The two members of the state House who represent most of Trumbull County -- one a Republican and one a Democrat -- face challenges from credible candidates.
In the 64th District incumbent Republican Randy Law is being challenged by Democrat Tom Letson. Both are of Warren. The district covers Warren, Cortland, West Farmington, and the townships of Howland, Champion, Warren, Braceville, Southington, Farmington, Mesopotamia, Mecca, Johnston, Bristol, Vernon and parts of Fowler and Bazetta.
In the 65th District, Democrat Sandra Stabile Harwood of Niles is being challenged by Republican Arno Hill of Lordstown. The district covers Niles, Newton Falls, Girard, Hubbard, Lordstown, McDonald, and Orangeville, and the townships of Brookfield, Hartford, Hubbard, Liberty, Vienna, Newton and Weathersfield and parts of Bazetta and Fowler.
Law, 45, is something of an anomaly -- a Republican representing a traditionally Democratic district. He won the seat two years ago when the incumbent, Daniel Sferra, ran a hapless campaign. His challenger, Letson, 54, is an attorney.
Law says the biggest issue in his district is jobs and economic development, although the mailers sent on his behalf by the Ohio Republican Party imply that the biggest issue should be the Warren Recycling Landfill, and how Letson voted regarding the landfill when he served on the Warren Board of Health.
Our endorsement was based on two other factors. One is that Law, while a Republican who has generally marched to the party's tune, has shown a willingness to break from his caucus on local issues. Given that General Assembly will most likely continue to be controlled by the Republicans after the November election, it would be to the area's benefit to have at least one representative from that party in Columbus. The other factor is that Letson simply did not make a strong case for replacing an incumbent who has spent the last two years working for his district and learning the ropes in Columbus.
The Vindicator endorses Law's re-election.
In the 65th District, Harwood, 56, a lawyer, is being challenged by Hill, 53, the former mayor of Lordstown and a retired Delphi Packard employee.
Harwood notes that she, too, has split with her party's caucus when necessary, most notably in voting for Gov. Bob Taft's Third Frontier legislation. She believed that the potential for attracting new technology and jobs to the state and the area was too great to be ignored. And while she believes the local delegation's ability to function as a bloc was weakened with the replacement of Sferra by Law, she has worked with Law, particularly on legislation related to landfills in the area.
She says she is looking forward to area Democrats having a stronger voice in Columbus with the presumed election of Democrat Ted Strickland as governor, even if the General Assembly does remain in control of Republicans.
Hill bases his campaign on the desirability of having a second Republican voice in Columbus and points to the role he played as mayor Lordstown in helping preserve jobs at the General Motors plant.
He is, he says, for less government and less taxes. Harwood counters that Hill's response to the village's financial problems when he was mayor was to support a doubling of the income tax, largely paid by employees at the auto plant.
Harwood has established herself as a well informed, savvy and hard-working legislator. Hill does not make a convincing case for replacing her.
In the 64th and 65th districts in Trumbull county, The Vindicator endorses Republican Randy Law and Democrat Sandra Harwood for re-election.