Ellis, Wilkin tackle issues of 91st District: Candidates offer stances on economic, social issues


Candidates offer stances on economic, social issues

Staff report



Wilkin

Wilkin


Ellis


Republicans Shane Wilkin and Beth Ellis are running in the May 8 primary election to secure the GOP nomination for Ohio’s state representative from the 91st District. The district consists of Clinton, Highland and Pike counties and part of Ross County.

The winner will appear on November’s general election ballot against Democratic candidate Justin Grimes.

The Times-Gazette and News Journal asked both Ellis and Wilkin a set of questions for our election previews. Their answers are below.

BETH ELLIS

Resides in Sabina, Clinton County.

Married, husband Matt; children, Carlie and Nathan.

Current position: Business Owner/Farmer, Cherrybend Pheasant Farm.

Education: Bachelor of Science Degree, The Ohio State University.

Experience in community service/politics:

• Vice Chair, Clinton County Port Authority.

• President, Clinton County Farm Bureau.

• Ohio Farm Bureau ’16 State Policy Development Committee.

• Clinton County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

* Veteran Benefits Coordinator, Operation Cherrybend.

What measures would you support to fight the opioids/addiction epidemic in Ohio?

The drug epidemic is ever evolving and the drug of choice changes. Our laws need to reflect the current trend so that law enforcement and judges can do what they need to keep the community safe and help those afflicted. I support continued financial support from the state to help both public and private partnerships that target all the complex facets of the fallout. Law enforcement, rehabilitation, children’s services, group homes and the organizations that help them, education in schools — there are so many areas that are effected and need leadership and resources. Across the district, each community will have to tailor it to their needs as each community is different. A general program spread over everyone doesn’t allow for the individual needs of each community.

What is your opinion about the legalization of/local growing of medical marijuana? What about legalizing it for recreational use?

I am opposed to the legalization of recreational marijuana. Medical marijuana is a more complicated subject. The federal government designates marijuana as a Schedule I controlled substance and illegal to distribute and sell. Biomedical research needs to continue to isolate the effective components that can be beneficial. Medical doctors know their patients best and know what treatment/prescriptions will be most effective and safe to prescribe.

A bill was just introduced in the Ohio House banning all abortions. Do you support such a measure (even if such a bill would go against Roe v. Wade)?

I performed my first ultrasound in 1993, and saw the miracle of life thousands of times. The innocent life needs to be protected. I am pro-life and endorsed by the Ohio Right To Life. I am opposed to the taxpayer-funded abortions.

What measures would you support to keep our schools safer from gun violence?

Each school system has their own unique needs and dynamics. I believe that funding should be available for security measures as determined by the school boards and administrators. I support Safety Officers on site as well as any fully trained professionals that elect to be designated by the administration to have concealed carry firearms. Our priority is to take immediate measures within our communities to keep our children safe. This will also include addressing the mental health aspect of the violence crisis and evaluate how best to assist the school systems to address these issues.

Ohio and Clinton/Highland counties have rebounded economically in the past few years. What further measures do you support to keep our state/county moving forward?

While there has been slow and steady growth, any further expansion will require the communities to provide a skilled workforce to the growing existing businesses as well as for new companies looking to locate in the district. We have amazing education resources in this district with our vocational schools and community colleges. Success can be had by developing and utilizing the services and programs offered at these locations in collaboration with state resources (such as JobsOhio) which can tailor the skill set to accommodate businesses looking to locate in the district.

The state of Ohio has balanced its budget in large part by cutting funds to local governments, which have in turn struggled financially. Would you return cuts that have been made to the Local Government Fund, or find other ways to ease the burden on local counties and municipalities?

I have traveled across this district talking to elected leaders and the common concern is the budget cuts and strain to services. While we have a moral obligation to balance the state budget, we must stay aware of the effect of cuts to our local governments. The budget process is complex and it is a negotiation and shuffle of funds. It is clear that a strong message needs to be made to Columbus that it’s not working for our communities. A better plan that is proportionately balanced without reducing the Local Government Fund is needed. The shell game of carving out funds from LGF but then giving it to localities as funds for the Opiate Epidemic isn’t bringing the desired relief. It needs to be made in addition to those LGF funds. The question is — where does it come from? As with any budget, you take a hard look and trim the programs that are irrelevant or under serving.

Why are you running for this office?

I am running to be state rep for the 91st District because I believe in our government. I believe it begins at the township and county level which is closest to the constituents. Sharing my experience, education and skills with the intent to help our communities is my focus. I have served my community locally, both in the private sector and public sector, and I am ready to serve on a larger scale.

Why are you best candidate?

I am the best candidate for state representative of the 91st District because of my broad range of skills, education, experience, critical thinking and decision-making. I have experience in business management, agriculture, healthcare, aviation (private pilot), and economic development (CCPA) that I believe will serve the district well at the statehouse. I am a common-sense conservative who will stand strong for our freedoms. I will keep my focus on the issues within this district where my life is — my home, my family, our business, our farm and our future.

— — —

SHANE WILKIN

Resides in Hamer Township, Hillsboro, Highland County.

Married, wife Kristy Wilkin, attorney with Peelle Law Offices; two daughters, Piper, 8, and Parker, 7.

Current position: Highland County Commissioner; small business owner; real estate/real estate development.

Education: Lynchburg Clay High School.

Experience in community service/politics

• President, Highland County Board of Commissioners (10 years).

• OVRDC- Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission Member (9 years), vice chair (2 years), board chairman (2 years).

• County Commissioners Association of Ohio member (8 years), vice chair of Human Services (2 years).

• County Improvement Corporation- Highland County (8 years), chair (2 years).

• Highland County Criminal Justice Board (10 years).

• Highland County Senior Citizen Center board member (8 years).

• Highland District Hospital Foundation board member (9 years).

• Smokin’ in the Hills Event Committee chair (2 years).

• SAY Soccer and Upward Basketball coach (1 year).

What measures would you support to fight the opioids/addiction epidemic in Ohio?

First and foremost, I completely agree with President Trump on harsher penalties for dealers of illegal and prescription drugs. I would support laws with mandatory prison sentences. We need to stop the flow of illegal drugs into our communities. With my experience as a county commissioner, I know we cannot afford to house everyone, whether incarcerated or recovering. In Highland County, we are employing alternative sentencing as more efficient and effective local treatment, recovery, and job training options. If elected to represent the 91st District, I will work to expand this approach. A 360-degree approach is the only way we will defeat the epidemic and reclaim our communities.

What is your opinion about the legalization of/local growing of medical marijuana? What about legalizing it for recreational use?

I do not support the legalization of/local growing of medical marijuana or legalizing it for recreational use. Though many proponents argue there is an economic impact in our region, I do not believe that this outweighs the negative consequences. In discussing with our county coroner, I become concerned with the adverse impact on our public health – both culturally and economically.

A bill was just introduced in the Ohio House banning all abortions. Do you support such a measure (even if such a bill would go against Roe v. Wade)?

I am proud to be endorsed by the Ohio Right to Life PAC. As such, I would strongly support such a bill. I am 100-percent pro-life, oppose the use of tax dollars for abortions, and will work tirelessly to promote adoption as an alternative to abortion.

What measures would you support to keep our schools safer from gun violence?

All children deserve safe schools where they can learn, grow and succeed. I support keeping local control over the decisions of our local schools. I believe that the elected members of the school board know the school environment, property and needs of the students and staff. Decisions on securing safety should be handled at the local level.

Ohio and Clinton/Highland counties have rebounded economically in the past few years. What further measures do you support to keep our state/county moving forward?

First and foremost, government does not create jobs, they facilitate a more business-friendly climate. As the lead in economic development in Highland County, I am very proud that our team has helped facilitate 400+ new jobs along with over $45 million in capital investment. We still have a long way to go, and experience will be important. Just as President Trump is working to make the U.S. a better place to do business, I will work to make Ohio a more business-friendly state. We must have a competitive tax structure in order to attract those companies that are growing and expanding. The Tax Foundation consistently ranks our state in the mid-upper 40s of the least friendly states to do business. Just as President Trump is working to cut down on overbearing regulations, I will stop government overreach and senseless regulations, which impede our business’ ability to grow.

The state of Ohio has balanced its budget in large part by cutting funds to local governments, which have in turn struggled financially. Would you return cuts that have been made to the Local Government Fund, or find other ways to ease the burden on local counties and municipalities?

No doubt that there is a disconnect between Columbus elites and local governments when it comes to budgeting. My county commissioner experience will play a major factor in making sure that our local interests in the 91st District are represented. In my tenure as Highland County commissioner, we have dramatically improved our financial health, despite the cuts and mandates from Columbus. We have reduced the county debt and refinanced to save thousands of tax payer dollars. We cut the county budget by nearly 10 percent. In short, I would do everything in my power to make sure that our local governments receive the funding they need to ensure essential services, such as law enforcement and care for our veterans.

Why are you running for this office?

As Highland County commissioner, I have seen first-hand the benefit for individuals with local government experience and knowledge at the Statehouse. While I maintain my private sector, small business perspective, knowing the internal workings of local government is crucial to effectively bringing positive change for our district. I want to address fiscal issues going on at the state level. The budget may look good from Columbus, but not for those of us living and funding services for counties throughout the 91st District. A state budget balanced on the back of local governments is not sustainable.

Moreover, collaborating with elected officials and department heads as a county commissioner is a skill that I have developed and would serve me well as a state legislator, if I am fortunate enough to serve the people of the 91st district.

Why are you best candidate?

Experience. I have a blend of both private and public sector experience that allows me to be the best candidate. My private sector experience includes operating a small business, real estate and real estate development. In the public sector, I have served as a Highland County commissioner for over nine years. I have applied my private sector approach to the business at hand for Highland County, which means we have cut cost, reduced debt, and collaborated with multiple department heads so that we could operate as efficiently as possible, especially during the great recession, and live within our means.

Experience in economic development. I have not only worked with my team within the commissioners’ office to help facilitate 400+ new jobs and $45 million in capital investment within Highland County, but also as chairman of Ohio Valley Regional Development Commission (OVRDC) where we average approximately $10 million a year in assistance to our Development District, which includes 12 counties including Ross, Pike and Highland. I also currently chair the Highland County Improvement Corporation, which has been a key organization in projects that have included PAS Technologies expansions in Hillsboro and Corvac Composites locating in Greenfield. Experience, not only with state and federal agencies, but a proven track record of standing up against the powers that be when needed as a representative for Highland County with successful outcomes.

Wilkin
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/04/web1_Wilkin-Shane-new-again-1.jpgWilkin

Ellis
http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/04/web1_Beth-Ellis.jpgEllis

http://www.timesgazette.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/33/2018/04/primary-election-logo.pdf
Candidates offer stances on economic, social issues

Staff report

RECOMMENDED FOR YOU