: I see that there is a need for me to (reached end of word limit).
 
Question 1: The Common Core might be a good thing in concept, but when it gets to its implementation I don’t know how valid is it for all students. Remember not all children learn the same way, while I do believe that Math, English, Science and Technology are all important for all students to know, I don’t know if Common Core Delivery is conductive to all students paths of learning. Standardized testing is what we have been providing all along, with the OAT OGT test, and was one avenue for measuring our student’s successes. Someone where decided this method was not amenable (reached end of word limit).
 
Question 2: I hope to be able help in stemming the tide of “Charter Schools” because I feel that they are a threat to Public School economically and educationally. They don’t seem to operate in the same manner and do not have to followed the same rules as Public Schools. They are failing our children both in the urban and rural areas miserably according the last data. I also don’t think education should be the bottom line item for some cooperation to use our children to get rich without educating them. The most important issue facing our children is the education of (reached end of word limit).
 
Question 3: I think that charter schools need to adhere to same rules as public schools and advertising stop using advertisements like “free private schools” when we know that nothing of value is free. When students transfer to local public schools, they are so far behind, and have to play catch-up. When our children are being educated, we as parents needs to make sure that our children are successful in schools. While I do believe that Math, English, Science and Technology are all important for all students to know, I don’t know if Common Core Delivery is conductive to all student paths (reached end of word limit).
 
Candidates Unopposed in Their Contests
 
Office Candidate(s)
County Commissioner Lenny Eliason
Judge–Common Pleas–General Division Pat Lang
Judge–Common Pleas–Probate Juvenile Robert W. Stewart
Judge–4th District Court of Appeals Peter B. Abele