Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Local Politics at Work

For a Conservative Ohio State House of Representatives

Monday night I witnessed a civil debate between two persons vying for the vacant seat of a term-limited state representative in Ohio’s 90th District. The debate was held in a vocational school in Mount Vernon, Ohio. It was attended by approximately 75 people. One of the candidates mentioned that it was the best attended gathering of all held for this office in this election cycle.

The debate was a back and forth between the two candidates. The moderator tossed out the same questions to each candidate on a rotating basis. They had either 2 or 3 minutes to answer. There was also a 1 minute rebuttal period for each candidate.

The debate was kind of a cross between the last McCain-Obama debate and Rick Warren's Saddleback Civil Forum.

I knew just a few things about the candidates prior to the debate. I left the debate knowing more than I had before. The Democratic candidate, Dwayne Grassbaugh was a farmer, small businessman and college graduate, who is new to politics. His strong point was that he visited each of the 45 townships in the district and felt that this was a good basis on which to build his understanding and representation as a new legislator. On the other hand he revealed that he was endorsed by the Ohio Education Association (OEA) and labor unions. He mentioned several times “green” Ohio, which to me is a catch phrase for over-the-line environmentalism.

On the other hand, Margaret Ann Ruhl, the Republican candidate, said that as having served as city and county auditor for over 20 years she brings an excellent experience and understanding of the government budgeting process to her job as a state representative. She emphasized the need to step up the use of clean coal and encouraging business develop instead of raising more taxes to stimulate growth of the Districts economy and to create jobs. She was not as articulate as was her opponent in expressing her opinions, but had superior ideas positions on the issues and experience.

Some of the topics covered where jobs, energy, health care, education and taxes. The Democrat expressed himself better on the issues. However, the Republican had better ideas. My major concern with the Democrat is with the endorsement of the OEA. I would be afraid that Mr. Grassbaugh would be supportive of the positions of that rabid union over the best interests of the students of Ohio. Based on the debate tonight I feel comfortable in both voting for Mrs. Ruhl and placing her yard sign in my yard, which I had for a few days pending the outcome and performance in the debate.

Here is the local newspaper's, MountVernonNews.com, account of the event.

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