By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN
BG Independent News
The two candidates for Ohio House of Representatives 3rd District bring different backgrounds, beliefs and goals to the race.
Incumbent Republican Theresa Gavarone is an attorney, business owner and former Bowling Green City Council member. Democrat Aidan Hubbell-Staeble is a political science major at BGSU and full-time employee at Kroger.
Gavarone points to her accomplishments in the Ohio House. Hubbell-Staeble points to his experience pinching pennies and dealing with a family health crisis.
During her first term as state representative, Gavarone noted her success in passing legislation that improves communication between law enforcement and drivers who have communication problems, updates Ohio’s overdue child support guidelines, and helps victims of human trafficking clear their records so they can get good jobs.
“I know what a difference that will make – to break that cycle,” she said.
Gavarone also talked about the capital budget passed during her term, which will help several local agencies such as the Wood County Committee on Aging’s new senior center, the Cocoon shelter, Perrysburg Heights Community Center, Northwood Miracle League field, BGSU forensics lab and Owens first responder training.
If re-elected, Gavarone said she would like to continue working on the drug addiction crisis and mental health issues – so that people who need the care have access to it. She would also like to focus on education – making sure that students are being educated and trained for the jobs of today and the future.
Hubbell-Staeble’s goals if elected are a bit different. He wants to make sure that families facing health crises aren’t burdened with financial despair as well.
“It’s our duty to protect Medicaid expansion in Ohio,” he said. “I don’t want to see anyone go through that.”
Hubbell-Staeble also supports a “living wage” so that people who have full-time jobs don’t have to juggle other employment to make ends meet.
“People aren’t making enough to get by. Wages have stagnated. People are struggling,” he said.
“Working Ohioans didn’t see benefits from Trump’s tax cuts,” Hubbell-Staeble added.
And he would like to work toward quality and affordable housing issues.
During a candidate forum earlier this fall, the two outlined their beliefs during questions posed by the audience.
When asked about the value of expanded Medicaid, Gavarone said the expansion has helped people suffering from addiction and mental illness. “We need to do a lot more,” she said.
Gavarone added that the state needs to make sure the Medicaid expansion is economically feasible.
Hubbell-Staeble said 650,000 Ohioans now have access to health insurance because of the expansion. He talked about his family’s experience – with his mom being diagnosed with breast cancer when he was younger, and the family having to declare bankruptcy.
“I think that’s wrong. I don’t think anyone should have to do that,” he said.
Hubbell-Staeble said he supports the expansion for health care coverage. “Coverage shouldn’t be determined by how much you make or how much your parents make,” he said.
When asked at the forum for their stances on abortion, Hubbell-Staeble said he is pro-choice. “As a man, I don’t think it’s my right to tell a women what to do with her body.”
“It’s been decided by the Supreme Court a long time ago,” he said.
Gavarone said she is pro-life. “I believe in the sanctity of life and protecting the vulnerable.” Gavarone added that she also supports resources for women to get care and reduce infant mortality.
And when asked about collective bargaining in the public sector, Gavarone said employees should be heard by their employer. But she added, “I’m a strong believer in the free market.”
There is an “intersection” between how much an employer will pay and how much a worker is willing to accept.
As a business owner of Mr. Spot’s with her husband, Gavarone said employers face difficult decisions on issues that can lead to job cuts, price hikes, or even closure of a business.
“We want to grow the job market here in Ohio,” she said.
Hubbell-Staeble said this issue is personal for him.
“The Republicans in Columbus have attacked workers’ rights in Ohio,” with Senate Bill 5 which was defeated, he said.
“These are the people who need public bargaining rights,” he said. Workers need “living wages” without the threat of losing their jobs.
In their closing statements at the candidate forum, Hubbell-Staeble said democracy is “under attack.”
“We need to stop pretending like everything is OK in our state and country,” he said. “People are sick and tired of not making enough money, and working all day, every day.”
Hubbell-Staeble admitted he is not the customary candidate. He is not an attorney, and did not grow up wealthy. His parents worked multiple jobs to make ends meet. “That’s wrong,” he said.
Ohioans deserve access to health care, living wages, and access to their elected officials, Hubbell-Staeble said.
Gavarone said with her experience, she is able to “hit the ground running.” As a business owner, she knows how to build jobs. As a former Bowling Green council member, “I understand the struggles of our local government.”
“I’ve got a bipartisan reputation,” Gavarone said.
But top on some voters’ minds aren’t issues, but the recent ads put out by the Republican party against Hubbell-Staeble. The ads included quotes from Facebook, showed distorted photos of the candidate appearing to be screaming, and referred to him as “un-Staeble.”
Gavarone said she had nothing to do with those ads against her opponent.
“I did not put it out. I didn’t see it till it hit my mailbox,” she said. “I cringed. I never had an opportunity to see those.”
Hubbell-Staeble said some of the “smear tactics” used by his opponent use Facebook quotes from when he was 16 years old. The attack ads speak loudly about the incumbent’s platform, he said.
“They don’t have any plans to help working Ohioans get ahead,” Hubbell-Staeble said.