By DAVID SKOLNICK
The candidates looking to replace state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-33rd, don’t have anything negative to say about him.
But his one Democratic primary challenger and the three Republicans fighting it out in that party’s primary May 4 say they have the ability and experience to be more effective representing the 33rd Ohio Senate District.
“In the past year I’ve really learned a lot,” Schiavoni said. “I’ve kind of been a student. I’ve been brought up to speed. I know and understand the issues.”
Schiavoni was the main sponsor of one of the six Senate bills signed by the governor. The bill makes it easier to transfer property upon death.
“I want to continue the work I’ve started and work with my constituents to create jobs, drive projects forward, address their concerns and pass meaningful legislation,” Schiavoni said.
Challenging Schiavoni in the Democratic primary is Kathleen Purdy of Alliance, a teacher.
“He made some good decisions,” she said of Schiavoni. “I give him a lot of credit for stepping up and doing what needs to be done. But people I speak to have lost confidence” in government.
If elected, Purdy said one key issue she’d address is extending state Route 62 from Stark to Mahoning counties.
She also wants to offer incentives to bring businesses to the area but wasn’t sure what the state could offer.
The district includes all of Mahoning and Carroll counties and portions of Stark and Tuscarawas counties.
The Senate Democratic caucus appointed Schiavoni, of Canfield, effective January 2009, to serve out the remainder of the unexpired term of John Boccieri, now a congressman.
No one running in the Senate race ever has won an election.
The three Republicans running in that party’s primary are Gary Teeter of Carrollton, Matthew M. Lewis of Columbiana and Adam Rutushin of Youngstown.
Teeter, who owns a residential home-building company, said Ohio should support Ohio companies by buying products made in the state.
He admits he doesn’t know how much the state buys from Ohio companies.
Teeter said he’s concerned about people moving out of Ohio because of a lack of jobs in the state.
Lewis, an engineering technician, said Democrats have controlled this Senate district for far too long.
Lewis said he would have opposed repealing a 4.2-percent state income- tax cut. The state Legislature, at the urging of Gov. Ted Strickland, delayed the cut to avoid an $851 million budget deficit.
But Lewis acknowledges he didn’t know what he would have done to come up with the money to stop the deficit.
If elected, Lewis wants to work toward fiscal responsibility and remove barriers that adversely impact businesses from growing.
Rutushin, a retired pharmacist, said the size of government must be reduced as well as state taxes on businesses.
“We need different ways to do things to keep businesses in the state,” he said. “It’s hard to operate businesses in this tax environment.”
One way to reduce costs is to reform the pensions and health-care benefits given to state employees, he said.
Two Democrats and four Republicans are running in their parties’ May 4 primary. An (*) denotes the incumbent.
Home: 3765 Mercedes Place, Canfield.
Education: A law degree from Capital University; a bachelor of science degree from Ohio University; a Boardman High School graduate.
Employment: State senator and attorney.
Priority: “Job creation and job security. In order to produce new employment opportunities, I will be keyed in to working with potential developers and people working on projects in the district.”
Home: 361 Briarcliff Ave. N.E., Alliance.
Education: A bachelor’s degree and a master’s degree from Kent State University; an Alliance High School graduate.
Employment: Teacher for the Plain Local School District.
Family: Husband, Rowland (deceased); a son and a daughter.
Priority: “To establish incentives for companies to locate in the area, examine reforms for school districts so they can cut their costs by addressing the unfunded state mandates, and to target extensions of state Routes 11 and 62.”
Home: 1070 Waynesburg Road N.W., Carrollton.
Education: Attended the Stark State Business College; a Carrollton High School graduate.
Employment: President of Image Inc., a residential-home-building company.
Family: Wife, Denise; two sons.
Priority: “Jobs, because a lack of good-paying ones impede the ability for individuals to start and sustain a family, as well as our abilities to compete with other states let alone other countries.”
MATTHEW M. LEWIS
Home: 11888 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Columbiana.
Education: Working toward a law degree from the University of Akron School of Law; a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Walsh University.
Employment: Works as engineering technician for Ericsson Inc.
Family: Wife, Marie; three sons and one daughter.
Priority: “Remove barriers that keep businesses from prospering. To work toward fiscal responsibility to keep Ohio from incurring debt and borrowing from the federal government.”
ADAM L. RUTUSHIN
Home: 224 W. Wood St., Youngstown.
Education: A master’s degree in business administration from Youngstown State University; a bachelor’s degree in pharmacy from The Ohio State University College of Medicine; a Chaney High School graduate.
Employment: Owns apartment buildings; a retired pharmacist.
Family: Wife, Patricia; two sons.
Priority: “Jobs — maintain current businesses by making sure to address and understand their needs, be supportive of businesses through incentives.”