Two men from Genoa Township — incumbent Rick Carfagna (R) and challenger Steven F. Mount (D) — are vying for the 68th District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives. The candidates are profiled below in alphabetical order.
A graduate of St. Francis DeSales High School and John Carroll University, Carfagna is a former two-term trustee of Genoa Township, where he lives with his wife and daughter. He was the first president of the Delaware County Local Government Association. He has served as representative since 2016.
“My campaign platform is focused on the unique dynamics of the 68th Ohio House District, and I’m committed to engaging residents, local governments, area chambers of commerce, superintendents and educators, farm bureaus, and local nonprofits to identify ways to improve our region,” Carfagna said on his campaign page.
Economic development is one of Carfagna’s biggest issues.
“With so much positive economic momentum in our region, we need to ensure we have the relationships in Columbus to help steer resources towards infrastructure projects, job creation endeavors, and overall quality of life improvements in Delaware and Knox counties. As state representative, I will be a champion for our local communities, facilitating discussions between the state and our area businesses, our two counties, and our local governments to ensure that the 68th District – and Ohio overall – is a welcoming, vibrant, and stable place to do business.”
In addition, combating the drug epidemic “in a holistic manner,” education and school funding, empowering local government, gun rights, and protecting life are among Carfagna’s top priorities.
Steven F. Mount is a practicing tax lawyer who is originally from Nelsonville. A graduate of Muskingum College and Harvard Law School, he has written books on community development programs. Mount and his wife have lived in Genoa since 1985. They have four children and three grandchildren. Although he has been active in Democratic politics for decades, this is his first attempt at elective office.
A moderate Democrat, Mount said he wants to restore honest government and bridge the partisan divide in Ohio.
“I decided to run for office because I saw our state slipping in many of the things that allow our citizens to have a good quality of life,” Mount said in an email to The Gazette. “I believe that is due, in part, to the Republican supermajority we have had in Ohio for the past decade, which has led to a sense of entitlement, a focus on legislation that serves only campaign donors, and ultimately to the corruption we have recently seen. That supermajority has been achieved only through the extreme gerrymandering the Republican majority put in place in 2011.”
Mount cited three main issues of importance. First and foremost is defeating the novel coronavirus.
“I have this naïve notion that Democrats and Republicans could actually team up against the coronavirus as our common enemy, and forego making this yet another partisan issue,” Mount said. “Certainly, there could not be anything more counter productive than criticizing our health director and threatening to impeach the governor. Until we actually get the virus under control, we cannot begin to revive the economy. Half measures to beat the virus have doubled the damage to the economy. We beat the coronavirus by following the best science; at this time, that involves maintaining a social distance and wearing masks. This really isn’t about personal freedom; it is about being responsible and defeating this virus.”
Next was health care. “Access to affordable healthcare is at the top of all recent surveys of voters. The coronavirus emphasizes the importance of this. In addition to maintaining and improving Obamacare, in Ohio we need to solve the problem of middlemen and prescription drug prices.”
Also of importance is racial equality, Mount said. “I support the Black Lives Matter movement and believe that we all need to reflect on implicit bias and how it has impacted our society. I am also a strong supporter of our police, and see no inconsistency in those positions.”
Gary Budzak may be reached at 740-413-0906 or on Twitter @GaryBudzak.