The new 34th Ohio House District covers the central and northern parts of Akron, territory long familiar to Vernon Sykes, the Democratic incumbent. The veteran legislator served in the Ohio House from 1983 to 2000, when term limits hit. He ran again in 2006. The seat then was held by his wife, Barbara, who ran for state auditor.

Now, in his last race before term limits strike again, Sykes faces opposition in the primary from Derrick Hall, a pharmacy manager and attorney making his first run for office.

We recommend the election of Vernon Sykes on March 6.

Sykes brings to the Statehouse the experience and institutional knowledge the legislature needs to function effectively. He has built a strong record, including work on the stateís fair housing and sunshine laws. He can point to academic credentials, for instance, a doctorate in urban planning. What he has demonstrated as a lawmaker is the temperament and savvy to bridge differences.

As a leading Democratic voice on budget matters, Sykes consistently has stood up for the poor and disadvantaged. He has championed higher education, seeing its value to the overall economy. He recently has been tapped as a co-chair of the Ohio Constitutional Modernization Commission.

Derrick Hall also stresses the need to improve education and training. With a doctoral degree in pharmacy, a law degree and a masterís in business administration, he offers a set of skills that would be valuable in the legislature. The hope is, he will remain interested in elected office and seize an opportunity to run again.