Primary mix heavy with local names

Staff Report

Familiar names from across our community newspapers’ coverage areas are seeking their parties’ blessings on the May 8 ballot.

At the top of the list is Janet Garrett of Oberlin, the longtime elementary school teacher who hopes to win a U.S. House of Representatives seat in the 4th District.

First, she must overcome fellow candidate Cody James Slatzer-Rose of New Albany in the Democratic primary.

The winner will face either Republican incumbent Jim Jordan of Urbana or his primary challenger, Joseph Miller of Marion.

In the 13th District Ohio Senate race, former Oberlin city councilman David Ashenhurst has withdrawn, leaving Democratic opponent Sharon Sweda of Amherst an uncontested primary win. Incumbent Nathan Manning of North Ridgeville faces challenger Ryan Sawyer of Norwalk in the Republican primary.

Perhaps the most interesting race can be found in the Ohio House of Representatives 56th District, where several local names are in the mix: Claudia Olaes of Oberlin and Joe Miller of Amherst are vying for the job on the Democratic ticket, along with Mark Ballard II and Cory Shawver, both of Lorain.

Olaes graduated as valedictorian from Oberlin High School and attends Oberlin College on the Robinson Scholarship. Her big plank is education, which she said is being ruined by bureaucracies “that are focused on sustaining the system and promoting the careers of few high fliers.”

Miller, an Amherst city councilman and a teacher at Firelands High School, has said he is angry about the flow of money out of Lorain County and into Columbus — and about “oppressive legislation” that has drained funding from local government. “My goal is to continue to educate our legislators — who a lot of times are not living in the real world — about what it’s like to face the kinds of challenges we do in Lorain County,” he said.

Shawver, a 2008 Amherst Steele High School graduate, also said “repeated blows from Columbus” have weakened local safety forces and infrastructure, putting his community in a bind. “I’ve been a part of the community my whole life and I’ve seen the things that have helped to make it thrive as well as the things that have made it hurt,” he said. “The losses from Columbus makes it harder to attract good paying jobs to our community. It’s time to bring that money back to Lorain and Lorain County where it belongs, allowing us to do more to improve our safety forces, repair our roads and tear down blighted and abandoned homes to make our communities stronger.”

Ballard is a former Lorain service director and managing director at WNZN Power 89.1. He holds a degree in economics and is expected to receive a law degree this spring. His platform focuses on local schools, working families, job creation, and affordable health care.

Rob Weber of Oberlin is unopposed on the Republican side of the equation

Democrats Charlita Anderson White of Oberlin and Lisa Swenski of Amherst are part of the Lorain County domestic court judge race, along with Jack Bradley of Lorain and Michael Duff of Sheffield Lake. All are running as Democrats.

Staff Report