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 House District 43

Click a candidate icon to find more information about the candidate. To compare two candidates, click the "compare" button. To start over, click a candidate icon.

  • Candidate picture

    Dan Foley
    (Dem)

  • Candidate picture

    J Todd Smith
    (Rep)

Social Media

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 County Clerk of Courts - 2000-2006 County Commissioner - 2007 to present
Education HS: Chaminade Julienne BA: Bowling Green University MA: Wright State University
1. Building the workforce talent pipeline for employers so that we can retain and expand jobs, and tell employers-both existing and future-that Ohio is the place to do business. This focus will also reconnect those workers who have fallen out of the workforce and in the process stabilize families, and make the economy stronger. 2. Improving public education. We need to infuse more dollars into public education, and find a way to more equitably fund school districts in both prosperous and lower income districts. We need to demand accountability for how those dollars are spent, reduce the over-testing climate for teachers so they can actually teach, and not fund bad experiments with for profit charter school that take away money from all public schools.
I have a strong record of working with existing employers and bringing new firms to the Miami Valley. In fact, over my time as County Commissioner I brought over $250m of new investment and employers like Caterpillar, Hematite, P&G, and Payless Shoes to the county. As State Representative, I will be proud to continue the economic development work that I’ve done as commissioner. I’ve worked closely with JobsOhio and our partner the Dayton Development Coalition and would continue to do so.
In my opinion we do need to increase the minimum wage so that people can care for their families and in the process pump that money back into the economy. Wages have lagged for people in the service economy in particular. I would be comfortable with a minimum wage in the ten to twelve dollar range, as a way to balance the support of individuals and families and allow employers to adjust.
The skills gap is absolutely real – and it needs to be addressed. We need to emphasize to people entering the workforce that the trades are a viable and lucrative career option. It’s not only the employers that are looking for skilled applicants, the educational programs and apprenticeships to give people those skills are also looking for applicants to give them the skills! There is good work going on statewide and regionally in this area, but we need to constantly improve the alignment of the need with the opportunities.
Further state tax reductions are fiscally irresponsible. We’re gutting the infrastructure for a healthy economy – strong schools, strong essential services like fire and police, and strong roads in order to cut income taxes as much as possible. I believe in being responsible with the people’s money, and we have to be steadfast against misuse or waste of public dollars. But the belief that the public sphere has no role in creating a good society is wrong.
Medicaid expansion has helped 700,000 Ohioans get the care they need when they need it. There’s not only a moral obligation to continue Medicaid expansion, there’s a fiscal one; people who are forced to go to the ER for care create the largest expense possible in the medical system, expenses that are seen in higher rates and premiums for the insured. Medicaid expansion has saved both Ohioans and the State of Ohio money. We need to keep this expansion intact.
As co-chair of the Community Overdose Action Team, we’ve helped organize a public health based coordinated response to the worst per-capita overdose states in the state. While we have a long road to go, and even one overdose is one too many, I’m proud to say that over the past year we haven’t just reduced overdose deaths by more than 60%, we’ve reduced ER visits, law enforcement overdose calls, and instances of naloxone administration by EMS by 60% as well. Credit is due to many, but we’re starting to see positive momentum in the fight against opioids locally.
The first thing that we can do is make sure we equitably fund schools like the Supreme Court of Ohio mandated back in 1997. The truth is that our local schools are failed by Columbus, not the other way around. Without funding for basic programs, adequate teacher salaries, and text books, “failing” school districts have no option but to deliver less than the quality education the hardworking board members, teachers, superintendents, and principals of Ohio can deliver.
Teaching to the test robs kids of a quality education. While performance metrics and some standardized testing must obviously play a role in assessing school districts, Columbus has gone overboard while ignoring the most obvious (and court mandated) solution: equitable funding.
Pre-K funding is absolutely essential for a variety of reasons, not just academic preparedness. Pre-K provides an opportunity for children to be socialized with their peers, learn essential pre-learning skills, and can offer child-care for busy parents. We must absolutely look at ways to increase access to Pre-K for every child in Ohio, as we have done in Dayton and Montgomery County with our Preschool Promise.
Charters by themselves can be assessed on a case-by-case basis, but even then the story of for-profit charters in Ohio is particularly troubling and self-defeating for our communities. The privatization of education with public dollars opens up a pandora’s box of opportunities for waste, fraud, and abuse. The example of ECOT which has gotten plenty of coverage, is proof that we do not need any more failed experiments with for profit charters that in truth and practice harm public education.
We’re fortunate to have one of the nation’s premier community colleges In Sinclair in our backyard, a great and affordable education that serves a regional market. I support community colleges also being able to offer selected four year degrees. The state used to pick up over 60 percent of the costs of state institutions, we’ve cut that by over 40 percent. We rank consistently low in college affordability. This is going to take political will to fund higher education at a higher rate. Our future workforce depends on it.
I will start by saying I believe my opponent is fundamentally a good and nice person. We shared a coffee early on in this campaign and I believe that he is well intentioned. But in my experience as a public servant, I’ve seen the impact that a strong civic society can have to lift people up, improve the economy, and help everyone in the community live a more prosperous, dignified life. I’ve confronted the problems that a state representative will have to deal with before. I’ve made the hard decisions a public servant faces over the past 20 years. I’ve helped bring employers to the region, I’ve performed constituent service, I’ve listened to members of the community and incorporated their concerns into my decisions as a public servant. And because of that I have bipartisan support. I’ll fight to keep Medicaid expansion, advocate for public schools, and will work in a bipartisan manner to help people. I’m not trying to go to Columbus for a title, I’m going to do the work.
I'd be interested in looking at decriminalization or legalization, but I would need to be sure that we had the strongest possible regulations in place to prevent abuse or unintended consequences before I would vote for it.
I am a pro-life Democrat. As a Catholic, I believe in the fundamental dignity of human life from inception to grave. It is the same belief that leads me to oppose the death penalty, perform acts of charity, and believe in the communal mission of society that brings us together in society and government.
See below, but increased access to mental healthcare for all youth should also be part of the conversation. I promise to be a champion for mental health in Ohio.
No. The Second Amendment is an important part of our constitution and American life. But we have neglected to focus on those laws and practices that would make our communities safer. We can uphold the Second Amendment but also institute reasonable and significant gun-control measures mentioned in this question to increase public safety.
As a local official who has had to make the hard decisions between cutting essential services and revenue, restoring the local government fund needs to be Columbus’s top priority. The fiscally irresponsible raids on the LGF have resulted in a higher tax burden and insufficient funding for roads, jails, fire and police departments, and public health. Counties and municipalities are entrusted with the most fundamental services the public sector offers, and they have been cut to the bone.
I will listen to you. Politics is too important to be partisan. I am a Democrat, and I am proud to have the stances on the issues that I’ve listed here. But if you’re in a different party or happen to disagree, my door is just as open to you as to anyone else. If you see fit to elect me, I will fight for every part of this district, from College Corner to DeWeese Park, from Trotwood to New Paris. And if you have an issue navigating the state government I will be your advocate whether you’re an R, D, Independent, or Libertarian. If you want to talk, please email foleyohio@gmail.com – I check that address more than once every day.
Experience Minister for 35 years. Served as a youth minister, associate minister and senior minister, short term missionary fulfilling all the associated responsibilities such as counseling, organizing committees, setting goals, financial oversight, funerals, weddings, visitation, etc. Have traveled to 12 countries and 40 states. Worked ten years in construction of underground public utilities and have a CDL license and 30-hour OSHA training card Served and serving on numerous boards and groups. Currently pastoring a multi-campus work in Farmersville and West Chester.
Education BS and MAR from Cincinnati Christian University, graduated with honors
Economic opportunity for Miami Valley families and the drug epidemic are the two biggest challenges facing Ohio. These are not partisan issues. These are issues impacting people in our community every day, and they expect Democrats and Republicans to work together to solve them.

Our area was hard hit by the last recession, and by the loss of NCR and Delphi. Many people have never fully recovered. Too many are working longer hours just to make ends meet. Meanwhile, costs are going up – especially healthcare. The Miami Valley was once home to the American Dream. Today, I worry the American Dream is slipping out of reach of too many in our community. We need to be more competitive to bring jobs back to the Miami Valley. We need to improve education and job training.

On the drug crisis, we sit at the intersection of two of our nation’s great highways: Interstates 70 and 75. We are ground zero. I will work with local law enforcement, prosecutors, first responders and addiction specialists on a comprehensive solution. We need better treatment options for those impacted by this epidemic and tougher penalties for drug dealers.

The bottom line is people are looking for leaders who will listen and who will work for them. I’m not a career politician, and I am proud to serve in my first term as State Representative to give our region a voice in Columbus.
We have a work ethic second to none. Now we need to bring jobs back home to the Miami Valley. I am concerned about the overall cost of doing business in Ohio, including excessive rules and regulations that cost good jobs. With respect to JobsOhio, while I support state efforts to keep and create jobs in Ohio, I want to make sure those efforts are transparent to protect the investment of tax dollars and avoid waste, fraud and abuse.

I believe government shouldn’t dictate wages, but rather, we need to facilitate a competitive environment so businesses can thrive. My approach is to improve job training and bring jobs back to Ohio to help increase wages and provide more career opportunities for Miami Valley families.
It’s really a three-pronged approach.

First, we need to reduce excessive, state-mandated testing in our schools, so teachers can teach and students can learn and grow. I am a strong proponent of vocational education as well. When students graduate from high school, we need to make sure they are ready for college or a career. If they’re going to head into the workforce, let’s make sure they have skills and industry credentials so they can be successful in the workplace, not just successful at taking tests.

Second, the cost of college is increasingly beyond the reach of too many families. We need to make college more affordable. Too many families have to pick up the tab for higher education. We must change this trend.

And finally, workforce training. Ohio has made strides in the area of workforce development, but there’s more to be done to make sure we have the training available to prepare Ohioans for the in-demand jobs of today and tomorrow. Too many good jobs are going unfilled. We need to do a better job of connecting Ohio workers with training and job opportunities. We need to be more reflexive and more responsive so we can anticipate the jobs of tomorrow.

One of the areas I think can make a real difference for low and middle income Ohioans is to improve the earned income tax credit, by increasing it and making it refundable. We also need to do a better job of increasing government transparency and cutting government waste so we can protect tax dollars in the first place. That’s something we need to do at all levels of government.
I am concerned about the long-term viability of a massively expensive government program, especially given that it is heavily reliant on federal funding that could be sharply reduced in future years. I believe, first and foremost, we need to make sure that Ohio’s elderly and most vulnerable citizens have the Medicaid resources they need.
As I mentioned earlier, the Miami Valley sits at the intersection of I-70 and I-75 and we’re really ground zero for this crisis. As a minister, I sit with families during these times of tragedy and see the real impact. As a matter of fact, it was really brought home to me as a primary issue because on the day of the primary election this year, I actually had a funeral that day of a young overdose victim. We need additional state funding targeted to areas hardest-hit by the epidemic, including our community. We need to work with those on the frontlines of this crisis – law enforcement, first responders, prosecutors, treatment professionals – to really invest in what makes a difference. I support tougher penalties for drug dealers.
Quality kindergarten through 12th grade education begins before students ever reach kindergarten. I am a supporter of investing in early childhood education to help at-risk students, such as those from disadvantaged backgrounds. I support our teachers in the classroom and believe we need to cut mandates and excessive testing so they can spend more time working with students to help them be successful. Our schools need to receive their fair share of the state budget, so there is less reliance on local property taxes.
I think that’s one of the major challenges we have today in education. Every major study points back to the correlation between wealth and test scores. As I mentioned earlier, I am a strong supporter of early childhood education. And we need to make sure we are looking at a variety of measures so we can truly assess a school’s performance. I am concerned we have an overemphasis on testing in our schools today. While tests can be an important tool, the objective of education should be to prepare students for their future, not just prepare them for tests.
As I’ve said before, early childhood education is an investment in our state’s future. It’s an investment that can break the cycle of poverty and pay real dividends in the long run. I absolutely support doing more in this area and it appears there is growing consensus that Ohio needs to really step up in this area. Increased funding for quality early childhood programs must be a priority in the upcoming state budget.
I support quality school options for Ohio students and believe that public schools must deliver quality education, be good stewards of tax dollars and be held accountable for results. For most students, the school that best serves their needs is their local school district. Other families may opt for a vocational school, a parochial school, a charter school or home-schooling. I support families making the decision that is in the best interest of their children because the goal, ultimately, is for every student to achieve their potential.
Ohio needs to invest in higher education. There’s been a lot of focus on issues like guaranteeing tuition won’t increase for incoming students and trying to make colleges and universities more efficient. And these are certainly important. But there’s more to be done. This includes doing more to help low and middle income Ohioans afford college. We also need to look at in-demand and growing fields where we need qualified people today and in the future, such as nursing and technology, and really investing in those areas.
I bring new ideas and new perspectives we need to challenge the status quo. Our state and our community cannot continue doing the same things over and over and expecting a different result. The Miami Valley can be a national leader again, but it’s going to take real change and real leadership to make that happen. I do not believe voters are looking for more of the same.
I do not. I have seen far too many lives negatively effected by the recreational use of marjiuana.
I am pro-life.
Ohio has more than 600 school districts, with local school boards elected by their respective communities. I would be skeptical of a one-size-fits-all solution handed down from Columbus. I support making sure we support our local schools and locally-elected school boards, and providing them with the tools and resources they need to address their specific safety concerns. I do believe a resource officer in every school would be a good place to start.
I support the right of law-abiding citizens to protect their families and themselves. I think we all agree that we need to come together to work on solutions to the underlying causes of violence, including the drug epidemic and health/mental health-related issues. I believe we can improve the public’s safety and security while protecting the second amendment and the individual's right to own arms to protect themselves. I am a CCW recipient.
The first thing we need to do is restore the partnership between Ohio’s state and local governments. Ohio must stop balancing its budget on the backs of local governments. And let’s be clear, when we talk about local government, we’re talking about services we really count on in our communities, like police, fire, ambulance, the list goes on. Worse yet, this has happened at a time when our public safety forces are being stretched to the limit by the drug epidemic. So the first thing state government needs to do is to work with our communities to solve problems.
I am proudly serving in my first term as the 43rd District’s state representative. My priorities are economic opportunity, tackling the drug crisis, protecting your tax dollars and making the Miami Valley an even better place to call home. For 35 years my job and heart have been to get people to find common goals and work together. As your state representative, I will have an open door for everyone, a listening ear and the willingness to work hard to help our communities and constituents.