Republican candidates for state representative Randy Law and Martha Yoder say earlier dispute is behind them

Republican candidates focusing on state issues

By Ed Runyan


The two Republicans running against each other in the May 8 primary election in hopes of facing Democrat incumbent state Rep. Michael O’Brien in November for 64th District House of Representatives have quite a history with each other.

Randy Law of Warren filed a civil suit against Martha Yoder of West Farmington several years ago when they were at odds over the leadership of the Trumbull County Republican Party.

Law was party chairman, and Yoder was party secretary until their dispute ignited a long fight. Eventually, Law lost the chairmanship. A judge dismissed the lawsuit. Yoder says she was not a driver of the effort to remove Law as party chairman because she was battling cancer.

Both candidates say they have moved past their personal disputes and are focused on other issues – such as the state’s infrastructure, its state regulations and traffic cameras.

“I want to get past it,” Yoder said during a recent interview of disputes with Law. “I decided to run without respect to whether he was running or not.”

She says they are similar ideologically, but there are differences.

“I have a diversity of background that he doesn’t have,” she said. “I have both lived paycheck to paycheck and signed paychecks. I’ve owned a business for 24 years.”

Yoder’s company provides residential services for people with developmental disabilities. “I was active in my community and my church long before I decided to run for office without any [political] aspirations. I wanted to serve my community.” She was Farmington Township trustee from 2014 to 2017.

By contrast, “Mr. Law has been running for office most of his adult life,” she said. Law held the seat as state representative for the 64th District in 2005 and 2006 and is a retired small-business owner.

Yoder said a study indicated Ohio has a much larger number of regulations than the average state. She agrees with Ohio Senate President Larry Obhof, a lawyer originally from Ashtabula County, who wants to reduce the number of state regulations to eliminate ones not needed.

Yoder says she has been saying since her 2016 run for the 64th District seat she believes some of the state’s $2 billion rainy-day fund should be used to upgrade the state’s roads, bridges and internet.

There are a lot of Ohions without internet access, including farmers, she said. “You pretty much can’t run a business without it,” she said. In rural areas such as West Farmington, the speed of the internet also can be a problem. “It’s very frustrating,” she said.

Law said his run for the Ohio House has nothing to do with Yoder, who filed for the position a short time before him.

Regarding him being removed as party chairman, he said he “wouldn’t use the word bitter. I think a lot of injustices were done. I’ve moved on. I’m not going to fight this forever.” He does think, however, the change in leadership was “personal,” he said.

He is “the only one who can make this a competitive race in November” against O’Brien, he said.

“It’s a tough race, but I know what it takes to be competitive to get the [Republican] caucus to say ‘Hey, Randy’s won before,” Law said.

Law agrees with Yoder regarding using some of the state’s rainy-day fund for infrastructure upgrades such as roads and bridges.

“If it means bringing in federal dollars, I’d be in favor of a certain percentage of that,” he said.

Law raised the issue of traffic cameras on his candidate questionnaire and says he’s opposed to them.

“I’m adamantly opposed to the way these things are set up. They are just money generators. I don’t think they overall increase safety. They increase safety in certain areas. They actually decrease safety in certain areas if you’re not careful,” he said.

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