Election Day is next week, and while all eyes are on the Presidential election, the ballot is loaded with many important local races and issues. Since these elections have much smaller electorates, your vote is even more important. Below you can find information and resources about some of the candidates and local measures that will be on the Oberlin ballot.
Ohio’s 4th Congressional District
Ohio has 16 members in the U.S. House of Representatives: 12 Republicans and four Democrats. Oberlin is represented by Ohio’s 4th district which stretches across the northeast, central, and southwest areas of the state. The duck-shaped district is notoriously gerrymandered — with critics arguing that its borders are contorted to maximize Republican votes to overtake Democrats. Since 2007, the seat has been held by Republican Jim Jordan, ally to Donald Trump and founding member of the House Freedom Caucus. This year, Democrat Shannon Freshour, a civil litigation paralegal, is challenging him, along with Libertarian Steve Perkins, automotive technical trainer and former Ohio public school teacher. More Review coverage of this race here.
Supreme Court of Ohio
Ohio’s Supreme Court is the end of Ohio’s appeal chain; it hears death penalty cases and appeals that have already gone through district appeals courts, and settles district court disputes. Currently there are five Republican and two Democrat justices. In this statewide election, the Republican seats are up for re-election. Republican incumbent Judith French is running against Democrat Jennifer L. Brunner, a current judge of the Ohio district court of appeals and former Ohio secretary of state. Republican incumbent Sharon L. Kennedy is running against Democrat John P. O’Donnell, a Cuyahoga County common pleas judge.
Ohio House of Representatives District 56
The Ohio House of Representatives is the lower house of the state legislature, working with the Ohio Senate to make laws for the state. Every two years, all 99 seats in the State House are up for re-election. Going into this election, 61 Republican and 38 Democratic incumbents are running again. Ohio’s 56th state house district covers Oberlin, Amherst, and Lorain, and is currently represented by Democrat Joseph A. Miller III. Miller is challenged by Republican Bradley Lacko, a trucker and farmer.
Ohio’s Ninth District Court of Appeals
Oberlin is in the ninth of Ohio’s 12 appellate court districts. A panel of three judges hears cases that have already gone through other courts in Ohio. Appeals judges serve six-year terms. Although this ballot is nonpartisan, incumbent Julie Schafer was placed on the ballot by Republicans, while challenger Betty Sutton was selected by Democrats.
Lorain County Commissioner
Ohio counties have three county commissioners. They serve four-year terms and have financial control of county spending, taxing, budgeting, and purchasing. The commissioners act as a body — no one commissioner can act on their own. Democrat incumbents Sharon Sweda and Lori Kokoski are facing off against Republicans David J. Moore and Michelle Hung, respectively.
Lorain County Prosecutor
The county prosecutor oversees all criminal cases brought to court in Lorain and represents the county in all civil cases. They also serve as the county’s primary legal advisor. Republican Robert J. Gargasz is running against Democrat J.D. Tomlinson, OC ’03, who overtook the incumbent in the Democratic primary.
Lorain County Recorder
The county recorder is the official record keeper for all of Lorain County. They often deal in real estate transactions. Democrat incumbent Judy Nedwick is running against Republican business owner Mike Doran.
Issues and Tax Levis
Issue 24: Lorain County Children’s Services 5-Year Renewal/1.8 mills
This is an option to renew a tax levy that funds Lorain County Children Services. Lorain County Children Services helps abused and neglected children, among other duties. For a person who owns a $100,000 home, this would cost about $63 a year — raising around $12.3 million annually.
Issue 22: Oberlin City School District 5-Year Renewal/2.0 mills
This is an option to renew a property tax in order to make permanent improvements in Oberlin’s school district, such as updating buildings and buses. The district plans on collecting half of the full levy, meaning it would cost $13.45 for anyone with a home worth $100,000.
Issue 21: Oberlin City School District 5-Year Renewal/3.77 mills
If passed, this proposal would renew a property tax to raise money for day-to-day operations such as staff salaries, school supplies, extracurricular activities, and athletics. As in the past, this levy would cost a $100,000 homeowner $132 annually. More information about the Oberlin City School levies here.