By Ed Runyan
The Ohio Senate 32nd District, a seat held by Capri Cafaro of Liberty since late 2006, now includes a portion of Geauga County, including the city of Chardon.
That’s one reason Cafaro’s challenger in this November’s election is Republican Nancy McArthur, a member of Chardon City Council.
Cafaro, a Democrat who served three years as Senate minority leader until January, regularly talks about her work in Ashtabula County when speaking in the Mahoning Valley.
But McArthur says her discussions with people from Ashtabula County and elsewhere in the district indicate dissatisfaction with Cafaro.
“I’m hearing a lot of the same thing: They’re not getting their calls returned. A lot of people feel they’re not being represented,” McArthur said.
McArthur said she thinks a middle-class person like herself can better represent the district than Cafaro, whose family owns the Cafaro Corp. “Ashtabula County is really suffering,” McArthur said of economic conditions.
Cafaro, meanwhile, says she believes she’s been an effective senator, especially since Republican Gov. John Kasich took office. “I feel like I’ve had an impact on people, and that’s why I do this,” she said.
One reason she’s been effective is her ability to cross party lines, Cafaro said. She points out that she’s been endorsed by a multitude of organizations, including “some that many Democrats don’t get,” such as the Ohio Chamber of Commerce and Ohio Medical Association.
“I do try to do my best to speak personally to people who call my office,” Cafaro said, adding, “I spend a lot of time in Ashtabula County.”
She said her record of advocating for older adults and other vulnerable members of the community “speaks for itself.”
STATE HOUSE RACES
Trumbull County voters also will see a state representative race on their ballots, with incumbent Democrats Tom Letson of Warren, D-64th, and Sean J. O’Brien of Brookfield, D-63rd, facing Republican challengers.
Letson is seeking his fourth term. He is challenged by Randy Law of Warren, the last person to represent the district before Letson in 2005 and 2006.
Letson, an attorney, says he has succeeded as a legislator by “getting more of my introduced proposals enacted into law than almost any other representative.”
Law says he thinks he can best represent the district in the next two years because, as a Republican, he’ll be in a better position to influence the outcome of what he expects to be rapidly evolving changes to Ohio’s laws to manage oil and gas drilling in the region. “It’s important to have a voice who is in the majority,” Law said.
The 64th District encompasses Warren city, the village of West Farmington and the townships of Bloomfield, Braceville, Bristol, Champion, Farmington, Greene, Gustavus, Howland, Johnston, Kinsman, Mecca, Mesopotamia, Southington and Warren. It also takes in several areas in Ashtabula County, including Andover.
In the other Statehouse race, O’Brien seeks a second term for the seat formerly held by Sandra Stabile Harwood. O’Brien says he feels he’s been a “strong voice in Columbus” while the state passed gas and oil drilling regulations that are “the most stringent in the U.S.”
O’Brien’s Republican challenger, Patricia Paridon of Niles, could not be reached for this story.
The 63rd District represents Hubbard city, Hubbard Township, Girard, Hartford, Niles, Lordstown, McDonald, Liberty, Newton Falls, Newton Township, Orangeville, Vienna, Weathersfield, Fowler, Bazetta, Brookfield, Vernon and Cortland.