Term: Two years, Jan. 4, 2021-Jan. 4, 2023

Salary: $63,007

Gayle Manning (R)

Age: 70

Elected experience: Ohio House of Representatives District 55, 2019-present; Ohio State Senate, 2011-18; North Ridgeville City Council, 2005-06.

Employment: retired public school teacher

What do you see as the most important issue facing the district?

COVID-19 is our biggest challenge right now which has caused an economic downturn.

What will you do to address this issue if elected?

My legislative experience and leadership during the recession in January 2011 will help with the economic rebound. Ohio had an $8 billion deficit, 89 cents in the rainy day fund, and 11% unemployment. By January 2020, we balanced the budget, built $2.7 billion in the rainy day fund, and had an unemployment rate of 4%, all while lowering taxes. I will take my previous knowledge from the earlier experience and expand on that to address the current economic picture.

I am working to develop industry-recognized certificate programs to help workers get trained for better jobs at a faster pace. This will increase wages and fill the gap for the employers.

I have passed legislation to reduce unnecessary regulations on businesses so they can thrive.

To help schools in these trying times, I introduced legislation to reduce state-mandated tests. Less testing will still allow students to learn the skills that tomorrow’s employers will be demanding.

I will continue working with people in the district to see what their needs are and listen to advice from the experts in order to develop effective solutions. I am determined to continue to work to ensure the pandemic rebound brings better days for all of us and our loved ones.

Zach Stepp (D)

Age: 25

Elected experience: None

Employment: public Sector data analytics consultant

What do you see as the most important issue facing the district?

The biggest issue facing our district is economic revitalization. For too long, communities in Lorain County have been left behind in the 21st-century economy. Too many of our kids move off to college and don't come back, which leads to large employers passing us over for more attractive investment zones. As the sixth-most moved-from state in the nation for young skilled workers, Ohio must do more to retain and attract a vibrant workforce, which would result in an expanded tax base to make necessary investments in our children's schools, protecting our seniors from rising property taxes and ensuring all Ohioans have equal opportunity to get ahead. The fact of the matter is that as a state we've moved backward over the last 10 years, as a corrupt legislature puts the for-profit interests of large corporations over the people of Lorain County. For too long politicians have done more to empower themselves and their family than they do to move Lorain County forward. It's time for change.

What will you do to address this issue if elected?

I am proud to have produced a series of policy proposals, modeled after programs in other states dealing with similar economic issues. These policy proposals have culminated in my Lorain County Comeback Plan, which would make Columbus a partner for the economic revitalization of Lorain County. Since day one of my campaign I have been issue-driven and have produced a policy recommendation every week for the last six months in my weekly “Sunday Issue” column. I encourage readers to check them out at zachsteppforohio.com.

In my Lorain County Comeback Plan, we will prioritize lowering the cost of higher education, especially for middle-class families who are neither too rich nor too poor to reap the benefits of affordable education. My plan freezes the ever-rising costs of in-state college tuition, makes textbooks more affordable, and offers student loan forgiveness incentives for folks who decide to stay in Ohio to build a career here after college. I've also offered plans based on a successful program in New Hampshire to offer tax incentives for former Ohioans to move back home to Ohio in places in need of young skilled workers (like Lorain County). I've offered another proposal based on a successful program in New Jersey to properly invest in the revitalization of vacant malls, which drive down the property value of all our real estate. We need new, fresh perspectives in Columbus that are capable and willing to work across the aisle to deliver meaningful results for Lorain County. I believe my plans will move us forward.

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