Incumbent state Rep. Mike Stinziano, a Democrat currently representing the 25th Ohio House District, and Republican Bill Colgan will face off in the Nov. 6 election for the new 18th Ohio House seat.
The redrawn 18th district includes Bexley and Grandview, as well as several Columbus neighborhoods: Franklinton, German Village, Merion Village, Old Town East, the Short North and the University District.
Stinziano, 33, is an attorney.
He earned his law degree from the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law; his master's degree in public administration from George Washington University; and his bachelor's degree in leadership studies at the University of Richmond.
He is married to Caroline McNamee Stinziano. They live in the Short North.
Stinziano has lived in Columbus all of his life except for when he was away at college.
He has served one term as state representative for the 25th Ohio House District and was director of the Franklin County Board of Elections from 2008 to 2010.
Colgan, 37, is a mechanical engineer who earned a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering technology from the University of Cincinnati.
The Grandview resident is married.
A native of Cincinnati, Colgan has been a resident of central Ohio since 2003.
Stinziano said he is no fan of the way Gov. John Kasich and the Ohio legislature balanced the state budget by making deep cuts to funding for school districts and local governments.
"I voted against the state budget because it hurts our schools and the ability of local governments to provide police and fire services," Stinziano said. "To increase revenue and strengthen Ohio's investment in education and local government, we must resize government, as well as create jobs that will grow our economy and strengthen Ohio's tax base. I also support reviewing and closing tax loopholes to increase funding for schools and improve neighborhood safety."
Colgan supports the governor's decisions.
"It was the best solution to a difficult problem, and I would have done the same thing if I had been in the Statehouse," Colgan said.
Stinziano said he supports state Issue 2, the Nov. 6 ballot measure that would give the legislative and congressional district map-drawing responsibility to a commission of appointed residents. He said he considers it a sensible way to redraw legislative districts in Ohio.
"I support passage of Issue 2," he said. "The partisan politics associated with redistricting often prevents people from making the best decisions for their communities. As the only member of the General Assembly who has served as a director of a board of elections, I have seen firsthand the need to change Ohio's redistricting process to end gerrymandering and ensure legislative districts that are compact and more competitive."
Colgan said he thinks change is needed when it comes to redistricting, but Issue 2 is not the answer.
"The recent redistricting based on the 2010 census has highlighted some of the need for change in Ohio's system," Colgan said. "The current arrangement makes Ohio's (apportionment) board one of the most biased in the nation.
"I would support changes to make the process less partisan, to better serve the voters in the state of Ohio, while still assuring the process is transparent and accountable," he said. "The most sensible solution will put redistricting decisions in the hands of representatives elected by the people of Ohio, but which ensures that the minority party has a voice in the redistricting. I don't think Issue 2 accomplishes that goal, and for that reason I won't vote for it."
Stinziano said he thinks the Ohio Chamber of Commerce's plan to make Ohio a better environment for attracting new businesses is a sound one.
"I fully support the 'Campaign for Jobs' proposed by the Ohio Chamber of Commerce, which calls for reforming Ohio's state and local government, reducing the cost of doing business to allow for reinvestment and growth, and streamlining the state regulatory process into a more user-friendly, less burdensome system," he said. "We need to establish Ohio as a leader in small business startup and growth, advance Ohio's competitiveness by improving its transportation, technology and energy infrastructure and develop the skilled workforce Ohio needs for a globally competitive, high-tech economy."
Colgan emphasized the need for sound fiscal policies on the state level.
"Ohio has been a good place to do business for a long time, and that has made it a place for families to grow and thrive for generations," Colgan said. "Continued fiscal responsibility in state government creates an environment where businesses can plan for the future and create more good jobs for the people of Ohio."
On the issue of hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking," Stinziano said he does not favor a moratorium.
"In light of recent environmental developments linked to injection wells, it is more important than ever to proceed with caution when it comes to fracking," Stinziano said. "While I don't support a complete moratorium to address the possible adverse impacts on drinking water and air quality, the environmental impact of pumping briny wastewater into injection wells is still unclear.
"Many people are worried that this wastewater may find its way into clean sources of water. I support requirements and policies to address these already known concerns and support finding, and funding, solutions. In addition, I support a slower, more deliberative process toward what is deemed appropriate to hydrofrack and eliminate the current free-for-all that is occurring."
Colgan said he supports using Ohio's natural resources.
"There are tremendous gains for the state of Ohio if oil and gas reserves in the state can be developed," Colgan said. "Increased taxes and new regulations on the fledgling industry should be focused on developing these resources responsibly, maximizing benefits to Ohioans without burdening them with environmental hazards. Natural resources like ours have been safely developed elsewhere, and with effective regulation, they can be developed safely here."