Four of the five Republican candidates for Margaret Ann Ruhl’s 68th District Ohio House seat were present for a debate at Big Walnut High School on Thursday.
Seated at a table, the candidates took turns answering written questions from the public and the moderators with a shared microphone.
W. Myles Bancroft said he and his wife preferred living in Westerville to their native Carolinas. He said he was a lay pastor and a business owner. “Not one of our Ohio presidents, astronauts or Thomas Edison were educated using Common Core,” Bancroft said. He said that drug dealers should have their driver’s licenses taken away, as well as any benefits.
“When you take money from the government, you’re making a deal with the devil,” Bancroft said.
A man who identified himself as Rick Carfagna’s campaign manager said the candidate could not attend the debate because he was chairing the Genoa Township trustees’ meeting taking place at the same time. Carfagna has served two terms as a trustee. He has been endorsed by the Delaware County Republican Party, the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Ohio Right to Life.
Beth Lear of Galena said she moved back to Delaware County because she wanted a safe high school for her children to attend. A veteran who was stationed at the Pentagon, Lear has served as a legislative aide in the Ohio Statehouse. She said her experience there made her not want to be a politician, but she wants to “get government out of our business. … We don’t need Bill Gates telling us what to do.”
Lear said she was opposed to Gov. John Kasich’s JobsOhio program, saying it is a form of crony capitalism by picking winners and losers.
“No general should go into battle without a plan,” said Patrick Quinn of Mount Vernon. He said he had a plan to help school districts, and supported the idea of state nullification if it didn’t agree with federal laws.
“Make going to jail a real punishment instead of a badge of honor,” Quinn said. He also said that marijuana, in any form, is “a beginning point to other drugs, a pathway to bigger problems.”
Jason Rogers said he is an engineer serving his second term on the Centerburg Local Board of Education. “We need to have more Christians in political office to clean up the mess we’re in today,” he said. He said he is in favor of eliminating Medicaid expansion in the state, preferred a county curriculum to a statewide standard, and felt the government’s role should be limited to health and safety.
“The best government is at the local level,” Rogers said.
The debate went on three rounds of questions for more than two hours, and the candidates were civil to each other and the moderators. Lear, a member of the Eastern Delaware County Republican Club, which presented the debate, received the most applause.
Ruhl, who is leaving the house due to term limits, was asked to describe her work. She said the position paid more than $60,000 annually.
“You have to deal with a multitude of topics, understand our party and philosophy,” Ruhl said. “You have 24 hours to study a bill. There are things you may like in a bill, and there are things you may not like, but if you’re in a chair, you have to vote ‘yes’ or ‘no.’ If you’re in the minority (party), you get nothing done.”
Ruhl said she works 80 hours a week when she’s not campaigning, serving on three of the 17 House committees. She said she didn’t know how some representatives could also have outside jobs.
“I go to as many meetings as I can,” Ruhl said. “I put my whole life into it.”
The 68th District consists of the eastern half of Delaware County and all of Knox County, which includes Centerburg, Danville, Fredericktown and Mount Vernon.
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0904 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.