63rd Ohio House seat up for grabs between Holmes and Stanley

The choice for a new state representative in the 63rd District is between the mayor of McDonald who said he is a trusted member of the community and a newcomer attorney who said it is his business to negotiate the best deals for his clients.

Devon Stanley of Girard said he wants to make the constituents of the district his clients and bring back “bags full of money” from Columbus.

Mayor Glenn Holmes, who was a council member before he was elected to the helm of the village, said the people want someone representing them who has a trusted record of working for the people.

Because he was mayor when the state started cutting funds to local governments, Holmes said he knows first hand what the district’s villages, townships and cities are going through and where they need cash.

Stanley said he is a first-generation lawyer who grew up as a Democrat in Niles. He said becoming a conservative was a “maturation process” he went through and before he became a lawyer who first specialized in personal injury law, he worked in mills, putting himself through college.

Like Republican candidate for president Donald Trump, Stanley said he understands the art of the deal. Stanley ran against Sean O’Brien for the incumbent’s two-term seat in 2014 for the same district. O’Brien is not seeking the seat in 2016, but instead is looking for a vote into the state Senate.

Holmes said acting as mayor has taught him a lot about collaboration and how to work with varying agencies to get done what his people need him to get done. He said he is  confident he can “wrestle for the funds our communities need to maintain services.”

Stanley said maintaining a virtual one-party system in the district, where a Republican hasn’t represented the people in decades, is not good for a healthy political system. Under Republicans, Ohio has gone from being one of the least transparent states in the nation, to the most, Stanley said. If elected, he said he would encourage all of the communities in the district to continue on paths to transparency.

When it comes to the state’s $2 billion rainy day fund, both said they would find ways to trickle some of it back into the hands of local people, without eliminating the surplus.

Holmes said the money could be used in part to incentivize capital investments for businesses in order to grow infrastructure, stimulate more business interest in alternative fuels to grow jobs and aggressively fund a response to the heroin epidemic.

“It isn’t fair to make new rules in the middle of a game or take a paddle away in the middle of the stream. I think we can find creative solutions that rely on collaborative approaches,” Holmes said.

Stanley said sending a member of the Republican ruling party to Columbus will make it easier for the district’s representative to get funding for “forward thinking” grants to patch the holes in the local government funds. He said the district’s roads are lacking and companies that earn paving contracts should be held more responsible for the work they do.

He said cities may need to face facts and downsize like businesses often do, but the surplus could go to problem areas, as long as the state maintained a three-to-six month emergency reserve.

“The legislature must maintain its conservative nature, but I think we can loosen the purse strings for small businesses, vocational programs in education and some infrastructure,” Stanley said.

Communities should be prepared to utilize loans and bonds for infrastructure, because the infrastructure won’t pay for itself, but strong grant programs could make the difference in cash-strapped communities, Holmes said.

“People can’t expect a small government and big services,” Holmes said.

The heroin epidemic needs aggressive funding and legislation to reduce the amount of opioid prescription pills in the market, Holmes said. He said he would support a bill limiting opioid prescriptions to 30 or 60 days, and would want to sit down with medical associations in the state to plan a solution.

A core, routine focus on drug education is needed in the schools to get a handle on the issues in the long term, Holmes said. And intervention specialist should be responding to overdose calls to help create a more health and treatment based response to the epidemic, and a less punitive response.

Stanley said the epidemic is sending a lot of people to prison who don’t belong there.

The response to the epidemic should minimize the impact on the user, because creating lengthy records for people who might recover from the addiction will hurt their chances of becoming a productive member of society, Stanley said. There is a difference between the “drug addicts who commit crimes and criminals who do drugs,” Stanley said.