Wondering about what judicial candidates to vote for, and what State School Board candidate to vote for?


Here is some information and suggestions. My personal choices, for what it is worth, are bolded.

Ohio Supreme Court – two seats

Melody Stewart vs. Mary Degenaro

Degenaro, in her short term on the Ohio Supreme Court, has voted three times against Community Rights efforts to get citizens initiatives on the ballot in cases involving Youngstown, Columbus and Toledo. Stewart voted against the Broadview Heights Community Rights group at the Appellate level, but only on the basis of a technical consideration. I think that Stewart will be more open than her opponent to consideration of Athens County efforts to get a charter on the ballot.

Michael Donnelly vs. Craig Baldwin

I don’t know much about Donnelly, but his opponent styles himself as an “originalist” in the mode of US Supreme Court justice Alioto. I wonder if being an “originalist” means being committed to allowing voting only by white males, as the originators of the Constitution were.

District 4 Court of Appeals (includes Athens County and most of southern Ohio) – two seats

Marie Hoover vs. Jason Smith

Hoover is the incumbent. She pitches herself as being faithful to the law. Smith advertises himself as a conservative. Being a conservative should neither qualify or disqualify anyone as a candidate for the  court, but because someone holds a particular political view isn’t a reason to support election to a judicial seat. It is inappropriate advertising from my point of view.

Valerie Gerlach

Gerlach seems well qualified, although she hasn’t responded to LWV requests for information about herself for the League Voter Guides. Her opponent advertises himself as a conservative.

Additional information about the judicial candidates can be found at  https://blogs.uakron.edu/judicialvotescount/athens-county-judicial-elections-2018/.

Ohio School Board- district 8 reaches from Meigs County north to Stark and Mahoning Counties, including Athens County

(See an interesting article about this race at http://www.wfmj.com/story/39248990/canfield-teen-runs-for-state-board-of-education

Kathleen Purdy – seemingly a good candidate. Certainly more experienced than Dahman! My reservation is that she wants to lure companies into the district to increase the tax base, but to do so means giving the companies tax breaks, which contributes to the downward spiral of taxation and support for education. In other words, give the well-paid company management a tax break so their underpaid employees can pay the taxes. (See http://www.vindy.com/politics/politicians/kathleen-purdy/).

Melissa Dahman – an 18 year old. Responding to the Parkland School shooting, “The teen says a group of students instead took their concerns to state senators, crafting a House Bill and Senate Bill 314, which requires schools to hire a school psychologist and intervention specialist. The bill is sponsored by State Senator Joe Schiavoni.” (from the article cited above) That’s better than hiring more policeman or arming teachers, but it is another unfunded mandate for schools.

John Hagan – a former Republican member of the Ohio House, who was term-limited, tried to get back into politics with an unsuccessful run for county commissioner, is now trying for the state school board

I do have a concern in this race about splitting the vote between the two best candidates, Purdy and Dahman, allowing the least desirable candidate to win. 

If you have additional information about these candidates which I should share, please let me know.

Additional information about candidates for other offices can be found at the League of Women Voters site, www.vote411.org.

However you vote, be sure to vote. Don’t let democracy die through your apathy.

John Howell, Coordinator of Democracy Over Corporations

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