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Ohio House District 62

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  • P Scott Lipps
    (Rep)

  • Candidate picture

    Jim Staton
    (Dem)

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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?

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Experience I am not a politician. This is my first campaign for elected office. As a small firm attorney, I have 21 years experience representing people and families in the most important matters of their lives. I have also owned my own law firm for all of those 21 years, hired employees and dealt with all the issues incumbent upon a business owner. I believe my experience qualifies me to represent my community in the Ohio House of Representatives.
Education Lemon Monroe High School B.S. Miami University J.D. University of Dayton School of Law
The biggest problem in Ohio is structural. Our State legislature is so insulated and under the influence of big donors and monied interests that they do not work toward finding workable solutions for Ohio citizens. I would deal with this issue by personally being and staying disconnected from the special interest, PAC and lobbyist money that is so pervasive in Columbus and by initiating transparency laws mandating a thorough record of all expenditures made for the benefit of our legislators by lobbyists or any other group. The second biggest problem our state faces is our lack of good paying jobs. We are 33rd in the country in job growth and 44th in unemployment (6th highest in the country!). I believe the importance of creating an environment which appeals to employers is of great importance and the current methods have failed. I would work toward creating a well educated, low debt and secure work force in Ohio which would draw in companies looking to grow and who appreciate hard working people.
In order to draw and maintain good paying jobs in Ohio we must have an environment conducive to growth for the companies bringing those jobs. That does not just mean tax breaks and environmental waivers. To the Contrary, forward looking corporations are looking for locations where they can draw, train and retain the best employees as well as meet their own internal mandates for growth. A state that has the educational framework, modern infrastructure and provides a company with the resources necessary for their own growth is always going to outdraw a state that is backward in their approach to infrastructure, education and environmental policy like Ohio has been for the past two decades.

I do not support JobsOhio. Last year JobsOhio took over 1.1 Billion dollars of tax payer money and converted it into low interests loans and perks for a few companies. This lead to only an embarrassing 32,000 new jobs for Ohioans and average expense per job created of over $35,000.00. The program has failed miserably and in it's current incarnation is little more than an opaque slush fund for funneling Ohio money into the coffers of preferred companies. If the program were to be maintained at all, which it should not, it would have to become more transparent and be subjected to regular public oversight.
The minimum wage in Ohio should be $12.00 per hour and should be tied to the cost of living so as to adjust automatically going forward. The debate around increasing the minimum wage is not a new one. Those opposed claim every time that it will cost jobs and/or costs workers hours. Every time they have been proven wrong. We are in a period of history where those at the very very top of our economic food chain are wealthier than ever before with the top 1 percent holding 40 percent of the wealth. An increase in the minimum wage injects a small portion of that wealth back into the pockets of working people who in turn spend that money in their own communities and bolster their local economies. This has been true since Henry Ford first pioneered the idea and remains true today.
The skills gap is real and some great start efforts have been made in Ohio to begin addressing it. Among the initiatives that need to be expanded are the partnering of industry with community colleges and technical schools throughout the State and an increase in State dollars to build the infrastructure and provide the equipment the technical schools need to train the highly skilled workers who are needed to fill vacant, high paying jobs in manufacturing and elsewhere. I would propose a concerted effort to foster and expand the recently initiated internship programs in some areas of the state. As some in our education system have worked to offer access to college level courses for credit in many of our high schools, we should also continue to develop the means for students to obtain credit hours and income through internship programs and partnerships between industry and our technical schools while students are still in high school.
Ohio's previous and ongoing quest to remove the tax burden from upper income individuals and corporations has failed. We now have the lowest corporate taxes in the midwest and among the worst job growth and wage numbers. Ohio has been another example of trickle down economics failing the average citizen resulting in drastic cuts to our public schools, our local governments and our necessary infrastructure. I do not support continuing to maintain state taxes on lower and middle income families while cutting to zero the corporate tax rate. I believe in rewarding small business and pass through entities that provide jobs for our neighbors and invest in our communities rather than large corporate entities that benefit from our state infrastructure but spend their savings elsewhere.
Medicaid expansion should continue. The increase in families and individuals who have access to health care has spurred an increase in health care providers and facilities which provide good paying jobs and economic development all over our state. The access to preventative care that the medicaid provides also reduces the overall costs to the tax payer of catastrophic medial care in the future. Those are some of the economic benefits to all of us in Ohio. There is also the benefit derived by individuals and families who can live healthier and more productive lives thanks to their access to health care. Maintaining the Medicaid Expansion is not only the economically responsible thing to do it is the right and moral thing to do.
As a practicing attorney and a volunteer in the drug court system I have seen first hand the devastation the opiate wars have left and are leaving in our communities. Like almost every Ohioan I have also seen my extended family impacted in terrible ways by this scourge. Effectively combating this crisis requires emergency efforts on two sides, prevention and treatment. On the prevention front I support strict guidelines on the prescription of opiates, education in their destructive potential and the eager exploration of alternative treatments. On the treatment side we need to maintain and expand the access to drug treatment facilities and providers including those covered under the medicaid expansion. We then need to actively funnel those addicted into these facilities through an expanded and strengthened drug court and intervention in lieu of conviction program in all of Ohio's counties. The intersection of opiate addiction and the criminal justice system is wide and by making it easier for those addicted to get into treatment through the Intervention in Lieu program, facilitating their completion of the treatment and follow up through the drug court program and then allowing them the chance to return to normal life without a stigma of addiction and criminal conviction we can redeem many of the victims.
Funding is always the first answer to this question. The Ohio legislature has cut over a billion dollars from our public school system and it shows. There could not be a more counter productive or short sighted way to save money. Funding is also essential in providing reasonable wages for our educators which will draw in more highly qualified and highly effective teachers. As the husband of a teacher, the son in law of a teacher and a friend to many teachers, I can tell you from personal experience, it is a difficult and often thankless job. However, qualified and inspired professionals educating our children is the biggest component to a successful overall school system.

Past funding, our current system of standardized testing is working against us. I believe the school ranking system and standardized testing system is stifling creativity and ingenuity of our educators, hindering their ability to provide individualized efforts to the children and often only provides us an inaccurate appraisal of the schools success.
As I began in the last question, I am not a supporter of the current system of ranking schools based on test performance. It mandates the teachers teach to the test and inevitably leads to administrations and administrators prioritizing raising their test scores rather than providing the best education possible to the children. The fact that the performance of students in impoverished areas is often worse than other students is the result of several factors including home life, infrastructure and of course funding. The home life area includes homework help, nutrition and security for children which is unfortunately not always a constant for children whose families are struggling financially. This can be addressed somewhat by nutrition programs and after school tutoring and other activities for the children. The schools infrastructure and materials available to children in impoverished areas is often below standard as a result of Ohio's unconstitutional funding system wherein property taxes make up a disproportional percentage of school funding. Again, funding is essential to remedy these problems and a fair distribution of tax dollars throughout the state is the way to achieve this. I would support in part the current bill before the Ohio House to restructure school funding to reduce the burden on property owners and equalize the funding for all of our students.
I agree Preschool has proven time and again to be invaluable to a child's education and development, unfortunately, it can be very expensive and for some working people it is unaffordable. I would support expanding tax credits and deductions for preschool tuition as well as increasing the availability of preschool grants for low-income children. I would also support all day kindergarten for children in all of our Ohio's public schools and freely permitting children to repeat kindergarten without effect on a school's state rating if a child is in need of another year of growth and development before entering first grade.
I believe we should be working to make our public schools excellent without exception. If a parent chooses to place their children in a parochial or other private school that is, of course, their right but I do not believe the public schools and the remainder of the children in them should suffer as a result of that parent's decision. I believe Charter schools can and do serve a valuable purpose in providing a specialized curriculum for some students but studies have shown that as a whole they are less effective and more costly than the public schools they were meant to replace. I do not in any way support funneling public school funds into for profit charter schools such as ECOT and it's peers.
Our investment per capita in higher education is well below the national average. Our tuition costs have skyrocketed and student loan debt along with it. The average Ohio graduate leaves school now with over thirty thousand dollars of debt. I believe we can address this by restoring the state grant's for low income students, increasing our per capita contribution to our public colleges and universities as well as our technical schools and community colleges. I supported the most recent tuition freeze and would propose being very restrictive of allowing tuition increases in our state schools going forward.
I am not a politician. I am a Father, Husband, Business Owner, Coach and an Attorney. I have spent more than twenty years as a practicing attorney in criminal and civil courts. I have represented thousands of people and families during the most frightening, complicated and important periods of their lives. I have been entrusted with my client's and their families futures and I have always prided myself on providing them vigorous and honest representation. My training and experience has conditioned me to put my client's needs first and to fight for them when needed and negotiate for them when possible. I view the office of Representative of my community the same way. I will prioritize the needs and wishes of my constituents in Warren County, Ohio over and above the desires of the special interest and big money donors who currently rule Columbus or any political party influence. I will do my homework, do my research and present my constituents case to the legislature. When needed I will fight tooth and nail, when possible I will negotiate and cooperate, whichever is more effective in promoting the interests of my community.
I do support full legalization. I believe the science is clear that marijuana can be legalized and controlled just like alcohol with no increased detriment to our community.
I believe abortion should be safe, legal and rare. The procedure is legal in the United States of America and I believe it will stay that way regardless of who may sit in our Supreme Court. I believe the decision on when and if that procedure is necessary is and must remain with the person who is pregnant and who will bear the responsibility for caring for a child if the pregnancy is brought to term.

I also believe this issue is one of the two most divisive and harmful wedge issues in American politics. Many will look for this question and answer to disqualify one candidate or the other and that is a shame. It is perfectly reasonable for people of good conscience to disagree on the specifics of timing and legislation regarding abortion but it is simply not reasonable for anyone to presume to put their opinion, their religion, or their personal biases before the considered decision of a woman tasked with making such an immensely subjective and difficult decision.
Reasonable hardening of school campuses is an obvious answer and one that is being done or has been done in our communities. I reluctantly accept the need for school shooter drills in the classroom as well. I would point out that in the United States the average age of a school shooter is 16. A 16 year old is not purchasing a firearm legally or illegally. A 16 year old obtains a firearm through the sheer recklessness of an adult. A concrete method of making schools safer from firearms is to prevent minors from obtaining firearms. There is currently a bill before the legislature to make it a misdemeanor to leave firearms unsecured in the presence of children. I expect it will fail in the current legislature. I also believe it is far too weak. I propose both a criminal and a civil statute of liability for anyone who fails to secure their firearms and allows said firearms to fall into the wrong hands or a child's hands. To further this "lock them up" initiative, I would also propose a fully refundable tax credit up to $300.00 for anyone purchasing a gun safe over the next two years.
I do support responsible gun ownership. I and my family own firearms and always have. I was raised around firearms and taught how to use and care for firearms. I have no objection to law abiding, well trained individuals obtaining a conceal and carry permit. I do support universal background checks, the ban of bump stocks, the ban of high capacity magazines. I further support raising the minimum purchase age for long guns to 21 with an exception for those with police or military training.

I do not support stand your ground laws. The current Ohio law regarding self defense as an affirmative defense is well developed and robust. I have used it on behalf of my clients in the past and firmly believe it is adequate to preserve a citizen's right to defend themselves legally. As enacted in other states, stand your ground laws have lead to increased gun violence and unnecessary injury and death.
When Ohio citizens approved the institution of sales taxes the agreement was that a percentage of those taxes would go back to the local community governments to provide for our communities' needs, such as police officers, fire fighters, emt's, parks, etc. This mechanism is called the Local Fund. Ohio's legislature decided to cut the local fund in half and use our tax dollars for other things. As a result, our local communities have had to raise local income taxes, the vast majority of Ohio Counties have maxed out their county sales taxes and all up and down the communities of Warren County their are measures on the ballot for Fire, Police and City Operating Funds. I don't like paying for the same thing twice and I don't think my neighbors do either. I intend to work very closely with local governments in Warren County. There is no more efficient way to gauge the needs of the communities than to work with their elected representatives on the local level. This is what a State Representative should do but many do not. I recently read of a community just south of mine who is now hiring their own lobbyist to represent them in matters before the State Legislature because the State has been so unresponsive to their needs. That is a terrible state of affairs and I would be ashamed if my community ever thought they needed to hire a professional lobbyist to do the job of their elected State Representative.
I would ask the voters of Warren County to please come out on November 6th and make their voices heard. I would also ask them to consider that in Ohio we have 132 elected officials in the House and Senate. Of those 132 districts, only 3 are considered competitive. That means that in almost all of Ohio, including in Warren County, the districts are so gerrymandered as to make a victory by someone in the "wrong" party almost impossible. This has left our elected representatives with very little interest or incentive to put the needs of their constituents over those of their political donors or their political party leadership. That is why Ohio is ranked 40th out of the 50 States overall, 41st in education, 44th in low unemployment, 45th in renewable energy, 49th in low exposure to toxins, 50th in entrepreneurship and our property values are the lowest in the country. Some people have told me that I, as a Democrat, am in the "wrong" party for Warren County. I refuse to accept that has to be the case. I have spoken to thousands of people in my county and it seems like the vast majority of them agree with me on a whole lot of issues, especially the issues involved in State Government. Regardless of party they don't seem to like the corruption, the resignations, the scandals, the back room deals or the no bid contracts. Fairness, honesty, empathy and reason are not the ideals of just one political party and in our current situation they are not the ideals of our State Legislature. This November, I respectfully ask my neighbors in Warren County not to vote for another politician. I ask them to vote for their families, for their communities, for their schools and for their neighbors. I respectfully ask them to vote for me, Jim Staton.