MEDINA — Candidates took advantage of a forum Thursday hosted by Medina Breakfast Kiwanis to talk about themselves and their platform.
Marianne Gasiecki and Rich Javorek, candidates in the nonpartisan race for the state Board of Education’s 5th District, which includes Medina County, attended. The two hope to unseat incumbent Bryan Williams in the Nov. 6 election.
Williams, who was appointed to the 5th District seat in 2011, did not attend the breakfast forum.
The state board sets education policies, including academic content standards, and develops rules for state standardized tests and teacher licensing requirements. The board includes 11 district representatives and eight members appointed by the governor.
Gasiecki, founder of the Mansfield tea party, said the school system is broken, and said a greater emphasis should be placed on math, history and sciences.
“If our children and even our young adults had been educated properly about the values and history of our country, we probably wouldn’t be in the mess we are today,” she said. “The agendas that are fought on a regular basis to raise my children with the values that I think represent this country is a constant battle.”
She called the system biased, and said it doesn’t focus enough on American history and values.
“Enough of the teaching of global citizens, world history all this kind of stuff,” she said. “Our kids don’t even know who they are as Americans because we don’t even teach American history.”
Her words seemed to surprise Javorek, who taught American history for 35 years in Brunswick Schools.
“Marianne, I did teach history, and I was very good at it too,” he said. “In fact, one of my former students is running for the (Ohio) Supreme Court — Mike Skindell.”
Javorek, who teaches American history at Bryant and Stratton, said his experience in education, including with the state Department of Education, sets him apart from Gasiecki. He said it’s important to have that experience because the district includes Medina, Ashland, Richland and Wayne counties and parts of Holmes, Stark, Summit and Cuyahoga counties.
“It’s 100 school districts; it’s 1 million Ohioans,” he said.
Countywide candidates seeking the office of treasurer, clerk of courts, and commissioner all took turns sharing a little about themselves. Breakfast attendees also heard from U.S. Senate candidate Scott Rupert, who is running as an independent against incumbent Democrat U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and state Treasurer Josh Mandel, a Republican.
Rupert, who is a truck driver, said he’s running for the office to prove a point about Washington, D.C. Rupert said he worked until 1 a.m., slept in his truck for a few hours and then headed to Medina for the breakfast forum.
“I’m an ordinary guy. I’m a truck driver. I’m not a politician. I’m demonstrating that ordinary people can be a part of government because it’s important that we do be a part of government,” he said.
Rupert said he hopes his candidacy will inspire other average Americans to stand up and take an interest in running for office to uphold the U.S. Constitution. He said the two parties no longer represent real American people, and he wants to serve as an example that ordinary people can and should run for office.
“(The Constitution) makes it very easy for an ordinary individual like me to play a role in government,” he said. “Constitutionally, there are two qualifications to be a United States senator — that I be over 30 years old and I be an American citizen for over nine years. Most average Americans are qualified to play a role in government, but we are not.”
Contact Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or firstname.lastname@example.org.