In the 28th Ohio Senate District, Tom Sawyer, a veteran Democrat whose presence at the Statehouse brings needed perspective and stability, is blocked from seeking re-election by term limits. Fortunately, another veteran legislator, Vernon Sykes, a fellow Democrat, has stepped forward. He is ready with the experience, temperament, institutional and policy knowledge to represent the district and help in governing the state more effectively.
We recommend the election of Vernon Sykes on Nov. 8.
Sykes, a political science professor at Kent State, has a long record of bipartisan accomplishments, most recently as co-chair of the campaign that last year passed state Issue 1, repairing the way state legislative districts are drawn. Sykes has been a leader in pushing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act and supporting higher education. He has contributed to significant advances in the state’s fair housing and sunshine laws.
All that covers a career that started in 1983. Sykes served until 2000, when term limits hit. When his wife, Barbara, who took over the House seat, sought state office in 2006, Vernon Sykes ran again and has served until term-limited once again. His daughter, Emilia, ran successfully in 2014. The response to the grumbling about too many years of Vernon Sykes comes in the form of solid work.
In the Senate, Sykes can be expected to continue pressing the right priorities, from early childhood education to congressional redistricting and voting rights.
His opponent is Jonathan Schulz, a Republican seeking elected office for the first time. Schulz founded and runs a nonprofit that puts on events for families with special needs. He is refreshingly independent-minded, energetic and a quick study. He supports shifting money from charter schools to public schools. But his call for “a new generation of leadership” does not match what Vernon Sykes has to offer.
The district covers Akron, Green, Barberton, Springfield Township, Coventry Township, Lakemore, Tallmadge and the Summit County part of Mogadore.
In the 36th Ohio House district, Anthony DeVitis is seeking a third, two-year term. The former member of the Green City Council is a small businessman. He continues to adhere to the misguided belief of Statehouse Republicans that income tax cuts and fewer regulations are key to accelerating job growth and raising income levels.
Still, DeVitis is a more moderate voice in a conservative caucus. He supports the Medicaid expansion, Common Core and reforms for charter schools, among other issues. He also has been responsive to constituent concerns, especially college costs. His bill to prohibit overload fees for college students carrying heavy course work was part of the state budget. In addition, he has introduced a bill to control textbook costs.
We recommend the re-election of Anthony DeVitis on Nov. 8.
His opponent is Bobby McDowall, a Democrat who serves on the Mogadore Village Council. McDowall, a paralegal, has been active in Democratic campaigns. He has a good grasp of the issues facing Ohio, accurately portraying, for example, how Republicans achieved their balanced state budget by shifting the fiscal burden to local governments. Still, his campaign to oust DeVitis is based on portraying him as an arch conservative, which doesn’t square with the totality of the incumbent’s record.
The district includes Green and Tallmadge, climbing north into part of Cuyahoga Falls.