Voters in Ohio's 30th Senate District will select between incumbent Ohio Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, and Republican Shane Thompson of Loomis.
- Gentile, 33, of Steubenville was elected to his first term in the Ohio House in 2010 and was appointed to the Ohio Senate in December 2011. He previously served as a field representative for Ted Strickland when Strickland served in the U.S. House and is a former assistant director of the Governor's Office of Appalachia.
"Ohio's last biennium budget was balanced on the backs of local services and public education," he said. "Spending increased by $2 billion more than the previous budget, while school districts and local governments took deep cuts. These cuts jeopardize community and public safety and in the long term can make us less competitive economically.
"Currently, the governor is projecting that the state will have a $1 billion surplus. ... This was revenue that was taken from local services and public education. I believe that budgets are about priorities.
My top priorities are to invest in economic development and education."
Gentile said he played a role in helping to construct Ohio's current energy policy.
"I won a significant amendment to the Senate Energy Bill which I refer to as the 'Ohio Workers First Amendment.'" he said.
"The amendment will encourage the use of Ohio's workers and small businesses in the oil and gas industry. It will require an annual report of the number of local jobs being created and the overall economic impact the industry is having in our state."
It is important Ohio's next budget invest in economic development and education, he continued.
"I have worked hard to bring job training and infrastructure funding to our part of Ohio," Gentile commented. "I feel that I have been an effective legislator who has worked across the political aisle to pass laws that will encourage job growth and development."
- Thompson, 42, of Loomis is vice president of California-based Kinsbursky Bros. and its affiliated company in Ohio, Toxco, which together form one of the largest battery recycling operations in North America.
"I think that the state has made some progress, but our region still lags behind," he said. "The statewide unemployment in August was 6.8 percent, while the 10 county region that makes up the 30th Senate District was 8.2 percent. That's not acceptable, and it's why I am running for state Senate.
"We need to continue to be aggressive about cutting job-killing regulations and have a fair and consistent tax policy. This is what will make Ohio better poised for continued and sustained economic growth and development."
Local resources are the key to economic development in East Ohio, according to Thompson.
"I strongly believe we need to take full advantage of the natural resources we have right here ... to ensure that we can create as many jobs for 30th District residents as possible. ... All the while we need to continue to follow the progress we have made to closely to ensure the safety and welfare of the residents."
He believes state lawmakers should ensure that government regulations are efficient and effective, that the tax burden is nominal and that government spending is kept in check.
"Ohio is competing for jobs not just in the U.S. but globally," he said. "We have seen a failure of leadership from the current senator, who has demonstrated a loyalty to party and special interest in Columbus and not to the people of the 30th. Having only worked in government, he doesn't understand what it takes to create jobs in the private sector."