Political skirmishes and electoral battles are nothing new to the two candidates pitted against each other in this spring’s primary race for the Republican nomination for Ohio’s 64th District House of Representatives seat.
Those candidates are Randy Law, former embattled chairman of the Trumbull County Republican Party, and Martha Yoder, former embattled secretary of the county’s Grand Old Party.
Both of them butted heads in internecine squabbling in the party’s hierarchy in recent years. Both profess that those battles are behind them now, and they are focusing squarely on the issues and their would-be constituencies in the 64th District.
The issues are aplenty in this significant Ohio General Assembly race. The $60,000 per year lawmaking job wields great responsibility and authority over shaping state laws on taxation, education, economic development, public health and many other domains. It therefore requires thoughtful and well-
reasoned choices by the electorate in Trumbull and Ashtabula counties.
Both candidates bring experience, solid ideas and a sincere commitment to serve. After careful evaluation, however, The Vindicator endorses Law.
LAW, YODER SHARE MANY PRIORITIES
Law cites his experience as a prime asset to his candidacy. He was the elected representative for the largely Democratic district in 2005 and 2006 and has also served five terms on the Ohio Republican State Central Committee. As such, Law may better understand the finer details of lawmaking from Columbus.
Both he and Yoder rightly stress the need for stronger advocacy and action in Columbus to repair and modernize the state’s aging infrastructure. Yoder says she would place a special emphasis on working to expand high-speed internet services to underserved constituencies in the state, such as the significantly rural 64th Ohio House District.
Law and Yoder also favor tapping into the state’s $2 billion Rainy Day Fund to finance other infrastructure improvements, such as roads and bridges.
The two candidates are equally passionate in their concern to promote economic development and job creation within the district through whatever vehicles avail themselves in Columbus.
Deregulation is another passion both candidates share. Yoder, like President Donald J. Trump on the federal level, calls for getting rid of two of the state’s 240,000 regulations for every one that is added. She and Law view many regulations as excessive and redundant.
Yoder, who handily won the GOP nomination for the same seat in 2016 but lost in the general election to incumbent Democrat Michael O’Brien, emphasizes the depth and breadth of her experience in advancing her candidacy.
Yoder argues that she would better be capable of representing the diverse constituency in her district because of her life background. She said she has “lived paycheck to paycheck” and has “signed paychecks” as owner of Yoder Supported Living Services in West Farmington.
She says her four years of experience as a Farmington Township trustee has given her a solid understanding of the workings of local and state government but at the same time, she stresses she has never been a “career politician,” an unflattering label she affixes to
VIEWS DIVERGE ON MEDICAID
But despite these similarities in viewpoints on many issues, there is one significant contentious issue where the two candidates part ways – at least slightly.
That issue is the expansion of the Medicaid program in Ohio to an additional 725,000 residents who previously lacked health insurance. It was implemented with the strong support of Republican Gov. John Kasich.
For her part, Yoder favors abolition of the expansion. To better manage skyrocketing insurance and health costs, she believes more people should opt to pre-pay for medical services and/or join a private benevolent ministry, as she did, that offers assistance for health expenses.
Unfortunately, those options are neither feasible nor available to many of Ohio’s growing demographic of working poor.
Law, for his part, sees some good in the Medicaid expansion but fears it will not be financially sustainable for the long haul.
“I don’t think we want a complete reversal. But it’s best to put some limits on it to control costs,” he told members of The Vindicator’s Editorial Board during his endorsement interview earlier this month.
From our perspective, Law’s more moderate and strategic outlook on the future of Medicaid expansion in our state gives him the edge in this important race.