In Trumbull Statehouse races: Incumbents O’Brien, Letson

Voters in Trumbull County will be voting in two Ohio House of Representative Districts based on new district maps. The 64th District covers most of the north and western area of the county, including Warren city. The 63rd District covers the southern tier of townships, most of the eastern part of the county and the cities and townships of Newton Falls, Niles, Girard Hubbard, Cortland and McDonald.

63rd District

When Sean O’Brien of Hubbard ran for the 65th Ohio House two years ago, he did so with a great deal of enthusiasm and a pledge to go to Columbus and work hard.

He made good on that promise, and he is now running for re-election in the redistricted 63rd Ohio House District.

O’Brien points out that he has worked with Gov. John Kasich and environmentalists to address the problems and promise of shale gas development in Ohio.

He says he supports Gov. Kasich’s proposal for a severance tax on gas production, but believes it should be used to help communities, especially those that face higher expenses due to gas exploration.

On the issue of possible privatization of the Ohio Turnpike, O’Brien says the turnpike needs protected, not privatized.

O’Brien, a former assistant Trumbull County prosecutor, demonstrates an attention to detail that served him well as a prosecutor and serves his constituents well as a legislator.

His challenger, Republican Pat Paridon of Niles, did not seek The Vindicator’s endorsement.

64th District

In the 64th House District, Tom Letson, the Democratic incumbent, is being challenged by a Republican former state representative, Randy Law. Both are from Warren.

Letson boasts that while he is in the Democratic minority in the General Assembly, he has been able to work with the Republican majority and the Republican administration.

He takes partial credit for bringing millions of state dollars to Kent State University at Trumbull, Mosquito State Park and the Trumbull Correctional Institution.

He also says he wants to see the area’s shale gas resources developed, but in a way that protects the area’s water supply. He suggests that the state should not only have adequate inspectors at well sites, but should rotate those inspector so that inspectors don’t become overly familiar with the people whose operations they are inspecting.

We believe that Letson has become a more effective legislator in recent years, but would have been happy to engage in a conversation with his opponent about Letson’s perceived shortcomings. Unfortunately, Law, who sought and received the paper’s endorsement in the Republican primary, did not schedule a general election interview.

Based on the evidence presented to Vindicator editors during our endorsement process, we’re convinced that Trumbull County is being well served by its elected representatives to the Ohio House.

The Vindicator endorses Tom Letson in the 64th District and Sean O’Brien in the 63rd District in the Nov. 6 general election.

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