MANSFIELD – Making sure Richland County residents have opportunities for well-paying jobs is at the top of the list for both candidates for the 2nd District seat in the Ohio House
Mark J. Romanchuk, 51, 3306 Oakstone Drive, Ontario, owner of PR Machine Works, said his focus is on the economy, getting people back to work and improving their lives.
Romanchuk, a Republican, has been state representative since 2013, when he garnered 57 percent of the vote against Ellen Haring. He replaced Democrat Jay Goyal in the reconfiguring of the former 73rd District.
He has a bachelor of science in electronic engineering and a masters of business administration degree.
Voter Guide: MansfieldNewsJournal.com/VoterGuide
Democratic challenger Don Bryant, 29, of 478 E. Cook Road, Mansfield, is a teacher with a bachelor's degree in political science and international relations and a masters of science degree in education. He is working as a substitute teacher for the Mansfield City Schools.
Bryant said he has experience in local, state and federal government — starting with an internship in U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown's office, education-related work for Mayor Don Culliver and a stint as legislative aide for a Cleveland-based Ohio House member.
"Each experience gave me an opportunity to see what happens behind the scenes," he said.
The challenger said he has knocked on 12,000 doors across the district. "A lot of people are struggling," he said.
Romanchuk points to the following as accomplishments during his first two-year term: bringing Richland County $4.8 million in state funding for upgrades to the campus of The Ohio State University at Mansfield and North Central State College; $500,000 to create a MEDAL Talent Innovation Center in Shelby; and support for one of 10 Robotics & Advanced Manufacturing Technology Education Collaborative robotics centers across Ohio to come to the area.
The Republican said he has worked with his party to "reform some of the taxes in Ohio, some on the small business side."
Romanchuk said the local economy is improving. While the first job openings he saw after the downturn were for positions requiring specialized training, now he sees lots of 'wanted' signs. "This is not 2009," he said.
One big job-related issue is finding workers with the specialized skills that have left some local jobs unfilled.
"It's about skills. You've got the right skills, you'll make money," he said. "The WIA has $1.5 million they can't spend because they can't get anybody to come forward and take the training."
But Bryant said many people he has met are struggling to find jobs at wages that sustain them. Some are grappling with issues like finding transportation to the workplace, and others have not been aware of training programs, he said.
Workforce development is Ohio's biggest issue, he said — "helping people find sustainable income here in Ohio."
The state can do much better at linking people who aren't making it economically to better jobs, he said. Students should be exposed starting in middle school to the real world of work requirements, "not sugar coating it," the Democrat said.
Romanchuk said statewide cuts in Local Government Funds forced elected officials in cities and counties around Ohio to look at belt-tightening strategies. He knows two mayors who were grateful for that opportunity "to think outside the box," he said.
Romanchuk said part of the state surplus was put into Medicaid, which he called "the elephant in the room (in the state budget) — doubling in size every 10 years."
The incumbent added he supports shifting Ohio from income tax-based revenues "to a consumption-based system."
But Bryant said Ohio needs to "slow down" on that to see whether residents would benefit.
"We need time to figure it out. Do we have the make-up of a state like Texas or Tennessee?" the challenger said.
Bryant said he "definitely does not" support privatizing many public services. The teacher added he's troubled tax funds have been shifted from public school districts.
"Should taxpayers have to pay to send kids to for-profit charter schools? If we are taking money away from public schools, that is a problem," he said.
Bryant said he taught Common Core for two years and was concerned about placing too much external controls on classroom teachers. "I support local control of education," he said.
Romanchuk said school districts have done too much "social promotion" of students who weren't actually ready over the years. "I think we're doing the kids a disservice."
He supports third-grade guarantee testing — but has concerns about Common Core, saying it does not allow states to develop their own standards.
Reference: Mansfield News Journal
Wednesday, October 15, 2014
K.E. McCartney Memorial Building
16 S. Park St. Mansfield, OH 44902
MANSFIELD-- Richland County Democratic Party is hosting a candidate luncheon for 2nd District State Representative Candidate, Don Bryant on Wednesday, October 15th from 11:30-12:30 pm. Bryant will speak at noon. The event will be free and open to the public and is being held at the K.E. McCartney Memorial Building, downtown: 16 S. Park St. Mansfield, Ohio 44902. The menu includes shredded chicken and taco salad. For dessert, their will be a variety of options.
We encourage members of the press and Richland County community to attend and hear how you can get involved in the Bryant for State Representative campaign. For more information, call Bryant for State Representative Campaign Secretary, Lucille Cordell: (419) 612-9248 or Don Bryant at (419) 610-7312.
MANSFIELD--Members of the community met at The Ohio State University Mansfield Campus for a revealing of preliminary results from a regional study that asked questions about both Ohio State Mansfield and North Central State College.
In a letter written by District 2 State Representative Candidate, Don Bryant; he expressed his support on efforts to understand campus-community relationships.
"It's my job to care," Bryant said when asked why he attended the meeting.
"More importantly, these preliminary results are critical towards learning where we're at and where we need to be. Our end-goal must focus on working together for a common purpose. I applaud everyone who actively engaged in the survey process."
According to a document distributed at the community forum, 772 individuals living and/or working in various Richland County communities participated in the study.
Bryant's letter is attached below.
September 17th, 2014
To: Members of the Academic Community
Today, I had the opportunity to listen-in on the preliminary results from a study on campus-community relationships that was distributed to over 700 people in Richland County. This survey conducted on behalf of OSU-Mansfield and North Central State College; only confirms what thousands of Richland County voters have told me throughout the past 8 months of my campaign for State Representative: more effort and focus needs to be on working together to bridge lasting and positive results for our region.
OSU Mansfield Dean, Dr. Stephen Gavazzi and North Central State College President, Dr. Dorey Diab shared the survey results with those in attendance today.
“Effort drives comfort,” Gavazzi said to the audience.
As Candidate for State Representative, I am supportive of the efforts of OSU Mansfield and North Central State College, as well as hundreds of others who participated in this survey process. Your engagement and the resulting data, presents a great opportunity to now connect opportunities to our needs as a region for the academic community.
If effort truly drives comfort, then it makes sense to support those candidates this election-cycle who have demonstrated efforts in support of the people and communities of Richland County. I’m running for State Representative because I will promote solidarity and showcase our regional strengths at the state-level. I have taken the time to listen to the people of district 2 and will take your priorities with me to the statehouse to get things done once I’m elected.
My policy initiative: Attract, Train & Keep; promotes collaboration between the Academic, Business, Civic and Government communities here in Richland County. More importantly, this initiative is results-oriented and seeks to develop steps toward a more engaging and sustainable future for our children, grandchildren and for ourselves.
It’s time we Move Opportunity Forward together and with Bryant for State Representative.
Thank you for all you do for our communities throughout Richland County.
Don Bryant, District 2 State Representative Candidate
Bryant welcomed 16 new volunteers who joined him in the Mansfield Labor Day Parade today, bringing the total volunteer base to 84 people outside of his general campaign committee. In a statement earlier, Bryant said,
" My volunteers have been incredibly loyal and I am thankful for the work they're doing."
" And I certainly want to thank the people of Richland County for their efforts and dedication to our labor force throughout the years. Both of my parents were manufactuer workers and I certainly appreciate everything they've done for me growing up; especially keeping a roof over our heads and food on the table. They taught me the benefits and values of hard work at an early age." Bryant stated.
For more information on how to get involved in the campaign, contact Don via e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org or phone: 419-971-DONB (3662).
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