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Statehouse races feature 10 hopefuls for 4 seats

Published: Mon, October 18, 2010 @ 12:00 a.m.



Age: 31

Home: 3765 Mercedes Place, Canfield.

Education: A law degree from Capital University, a bachelor of science degree from Ohio University, and a Boardman High School graduate.

Employment: State senator and attorney.

Family: Engaged to Margaret Potts.

Priority: Job creation and job security.


Age: 36

Home: 11888 Columbiana-Canfield Road, Columbiana.

Education: Working on his law degree at the University of Akron School of Law; a bachelor’s degree in business from Walsh University; a Waverly High School graduate.

Employment: Law school student.

Family: Wife, Marie; three sons and two daughters.

Priority: To determine what obstacles are prohibiting companies from expanding and what state government can do to assist in their growth.



Age: 57

Home: 2940 Whispering Pines Drive, Austintown.

Education: A bachelor of arts degree from Youngstown State University, an Austintown Fitch High School graduate.

Employment: An Ohio House representative.

Family: Wife, Kathy; two sons and one daughter.

Priority: To maintain the highest quality of constituent service as possible and continue his active role in the legislative process.


Age: 48

Home: 3261 Meanderwood Drive, Canfield.

Education: A Steubenville Catholic Central High School graduate.

Employment: District manger for Carter Lumber.

Family: Wife, Terry; three sons.

Priority: Economic development and job creation.



Age: 61

Home: 562 Madera Ave., Youngstown.

Education: Ursuline High School graduate.

Employment: An Ohio House representative and locomotive engineer for CSX Railroad.

Family: Wife, Michele Lepore- Hagan; three daughters and two sons.

Priority: To continue to fight for economic and social justice in the district.



Age: 59

Home: 460 Antigua Road SW, Carrollton.

Education: A law degree from Ohio Northern University School of Law, a bachelor of arts degree from Kent State University, a graduate of Glenwood High School in Canton.

Employment: An Ohio House representative.

Family: Wife, Kathleen; two daughters and one son.

Priority: Creating jobs for Ohioans while balancing the state budget.


Age: 57

Home: 6332 Senlac Road SE, Amsterdam.

Education: Carrollton High School graduate.

Employment: A delivery driver for the M. Conley Co., a wholesale distributor of paper, packaging, janitorial and food- service materials in Canton.

Family: Wife, Mary Kay; three sons and one daughter.

Priority: To return Ohio to the industrial dynamo it once was by being business friendly.

Source: individual questionnaires

By David Skolnick



The incumbent Democrats representing Mahoning County in the state Legislature face challengers who’ve never been elected to political office.

Among the incumbents, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni of Canfield has never been elected to office.

Ohio senators appointed him to represent the 33rd District in January 2009 to fill the unexpired term of John Boccieri, who vacated the seat after being elected to Congress.

Schiavoni faces challenges in the Nov. 2 election from Republican Matthew M. Lewis of Columbiana and Libertarian John K. Fockler Jr. of Boardman for a full four-year term.

Creating and maintaining jobs in the area is one of Schiavoni’s priorities.

“No one can deny that jobs are still scarce in the Mahoning Valley; however, we’ve been quite fortunate with job expansion in the past year,” he said.

To help create job opportunities, Schiavoni said he is “working with potential developers and people working on projects in the district. I feel that talking to interested parties and helping them through the initial process of development is one of my strengths.”

If elected, Lewis wants to “remove the barriers that stifle growth and new business by creating a partnership and open line of communication with employers to instill confidence in the private sector.”

Lewis said he wants to reduce the tax rate for individuals and businesses “to stimulate growth.”

Fockler did not respond to a questionnaire mailed to him by The Vindicator about the Senate race and on which this story is based.

In the 59th House District race, incumbent Ronald V. Gerberry of Austintown, who’s served more than 22 years in the Legislature, faces Republican Michael Pestian Sr. of Canfield and Libertarian Patrick Manning of Boardman.

“I have the experience, knowledge and background to offer continued excellent representation,” Gerberry said.

The best way to serve the district, Gerberry said, is to “support my community by my every action as state representative.”

Pestian said he’s running to “help rebuild” the Mahoning Valley, which he called “the forgotten part of the state.”

He added: “I want to provide a balance in our elected officials for this area. For three decades, the Mahoning Valley has lost jobs, forcing our friends, family and neighbors to look elsewhere because economic conditions have made it difficult to find jobs here.”

Manning didn’t respond to the questionnaire mailed to his home by the newspaper about this race.

The 60th House District race pits state Rep. Robert F. Hagan of Youngstown, a state House or Senate member for the past 23 years, against Republican Daniel R. Thimons.

Hagan said he will continue to fight for universal health-care coverage and “access to resources such as transportation, healthy lifestyle choices and public safety.”

Hagan also wants to “build on recent successes of our area and to provide a climate for continued economic development for years to come.”

Thimons didn’t respond to the questionnaire mailed to his home by the newspaper about this race.

State Rep. Mark Okey of Carrollton is seeking re-election against Republican Michael Foit of Amsterdam in the 61st House District.

Okey favors eliminating the state’s estate tax, reforming the property-tax system and cutting state spending across the board.

“We must eliminate waste, redundant services and conduct performance audits in all state departments,” Okey said.

Foit said he “believes we need to return to the principals of the Constitution. Our Founding Fathers gave us the most perfect form of government based on the laws of the creator. We need to return to these ideals.”


1RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

All of the republicans running decided not to fill out their questionnaires. Hmmm, sounds just like the entire republican movement right now, completely void of any ideas. Or any new ideas or ideas that have actually proven to work.

Lewis said: “remove the barriers that stifle growth and new business by creating a partnership and open line of communication with employers to instill confidence in the private sector"

I've been to some candidate events where Lewis has been present. He has completely failed to say how he would accomplish this. Just more vague republican platitudes.

If Pestian thinks the Valley is forgotten now, just wait. If slick johnny kasich is elected hold onto your hats.

As for Foit, anyone who says we need to get back to the Constitution, probably hasn't read it. The Constitution certainly wasn't based on the laws of the creator. This cannot be said enough because religious republicans are constantly making this up for their own gain.

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2youngspartanrepublican(92 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Its good to know the above democrat doesn't even know how to read. Only 1 of the Republicans, Thimons, didn't fill out his questionnaire. And in terms of forgetting the valley, it would be Gerberry. He has done very little campaigning, Pestian has been all over town.

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3CommonSenseGuy(37 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Schiavoni has failed the valley too! He's taken all the violence in Youngstown as a chance for a photo-op and some free press time but has done NOTHING to clean up the crime. Matt Lewis has a real plan for this area, and is not a puppet for his party! As long as voters keep pushing the "D" button, the valley will continue its downward spiral into further crime and job loss.

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4RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Schiavoni is the only reason that Father Maturi was able to meet with the Governor so quickly. Schiavoni facilitated that meeting.

Also, where was Lewis during the prayer vigil for Mr. Repchic and his wife?

Most people don't view praying for victims of crime as a waste of time.

Like I indicated above, at every candidate forum I've attended, Lewis hasn't explained any "real plan" for the area.

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5CommonSenseGuy(37 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

I've met Matt Lewis, and I can tell you he is the type of guy that does not want to use a senseless crime for political gain and self-promotion. Maybe you haven't heard Lewis' plan because you've chosen not to listen. The voters should inform themselves of the need for a new vision for the valley. Visit http://mattlewisforohio.com/

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6RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

You cannot be serious. Listing "principles" does not equal a plan.

Again these are empty platitudes that the Ohio GOP has been using for years. Even during the 16 years when they had unchecked power they failed to accomplish any of what lewis talks about on the site.

His website could have easily been recycled from bob taft or john husted.

And one more thing about political gain. I heard Lewis showed up at the Doc Powell road dedication in a campaign shirt and passed out campaign literature. And he plastered my car with literature while I was in church, real classy!!

What principle does that fall under?

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7CommonSenseGuy(37 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Doc Powell was a great American who sacrificed his life for our country during the Vietnam war and it is great that Matt Lewis took the time to honor a fallen Veteran. Matt Lewis served the United States in the Air Force for four years and is endorsed by Ohio Veterans United. Other than renaming highways, what has Schiavoni done to serve our country?

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8RealAmericanPatriot(56 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

He didn't take the time to honor him, he showed up and peddled campaign material because he saw an opportunity.

I myself am a Veteran and I don't think its a appropriate to shove it in the face of those who didn't serve like you are doing commonsenseguy. I haven't questioned Lewis' service.

As honorable as military service is, the most important part of this race is jobs. Which might explain why the Ohio Manufacturers and the Ohio Chamber (two Republican leaning organizations) endorsed Schiavoni over Lewis.

I hope you're not closely connected to Lewis because I don't think he would approve of your comments.

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9faith(200 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

You would be crazy not to vote for Joe Schiavoni. He is a great guy with great ideas and a new energy that they need in Columbus.

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10CommonSenseGuy(37 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

So, you are saying that Lewis would not want his past military service used for self-promotion and political gain. We've come back to my original comment! Thanks!

We need new leadership for the valley, not the old Democratic party line. Other parts of the nation thrive, while the Democrat dominated Mahoning Valley wallows in unemployment and crime.

I've got a proposal, let's elect Republicans for a change. If they don't turn things around in 2 or 4 years, we can just vote them out and quickly go back to Democrat rule. We know where the Democrats get us...Look around! We can't say that the local Republicans don't have a plan, if we never give them a chance! I'm voting Republican on Nov. 2 because I care about our valley!!!

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11Alexinytown(246 comments)posted 5 years, 8 months ago

Gerberry is a joke. The people of Mahoning County do not elect Ron Gerberry, it is the special interests in Columbus who contribute to his campaign that elect him. He received a ton of money from out of district compared to what he has raised here.

And I agree with the above comments. All of this concern for the wrongful shootings on the South Side is political grandstanding at its absolute worst.

We've had murders on the South Side for decades. Why come out now and make a big deal? Oh, right, because it is politically expedient and there is an election going on where the Democrats are going to get the stuffing beat out of them.

Mike Pestian and Matt Lewis are contenders in this race, and despite press releases by both candidates, the media by and large has shot both of them down with extreme prejudice. Mike Pestian and Matt Lewis have outworked both of their contenders, and you can bet we will have a good showing come November 2nd.

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