The new 37th Ohio House District is refreshingly competitive, Democrats and Republicans rather evenly split across northern Summit County, including Twinsburg and Stow. That should put the premium on candidates willing to reach across the aisle. The Republican incumbent, Kristina Roegner, seeking a second, two-year term, has had moments of bipartisanship. Yet, in the main, she takes a more ideological route, supportive of the proposed changes in collective bargaining for public employees, of the steep budget reductions to public schools and local governments, of the elimination of the state estate tax and of the “heartbeat” bill all but erasing abortion rights.
Roegner is smart and accomplished, with six years at McKinsey & Co., five years on the Hudson City Council and the founding of a small business teaching foreign languages to young children. What most troubles is her narrow view of the role government plays in elevating the state as a whole. The legislature would benefit from a more balanced approach to priorities and challenges.
Her Democratic challenger is Tom Schmida. He carries his own partisan baggage, long involved in the Ohio Federation of Teachers. He, too, has experience in local government, as a village council member and then mayor of Reminderville, covering, in all, two decades. What appeals about Schmida is his deeper respect for the positive role governments make in our collective lives.
If he leans too far in the other direction on collective bargaining, he better grasps the harm in failing to invest adequately in education and public works. That, essentially, is the difference in this race. We recommend the election of Tom Schmida on Nov. 6.