Voter Guide

The counties included in the voters guide are: Montgomery, Warren, Miami, Greene, Clark, Champaign, Preble, and Butler.

NOTE: Not all communities have issues or candidates on the ballot.

Ohio Senate District 5

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  • Candidate picture

    Paul Bradley
    (Dem)

  • Steve Huffman
    (Rep)

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Biographical Information

What are the two biggest challenges facing the state and how would you deal with them?

What would you do to bring jobs to Ohio? Do you support JobsOhio? What changes would you make to it?

21 states have passed minimum wage increases since 2014. What do you think the minimum wage should be in Ohio?

What is your plan for resolving concerns about the skills gap many Ohio business leaders complain about?

Ohio has consistently cut income taxes over more than a decade. Do you support further reductions or increases in the state income tax? Why?

Should Medicaid expansion continue or not? Under what restrictions?

Heroin and opiate addiction have become a major issue in the state. The death tolls are rising and more families are impacted. What ideas do you have to deal with the crisis?

K-12 education in Ohio is all over the place when it comes to success. There are very successful public schools and failing ones. What ideas do you have to improve education in Ohio?

How do you feel about the current system of ranking schools based on test performance? Performance on statewide tests consistently show that districts that serve affluent communities perform better than those with high concentrations of poverty. How do we improve educational outcomes for all students regardless of wealth? And how do we hold districts accountable in a way that doesn’t just measure wealth?

Some argue the best way to close race- and income-based achievement gaps is increased funding for preschool programs. The group Groundwork Ohio argues that a child’s academic preparedness entering kindergarten is one of the greatest predictors of his or her success, yet preschool funding gets 6 percent of what the state spends on higher education. What are your thoughts on this? Do you have other ideas on how to improve kindergarten readiness for children, especially low-income children?

What is your position on school choice? What role do you think charters and private schools should play in the educational landscape?

How does Ohio need to improve higher education and deal with affordability and attracting students?

What makes you more qualified than your opponent(s) to hold this office?

Ohio is establishing its medical marijuana program. Do you support full legalization? If so, under what circumstances? If not, why not?

What is your stance on abortion issues?

Given recent school shootings, what do you think Ohio can do to make schools safer?

Ohio has passed a lot of gun issues in recent years. Do you favor gun rights – stand your ground, CCW, etc? Do you favor gun restrictions – universal background checks, bump stock ban, assault weapons ban, etc?

Schools, cities and counties continue to complain that state funding has been cut, forcing them to cut services and/or raise local taxes. How will you work with local governments?

What else do you want the voters to know about you and your campaign?

Experience Southwest Ohio Regional Representative for Senator Sherrod Brown Director of Government Relations for Antioch University
Education B.A. Political Science, University of Dayton
Just like every other state, Ohio is facing many challenges. I believe government should be focused on improving educational opportunities for every child and supporting an economic climate that provides good-paying jobs in every community. I believe public education is the best way to level the playing field for every child and creates pathways out of poverty. Right now, we have legislators in Columbus who have allowed for-profit schools like ECOT to steal millions of dollars from taxpayers and education funding from children. We need to clean up this culture of pay-to-play politics while also fighting for a constitutional public school funding formula. When it comes to creating a strong economic climate, I believe the state needs to be a better partner with local communities on everything from workforce development, skills gap training programs, and very importantly – combating the opioid crisis that is ravaging many parts of Ohio.
Employers want to locate in a region that has skilled, qualified workers and where local governments can provide police and fire protection, reliable roads, and access to healthcare. That starts with providing high-quality public education and options for job training and skills. It also means giving back local government funding that has been taken from Ohio’s cities and towns since 2011. If JobsOhio is using taxpayer money to function, it should be more transparent so everyone can see how tax dollars are being used.
Ohio is due for a minimum wage increase, and I will work with labor and businesses around Ohio to figure out the right amount and how best to implement this increase. What we know is that, right now, there are mothers and fathers all around Ohio who are working more than 40 hours a week and are still unable to put food on the table and take care of their children’s needs. In our country, if you work hard and play by the rules, you should be able to support yourself and your family on a strong, middle class job and fair treatment under the law. For so many Americans, however, this is no longer possible, at least in part because of a lag in minimum wage increases.

In many ways I believe the skills gap is tied directly to our efforts to improve our public schools. The skills gap in Ohio is much more nuanced than just technical training: it also includes things like financial literacy, critical thinking, and job readiness (soft skills) training. I believe the solutions should start as early as pre-k education and continue all the way through a more robust high school curriculum that includes technical training linked to existing job opportunities and exposure to a variety of strong jobs available in the community. By partnering our workforce development programs more closely with businesses, we can ensure that training lines up with the skills needed to fills available jobs.
For the last several years, the Republican leadership in Columbus has consistently cut much-needed funds for our local communities, which is unacceptable. We need to make sure that we are supporting our local cities, services, and schools rather than making it harder for them to provide services to their residents. While the state has cut income taxes by slashing critical education and local government funding, we have seen communities all across Ohio forced to pick up the slack by passing levies. This is not a sustainable or fiscally responsible solution.
Over 700,000 Ohioans have received health care access through Medicaid Expansion and over 150,000 Ohioans are receiving their mental health and substance abuse treatment through the expansion. It would be irresponsible to rip that health care away from people now when they need it more than ever. I support continuing Medicaid expansion while also looking for ways to make access to quality health care more affordable and efficient for everyone.
Every day 14 Ohioans die from opiate overdoses. As a state we must be better prepared to handle this crisis by working more closely with our local communities that are on the front lines handling these tragedies. Support for increased mental health and substance abuse treatment is one way to help combat this issue but we must also look at the underlying reasons this health crisis has exploded in communities across Ohio.
Ohio’s funding formula for public schools was ruled unconstitutional more than two decades ago, but legislators in Columbus have utterly failed to do a single thing about it. We must first work with members of both parties to fix our broken funding formula so that children all across Ohio receive a high-quality public education no matter what zip code they happen to live in. In many communities around Ohio, we are asking teachers and school districts to do more with fewer resources than other schools just a few miles down the road in another city. In the 5th Senate District, we have some of the worst-performing school districts in the state. Teachers need to be provided with the resources to help our children be successful.

Additionally, Columbus politicians have continued to look the other way and allow for-profit schools to under perform, but without any accountability. The online for-profit school, ECOT, stole millions of dollars from 5th Senate District public schools alone. That is money that should have paid for music programs, science textbooks, math teachers, and so much more.
I understand the need to evaluate school districts’ performance but I believe the emphasis on statewide standardized tests only inhibits many of our lower performing school districts from being able to catch up. We decrease the education gap by first creating an equitable public school funding formula that does not put our lower income communities at a disadvantage. Access to quality public education is the best way we can level the playing field for our children and provide pathways out of poverty, but for too many of our children that access is out of reach. I will work with our teachers, parents, and local communities to make sure legislators in Columbus focus on creating a funding and performance evaluation system that is more equitable.
I agree with Groundwork Ohio and believe that access to high quality early learning programs is the best way to ensure that all children enter kindergarten ready to learn and on equal footing. I support efforts like the recently implemented Dayton Preschool Promise program, which increases access to preschool and helps to improve the quality of existing preschool programs.

As a state we should be preemptively investing in our children’s education not only because it is the right thing to do, but because it has shown to be much more cost effective and will result in a greater return on taxpayer dollars. Giving students a strong foundation at the beginning of their education can increase their chances to be successful in school and productive members of the workforce.
First and foremost, I am a strong supporter of our public school system, and I believe that we should be investing in public school districts and ensuring that all students have access to high-quality education through their local public schools. Any role that charter and private schools play in Ohio must not actively harm our local school districts.

When addressing charter and private schools, it is crucial that we ensure that they are funded in a way that does not take money away from public schools. I also believe that charter and private schools must be held to the same high standards to which we hold our public schools. It is unacceptable to allow failing charter schools to not only continue operating, but also to take funding from a local school district (where it would be put to much better use). Ohio has some of the worst-performing charter schools in the entire country, and we must change this.
Ohio needs to invest in higher education, both to reduce tuition costs and also to make college affordable. This would encourage students to enroll without fear of becoming excessively in debt. Overall the last decade, according to the Ohio Legislative Service Commission, total student enrollment in public colleges and universities fell every year from 2011 to 2017. Ohio’s enrollment during that period decreased from 416,931 to 344,235, a decrease of over 17%. According the State Higher Education Executive Officers Association, since the Great Recession Ohio’s per pupil spending has fallen by almost 9% from $6,655 in 2008 to $6,061 in 2017. During this same period, Ohio’s tuition increased by over 11% from $7,716 to $8,626. Ohio’s main budget line item supporting higher education, the State Share of Instruction, peaked in 2011 at $2.0 billion. This is because over the last 8 years, Governor Kasich and Republican majorities in the Ohio General Assembly prioritized large tax cuts for the wealthy and stuffing Ohio’s rainy day fund over investing in our schools, colleges and local communities. All of Ohio’s two- and four-year colleges and universities need to use their resources more efficiently and effectively to help students graduate on time with employable degrees that fit Ohio’s economy. Ohio’s institutions need to do more to cut administrative overhead and maximize spending on classroom instruction and programs. The General Assembly can pass laws to encourage institutions to improve their operations, but first and foremost the General Assembly must commit to restoring higher education’s place in the state budget as a top investment priority.
For the first part of my professional career, I spent six and a half years working for Senator Sherrod Brown as his regional representative for Southwest Ohio. I believe that experience has given me a deeper knowledge and understanding of the importance of truly being a representative for the communities you serve. The 5th Senate District is diverse and I believe the Senator who holds this position must be knowledgeable in the issues facing the urban areas of Dayton and Trotwood as well as the rural areas from Eaton to Piqua and everywhere in between. I promise to work every single day to be a strong voice for the entire 5th Senate District and to listen to my constituents before every single vote in Columbus.
I support a fair and open ballot initiative on full legalization to allow the citizens of Ohio to decide. Many states have already gone through this process, and I believe it would be in our best interest to investigate their implementation and learn from their processes. Any full legalization would need to be done in a careful, thoughtful manner.
I believe that women have the right to make decisions about their body and their health care without interference from the government.
No child should have to go to school and fear that they may be shot. For too many students in America this is an absolute reality. I support increasing funding to our schools to make sure we provide a safe environment for every child to learn in. Ohio should look to increase access to counselors and mental health services and do everything we can to help student access the community and social services they need while also cracking down on bullying. I also pledge to work in across the aisle to fight for effective gun safety legislation that does not inhibit the second amendment rights of law abiding citizens but would keep our children safer.
I believe there is a reasonable balance that most Americans would agree upon that protects individual law abiding citizens second amendment rights while also working towards a safer community for everyone. Policies like red flag laws and universal background checks do not restrict ownership of guns from any law-abiding citizen, but they do provide law enforcement officers with another tool to keep their communities safe. Given the rash of recent school shootings, I believe our children have the right to go to school without the fear of gun violence being a part of their school day. I would call upon all sides of the aisle to put aside partisan political talking points and working towards making our communities safer.
As a state we must stop balancing our budget on the backs of local communities and restore local government funding. I believe in returning taxpayer dollars to local communities to decide how best it should be spent. In Columbus the rainy day coffers have been filled through this fiscally irresponsible manner as legislators have hoarded taxpayer dollars instead of returning that money to local communities. I will work to restore local government funds and make sure that taxpayer dollars are managed in a fiscally responsible way.
I serve as a board member for the Miami Valley Fair Housing Center, the Dayton Human Relations Council, and the City of Dayton Plan Board. I am also a member of Dayton Rotary and the Phi Kappa Psi fraternity. I have been married for one year and live in the Oregon District with my wife, Caitlin and cat, Peyton. I first became involved in Ohio politics as Senator Sherrod Brown’s Regional Representative for Southwest Ohio. During the six years I worked for Senator Brown, I forged partnerships with constituents in the Miami Valley and the surrounding counties and, together with Senator Brown’s team, offered creative solutions to problems and worked to strengthen the local economy and improve local neighborhoods. I am running because the 5th Senate District deserves a representative that will put people over special interests. For too long we have returned the same politicians to Columbus who have offered little in return. As the son of Republican parents, I understand that we don’t always need to agree on the issues to forge a relationship. In fact, I believe that some of the best ideas are formed when people with different viewpoints come together to make a decision. In Columbus, I will work across the aisle to deliver the results our community deserves. Whether it’s addressing the lack of funding for our children’s education, making sure jobs come to and stay in Ohio, ensuring our working families have a voice in their workplace, or providing real solutions to the opioid epidemic ravaging our communities, I believe that the best answers can be found when elected leaders listen to their constituents and seek to solve problems together.
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