State Rep. Tracey Heard, a Democrat, and challenger Joseph Healy, a Republican, have no opposition in their parties' primary elections on March 6 but will face off in November to represent a redrawn 26th District.

State Rep. Tracey Heard, a Democrat, and challenger Joseph Healy, a Republican, have no opposition in their parties' primary elections on March 6 but will face off in November to represent a redrawn 26th District.

District 26 is made up of a section of southeastern Franklin County that includes Bexley and Reynoldsburg.

The newly drawn legislative districts take effect this election cycle. State Democrats had challenged the district boundaries, which were drawn by the Republican-dominated State Apportionment Board, but a 6-1 ruling last week by the Ohio Supreme Court will keep the districts in place for at least the 2012 races, according to The Columbus Dispatch.

Healy did not respond to ThisWeek's attempts to contact him.

Currently serving her third term, Heard is the Minority Whip in the 129th General Assembly.

"I'm running again because it's the best job I ever had," she said. "Everything that I've ever done in my life previously has been relevant and applicable to this job. I get to learn all kinds of unbelievable things and the work I do matters to somebody other than me. It's an opportunity to be a public servant."

Heard said jobs and economic development are her top priorities.

"I have what I call the four E's: energy, environment, education and economic development," she said. "For me, they all tie together, especially at this particular point in time. With energy, we're talking about alternative resources, and environmental issues which tie to that, which leads to new jobs which ties to economic development.

"We have new emerging industries and a lot of 'green' jobs that are coming out, and that ties to education and the workforce development part of it, so it's all one big circle to me."

Heard said there are many things that could be done that are not being done to help people, for example, tax credits.

"What I've been focusing on in terms of tax credits are attach the tax credit to the employee, or to the chronically unemployed," Heard said. "Tax credits are always given to the businesses, so what about tax credits to the chronically unemployed or ex-felons, or to businesses that are good environmental citizens?"

Heard, 49, grew up in Akron, and has lived in Columbus for the past 15 years with her husband, Howard Heard.

She earned a bachelor of arts degree in communications with a minor in business from the University of Akron in 1994.

Less than six months after graduating, she became a television news anchor with the ABC affiliate WAKC in northeastern Ohio.

She followed that experience by going into politics, working for the Clinton-Gore campaign in 1996, running its Akron office.

That experience led her to Ohio's capital, where she served as a legislative aide in the Ohio Senate in 1997.

She quickly parlayed that experience and the contacts made into an opportunity to start her own business in 1998, Millennium Solutions, Inc., doing political and public relations consulting.

As her business continued she accepted a position as executive director of the Livingston Avenue Collaborative for Community Development (LACCD), a nonprofit community development corporation, in 2000.

Heard also serves on numerous community and civic boards and is a member of the Deaconess Board at Smyrna Missionary Baptist Church.