State Sen. Cafaro has earned strong support of constituents

Class warfare might be a tried- and-true strategy in politics, but if you’re going to resort to it you should know what you’re talking about. Nancy McArthur, the Republican candidate for the 32nd Ohio Senate seat, doesn’t.

McArthur’s lame attempt to use state Sen. Capri Cafaro’s wealth against her simply reveals the shallowness of her candidacy.

It is no secret that Cafaro, a Democrat from Liberty seeking a second four-year term in the Ohio Senate, is rich. But to suggest that she cannot empathize with the middle class, as McArthur did during an interview with The Vindicator’s editorial board, is to indulge in the kind of politics that turns voters off. It certainly gave us pause.

The member of Chardon City Council since 2010 is trying to defeat the incumbent by tossing out one liners that residents of the 32nd District should reject.

For instance, here’s what she wrote in The Vindicator questionnaire sent to the candidates: “In my opinion, this district has not had a strong leader or advocate in Columbus and has suffered because of it.”

But when it was pointed out to her that Gov. John Kasich, a Republican, had publicly praised Cafaro for her strong legislative record and her willingness to work with him and leaders of the GOP-led General Assembly, McArthur reverted to the “I’ve been told” ploy.

She said that in traveling the district over the past year, she heard complaints that the incumbent failed to return telephone calls and did not represent their interests in Columbus. However, the challenger did not provide any details, such as the identities of the people who complained.

But Cafaro’s record in office — she was appointed to the seat in January 2007 — tells a very different story. In addition to serving as minority leader for three years until this January, she was assistant minority whip and is now ranking minority member on several key committees.

While she was minority leader, Senate Democrats passed more bills than under any other leadership in the last 10 years.

As for responding to the needs of the 32nd District, Cafaro has secured $3.6 million for projects throughout the area and over $33 million in economic development-related funds that resulted in the retention of more than 5,000 jobs and creation of about 1,000 new ones.

Her legislative record is replete with public policy initiatives, from rewriting costly laws governing septic tanks, to Buy American provisions, to standing up for local control and safety under the oil and gas law revision.

Despite her willingness to work with Republicans, Cafaro has not abandoned her Democratic principles. She opposed Senate Bill 5, the GOP effort to strip public employees of their collective bargaining rights, and fought an attempt to change Ohio’s prevailing wage law.

Senior citizens

But it is her commitment to senior citizens and the poor that have made the senator’s tenure in office worthy of voter support.

As for the future, Cafaro said she is working to ensure that the Valley has an employable workforce, especially pertaining to the exploration of oil and gas in the Valley’s shale formation.

Major companies, including BP, are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to secure mineral rights and there is an expectation that hundreds of jobs will be created when drilling begins.

Local development officials have expressed concern about the lack of qualified workers.

Sen. Cafaro has served the 32nd District, which encompassed Trumbull and Ashtabula counties, admirably, and we are confident she will continue to do the same in the new 32nd, which will take in several townships in Geauga County.

The Vindicator urges her re-election and warns voters to beware of challenger’s bearing populist rhetoric.

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