June 27, 2016

Mostly cloudy

U.S. House candidate Pete Crossland touts bipartisanship

A former Ohio legislator and a software developer are facing off in Tuesday’s 16th Congressional District Democratic primary to see who will take on incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, in November.

Pete Crossland

Pete Crossland

Pete Crossland, of Copley, is challenging James Donenwirth, of Cleveland. Attempts to reach Donenwirth for comment were unsuccessful.

Crossland, 76, served in the Ohio House of Representatives for 10 years and served 22 years on the Summit County Council.

Of Renacci’s record, Crossland said he “voted to keep the government closed last fall and he voted against extending the debt limit. When he did those things, he really identified as a tea party extremist. I want someone who sits down and works through problems.”

Concerning the primary race, Crossland said he believes he has the strongest political background and more experience working with elected officials.

“I think he’s a nice fellow, but he’s only recently become involved in government,” Crossland said of Donenwirth. “I don’t think we have a great difference in views, but it’s a matter of experience.”

Crossland said his record of public service shows he’s willing to reach across the aisle and work with members of other parties. He served on the human services subcommittee of the Ohio House Finance Committee and said he worked to help pass balanced budgets.

During the 22 years he served on the Summit County Council, between 1988 and 2010, Crossland presided over a bipartisan temporary tax that helped to balance the county’s budget. As president of the council at the time, Crossland said he worked to broker a deal and got leaders from both parties to agree.

“Once the finances were in good shape, we were able to remove the tax earlier than we projected,” he said.

“That was a good example of how to make government work.”

In addition to his political career, Crossland holds a bachelor’s degree from Miami University, a graduate degree from Yale University and Ph.D. from Duke University.

Crossland served as a professor of political science at Kent State University for 30 years and holds the title of professor emeritus.

The district includes the cities of Medina, Brunswick, Wadsworth and the eastern portion of Medina County, along with portions of Cuyahoga, Summit and Stark counties and all of Wayne County.

Contact reporter Loren Genson at (330) 721-4063 or lgenson@medina-gazette.com.

Loren Genson About Loren Genson

Loren Genson was The Gazette's senior reporter. From August 2012 through September 2015, she covered Brunswick city and state and national government. To contact The Gazette, call the managing editor at (330) 721-4065.