Ohio House 24th: Von Jasinski (D) is Out; Four Dems Remain
The Democratic primary to determine an opponent for incumbent Rep. Geoffrey C. Smith (R-Columbus) in the 24th Ohio House District has shrunk from five contenders to four, as reported in this story from the Columbus Dispatch. Grandview Heights City Council member Steve von Jasinski (D-Grandview Heights) has withdrawn from the race after suffering a mild heart attack a few weeks ago, doctors having ordered him to rest for a month. That leaves former U.S. Senate candidate (and brother of the former Governor) Ted Celeste (D-Columbus) and three first-timers, Chris Courtney (D-Hilliard), Traci "TJ" Johnson (D-Hilliard), and James Agler (D-Hilliard). The 24th District includes Grandview Heights, Hilliard, Upper Arlington and parts of the west side of Columbus.
The story goes on to give some background and statements on the issues from the three less-known candidates. Chris Courtney is a firefighter/paramedic with the Worthington Fire Department, who has "seen first hand the difficulties many people have affording adequate health care and medicines." Trying to help a grandfather who was having health problems helped persuade Courtney to run. "With the current system we have in place in Ohio, he was really having problems being able to pay for his health care needs. After he died, my grandmother faced even greater financial problems." Ohio should move toward a single-payer network for health care services and prescriptions, he said. He also spoke about overhauling the state's education system "to make sure our schools have adequate money to do their job" and making corporations pay their share of taxes.
Traci Johnson, a business development manager for a computer consulting firm, said she is running because of her dismay at the corruption in state government. "Our state government has failed and is failing the people it is supposed to serve," she said. "The people have suffered and we need candidates who will bring back integrity and honesty to our government." She also said that she wants "to serve in a position where I can help create jobs for people." Small business needs to receive more support from state government, she said. The state must find a way "to guarantee a quality education is available for all of our residents, and not just some of our children."
James Agler works at a Longhorn Steakhouse near the Tuttle Crossing Mall. He acknowledges that he has fewer resources than his opponents, so he plans "a real old-fashioned, door to door, retail kind of campaign." Agler said he decided to run "because it's obvious the state government does not care about the working class. I'm really concerned about the shrinking of the middle class in this state." Nearly a quarter million jobs have left Ohio "and the ones that are coming in are terrible, low-paying ones." As a result, "the idea of a one-income family is just about gone." As major issues he mentioned making Ohio a place to which companies want to move their jobs, improving the state's system of funding education, and enabling working class people to have the opportunity to invest their money through group investment programs, along with the problem of ethics and corruption in state government.