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2012 voter’s guide, part 2: local races

Wyatt Smith

Features Editor

With most media coverage centering on the presidential race, it is important to remember that many other elections will occur on Nov. 6. Therefore, the Voice offers a rundown, divided into two parts, of the non-presidential contests relevant to those registered in Wooster. Last week’s installment covered contests in the federal legislature. This week, the focus is on local races.

Ohio House of Representatives

Ron Amstutz, a Republican, is seeking his third two-year term as the representative of the 1st district — which includes the entirety of Wayne county — in the Ohio House of Representatives. Amstutz has represented Wayne county in the state legislature since 1980, switching between the House and Senate due to consecutive term limits. Beforehand, he was the mayor of Orrville for four years and worked as a journalist and editor for The Daily Record.

As chair of the Finance and Appropriations Committee, Amstutz played a crucial role in lowering Ohio’s income tax, repealing Ohio’s estate tax and reforming the state’s corporate tax structure.

Amstutz is challenged by Democrat John Maglio, an active member of the Wayne County Young Democrats who served as an intern for former State Senator Jason Wilson. In contrast to Amstutz’s three decades as a politician, Maglio has yet to hold elected office. If elected, Maglio promises to work to fully fund public education and support local businesses.

County Races

Almost all candidates for positions in Wayne County’s government — including commissioners, treasurer, coroner and sheriff — are Republicans running unopposed. The only exception is the contest for County Engineer, the individual in charge of constructing and maintaining the county’s roads and bridges.

Republican Roger Terrill is seeking to extend his 20-year tenure as Wayne County’s Engineer. While in office, Terrill has replaced a third of the county’s nearly 500 bridges and relocated and updated the county’s construction facility. This election will be the first time during his political career that Terrill will have an opponent.

Terrill is challenged by John Long, an Independent. Long is currently a vice president at a private engineering and surveying firm, where his work has included site planning for Gault Manor and the recent renovation of Kauke Hall. Long aims to bring a fresh perspective to the County Engineer post and restructure aspects of the Tax Map Office, which holds detailed records of all properties in the county.

State Board of Education

The Ohio State Board of Education oversees the Ohio Department of Education and is in charge of implementing educational laws passed by the state legislature. Bryan Williams is considered the incumbent in the non-partisan contest to represent northern central Ohio on this board, even though his past term was spent representing the northeastern corner of the state.

A registered Republican, Williams previously worked as a lobbyist for non-union construction firms. In an interview with Akron.com, Williams highlighted his support for a teacher-evaluation system, increased use of technology and competition between schools for students.

Williams faces two challengers. The first is Rich Javorek, who is endorsed by the Wayne County Democratic Party. A public school teacher, Javorek taught social studies in Brunswick, Ohio for 30 years, followed by an adjunct position at the for-profit Bryant & Stratton College. He hopes to increase and standardize funding to Ohio’s public schools and prevent any needless politicization of proposed governmental assessments of teachers and students

Williams’s second challenger is Marianne Gasiecki, founder of the Mansfield Tea Party. Gasiecki is a stay-at-home mom, works part time as a financial manager, and volunteers as a reading tutor at a local public school. A newcomer to both politics and the public education system, Gasiecki advocates decreasing the class time spent on “social issues,” replacing it with reinforcement of the more practical fields of math, science, history and English.

Probate and Juvenile Court

If number of lawn signs is any indication, the contest for the Probate and Juvenile Court Judge is one of the most contentious local races. The judge of this court handles issues related to guardianships, adoptions, marriage licenses, estates and name changes, as well as most offenses committed by minors. Both candidates are College of Wooster alumni.

The incumbent is Latecia Wiles, who is endorsed by the Wayne County Republican Party. Before being appointed as judge earlier this year, Wiles spent eight years in the Wayne County Prosecutor’s Office. During her short tenure, Wiles has worked to reduce the court’s expenses, especially through moving court documents online.

The challenger is K. William Bailey, who is endorsed by Wayne County Democratic Party. Bailey used to be Wayne County’s Probate and Juvenile Court Judge, but was forced to resign in 2002 due to health reasons. After spending the intervening time as a visiting judge and adjunct professor at the University of Akron’s School of Law, Bailey is seeking to return to his old post.

Not Included in This Overview

Information on referendums and candidates for Ohio’s Supreme Court — as well as a host of electoral information — can be found on votewayne.org.

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