July 25, 2016

Intermittent clouds

Loudonville Democrat challenging GOP’s Hall in 70th House District

Republican state Rep. Dave Hall, R-Millersburg, is facing Loudonville Democrat Steve Johnson in the Nov. 6 race for Ohio House District 70.

Dave Hall
Hall, a two-term incumbent, said he will continue to work to lessen the “tax and regulation burden” on businesses, as well as individuals, and ensure the state budget continues to be balanced.

Although Ohio is No. 4 nationwide in job creation, Hall said Ohio’s unemployment rate of 7.2 percent remains “too high.”

“We need to address workforce development,” Hall said. “I want to get people retrained to focus on areas like manufacturing, welding and medical jobs, like nursing.”

Working for constituents is a job Hall vowed to continue if re-elected. He said he often speaks on the phone with single moms who aren’t receiving child support and military veterans about medical benefits.

“Turning around calls and getting people help right away is important,” he said.

Hall, 52, is a graduate of West Holmes High School. He did not attend college but received training in agriculture and science for a park and recreation director job in Holmes County.

From 1999 to 2008, he was a Holmes County commissioner.

As a state representative, Hall is chairman of the state Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee.

Steve Johnson
Johnson, 62, is making his first bid for political office. For the last eight years, he’s worked as a treasurer and risk manager for Mansfield Plumbing Products and previously was employed by the Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co.

He called the state’s approach to education a failure over the past two years.

“It’s been more mandates and less funding. And that’s been a failing formula for our schools,” Johnson said.

Johnson said Hall was wrong to back Senate Bill 5, which would have banned strikes by government workers, limited bargaining rights for 360,000 public employees and ended binding arbitration of management-labor disputes.

Ohio voters rejected the law in a referendum last November.

“It’s still frustrating to people,” Johnson said. “Why limit the rights of our teachers, police and firefighters?”

Johnson conceded he was the underdog in the race. He said he was counting on anti-S.B. 5 sentiment among voters to pull off an upset.

“I need to get those in the district who voted against the bill,” he said. “If I do, I have a chance.”

The 70th District includes the western portion of Brunswick and Homer, Spencer, Chatham, Litchfield, Liverpool and York townships.

Contact Steve Grazier at (330) 721-4012 or sgrazier@medina-gazette.com.