Republican Dorothy Pelanda is facing a political newcomer in the race for the Ohio House of Representatives 86th District seat.

Republican Dorothy Pelanda is facing a political newcomer in the race for the Ohio House of Representatives 86th District seat.

Democrat John Babik is challenging the incumbent on the Nov. 4 ballot.

Pelanda, 58, was appointed to the seat in July 2011 to replace state Rep. David Burke, who was tapped to fill the seat of state Sen. Karen Gillmor after Gillmor resigned.

Pelanda was elected to her first full term in November 2012. She had not previously held an elected office.

Pelanda lives in Allen Township on the family farm where she grew up. She is married to Sam Gerhardstein, the director of governmental affairs for Columbia Gas of Ohio. She has three children. Brian, 30, is a trial lawyer in Costa Mesa, Calif. Doug, 28, is a registered nurse for OhioHealth. Zoe, 20, is a student at Aveda Institute, a Columbus cosmetology school.

Pelanda said she is seeking re-election to "pursue and continue the goals we have set collectively as a General Assembly and individually in my efforts to address the issues that are affecting Ohio's families and Union and Marion counties in particular."

"The future of Ohio and its economy is in direct relation to the health of our families -- their financial health, their physical health and their mental health," Pelanda said. "As a legislator, I need to do everything in my power to provide our families with the tools they need to be successful.

"I'm very proud to be working on the rules and reference committee which is hearing HB 597 that is the repeal of Common Core," she said.

"One thing is very clear: Teachers and students are really stressed out with failure obsession," Pelanda said. "The future of Ohio is absolutely dependent on the success of our children. I am absolutely opposed to any kind of federal intrusion into Ohio education policy."

Pelanda is also concerned about term limits. Currently, representatives can serve four, two-year terms. Lawmakers are considering expanding the duration of each term.

"With a two-year term, you've got one eye on re-election and one eye on your job. And it just does not serve the people well when you cannot fully focus on the job," she said.

"Whatever you do before you become a legislator, it is a huge learning curve to understand how a bill becomes law, and the No. 1 thing to being a successful legislator is developing relationships with other legislators who can support your goals and developing relationships with your community to understand what your community makeup is. To say you can do that within a two-year period is just an impossibility."

Babik, 51, is the Democratic candidate challenging Pelanda.

Babik, a substitute teacher, has no previous political experience. He spent 20 years in the corporate world working for companies including Bank One, Huntington National Bank and Deluxe Financial Services. He worked in training and development until 2009.

Babik lives in Paris Township with Leslie, his wife of 18 years. The couple have had multiple foster children over the years. They currently are fostering Carissa, 12, who is a student at Creekview Intermediate School in Marysville.

Babik said he wants to challenge Pelanda on her record in what he calls the "three W's: anti-worker, anti-woman, pro-wealthy contributors."

"My campaign theme is, 'Unbought and unbossed.' I mean that literally," he said.

Babik said he plans to renew his license to teach, which lapsed during his time in the corporate world.

"In 2009, things changed dramatically. I became unemployed with Deluxe Corp., along with millions of other Americans," Babik said. "I decided to pursue education. I'm going back to school to regain my teaching certification."

Babik said if elected, he is willing to pause his effort to renew his teaching license.

"I could put that goal on hold. Ultimately my goal is not to be a career politician. I'd rather spend some time doing some of the things I think need to be done, then get back to education," he said.

Like Pelanda, Babik is also concerned about the issue of Common Core State Standards.

"I think there is an over-reliance on testing and I also think that Common Core presents some problems from what teachers have told me. Kids are being tested on subjects that aren't even age-appropriate," Babik said.

"I think it's a program that can be improved. If state and local leaders would like to improve it, that's their option but I currently have some big reservations."

Babik said whether he wins or loses, the democratic process is critical to society.

"Ultimately by having a competitive two-party system, it can only make Rep. Pelanda a better representative," he said.

The 86th District includes all of Union County and much of Marion County.