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Election primer

October 3, 2012

Tom Finkelmeier Jr. told attendees about a city issue re-defining elected city official terms and why he supports the proposal.

Several candidates explained their stances Tuesday on local and state issues for the upcoming election at a Meet the Candidates Luncheon hosted by the Wapakoneta Area Chamber of Commerce.

Ohio Board of Education District 1 candidate Ann Jacobs and Ohio 82nd District state representative candidates, Pete Schlegel and Tony Burkley, made abbreviated remarks about their plans if they are elected and their qualifications for the posts.

Two local officials also addressed issues area residents will have the opportunity to vote on.

Jacobs, an attorney and owner of Jacob Law Offices, in Lima, is completing her first term as a member of the state’s Board of Education. District 1 includes Allen, Auglaize, Champaign and 13 other counties, as well as parts of Darke, Ottawa and Seneca counties.

Jacobs ran for the position after her mother, Virginia Jacobs, served for a long time at the same post.

Jacobs said the position is not highly recognizable by many, but is very important.

“It is a position that not many people know about,” Jacobs said.

Jacobs said the state school board, which consists of 11 elected members and eight appointed members, has many important takes, such as setting school policy and making budget recommendations to state legislators. She won her last election bid with approximately 65 percent of the vote.

Jacobs served on the Shawnee Board of Education and was a member of the Apollo Career Center Joint Vocational Board prior to being elected to her current spot.

She also served on a variety of local appointed boards in the community and feels her experience is a positive for the office.

“I feel that those of us who have received a lot from their communities need to put back in,” Jacobs said. “I get excited about education because I think it is very important. I feel we have the best district int he state. We always have the best state report cards and the students are model students.”

Her opponent is former Ohio State Buckeye quarterback Stanley Jackson. He was not present at the luncheon.

Burkley, the Republican candidate for Ohio’s 82nd House seat, said he wants to help get things back on the right path.

“It seems like this generation may be on the path not to leave their children with a better society than theirs,” Burkley said.

Burkley said in his 16 years as a county commissioner in Paulding County, he learned the skills in takes to be a good state representative.

“In government, you have to build relationships with other officials to try and steer things the way you would like to see things go,” Burkley said. “I feel in my 16 years as a county commissioner I have gathered those skills.”

Burkley said he feels the state economy is improving but there was still a long way to go.

He said he wanted to maintain a focus on job growth in the state.

He said he is a strong supporter of keeping family structure in order and is a pro-life supporter. He noted his experience as a small business owner had helped prepare him for the position.

Schlegel, an independent candidate for the 82nd seat, said he wants to improve communications with local officials and reduce the size of government. He pointed out that in the state legislature, 972 bills had been proposed as new laws through September.

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government,” Schlegel said.

Schlegel said all citizens would have a direct e-mail to him and his cell phone number. He said he refuses to accept special interest money and was committed to open-minded discussion when he doesn’t agree with people.

“I will always vote the mind of my district,” Schlegel said. “Sometimes that may be going against my own feelings.”

Lima Area League of Women Voters Voter Service Chair Millie Hughes briefly talked about the proposal of state issues 1 and 2.

Hughes said Issue 1 would approve the holding of a constitutional convention for the state.

Under the Ohio Constitution, the state requires voters to be asked if a convention is needed to revise, alter or amend the state’s constitution. The last convention was held in 1911.

Hughes said if approved, proponents say portions of the constitution can be revised as needed without action of the General Assembly. Also, it will permit citizens to place amendments before voters without approval of the elected officials.

Hughes said opponents are not in favor of the issue because special interest groups could dominate the convention and revisions should be proposed as recommended by an already established modernization commission.

Issue 2 would create a 12-person commission to draw legislative and congressional boundaries and would balance the number of districts leaning toward one party or another to closely match the state’s political leaning. Eight state appeals judges would appoint 42 potential members to the commission. State legislators would then appoint three people from each party and three-non-partisan members. Those nine in turn would appoint the last three members.

Hughes said proponents argue the issue is a common sense reform toward fixing a broken system. It would reduce extreme partisanship that makes compromise more difficult. It would also make it more difficult for special interest groups to rig the system to their advantage.

However, opponents say the issue would put redistricting into the hands of unelected bureaucrats and would have unlimited funding. Also, the strict eligibility requirements for the posts would prohibit many Ohioans from serving on the committee.

Wapakoneta City Council member Tom Finkelmeier Jr. said a proposal to restructure city council terms would better serve community members by keeping experienced members on the council.

“We had the possibility of all 12 positions being replaced in city government in the last election,” Finkelmeier said. “I think it is important to have experienced council members always on the council to help groom the others. I can’t think of any scenario that would be bad enough to justify throwing all the bums out.”

The proposal would have at-large seats running for four-year terms that would stagger four-year terms of ward seats.

Also, the city treasurer seat would stagger with the city auditor seat and the mayor and council president seats would also alternate every two years.

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