Democrat David H. Dilly of Coshocton will challenge incumbent Republican Bill Hayes of Pataskala in the Nov. 6 election for the right to represent the new 72nd Ohio House District.
The 72nd district formerly was the 91st, but the newly drawn state legislative districts take effect this election cycle. The district's new boundaries encompass about half of Licking County -- primarily its eastern and southern portions -- and much of Coshocton and Perry counties. The district also touches the eastern city limits of Pataskala and Reynoldsburg.
Hayes, 68, is an attorney who is finishing his first term as a state representative. He is married with three children and six grandchildren.
Dilly, 66, has been the Coshocton County recorder since 2006 and fiscal officer for White Eyes Township since 2000. He is married with two children and four grandchildren.
ThisWeek asked both candidates a series of questions about:
* The budget deficit closed by Gov. John Kasich and the state legislature.
* Ohio's Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.
* Issue 2, which will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.
* The federal Affordable Care Act championed by President Barack Obama.
* Early voting in Ohio.
* Ohio's approach to economic development.
* Hydraulic fracturing, a technique often called "fracking," to mine natural gas and petroleum from Ohio's shale rock, which begins in Licking County and stretches underground across the eastern part of the state.
Hayes said he agreed with Kasich's budget, which involved cuts in funding to school districts and local governments to alleviate the state's $8 billion deficit without raising taxes.
"I voted for the budget," Hayes said. "State funding for education actually increased. The cut that was noticed was the loss of federal stimulus funds."
Dilly countered that Kasich could have taken a more bipartisan approach to the budget and, he said, putting the burden on local government entities was wrong.
"Gov. Kasich decided what he wanted to do and everyone on the Republican side went along with him," Dilly said. "The governor's decision to put the burden of the deficit on the local governments and local schools was wrong. To say he balanced the budget without raising taxes is only partially right. Taxes were raised, but just at the local levels."
Hayes said he supports the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.
"I agree with the 'guarantee,' " Hayes said. "This is not a new concept, but is requiring what has been adopted in prior legislation to actually occur. Not knowing the impact of the guarantee regarding costs for sure, the adequacy of funding will be determined."
Dilly said he would need to consult with teachers and school officials affected to give an accurate answer about the Third-Grade Reading Guarantee.
"I would have to ask the teachers and administrators their feelings on this subject," Dilly said. "They are the ones that deal with the students on a daily basis. Sometimes laws and mandates are issued without input from the people that are affected. I am one who believes if I don't know the answer, ask the people that do know."
The candidates had opposing views on Issue 2, the Nov. 6 ballot measure that would take away the ability for politicians to draw legislative and congressional districts and give the map-drawing responsibility to commission of appointed residents.
"I will vote no on Issue 2 because I am not in favor of a body who answers to no one and who has an unlimited budget,"Hayes said. "There is presently a bipartisan legislative committee working on this issue. Ultimately, the people of Ohio should have the power to vote out those who make changes in the districts if they do not approve of their actions."
Dilly said, "I believe we need to have a government that is responsive to the citizens of our state. We are built on the foundation of democracy. Our system of government works best when there is a multiple-party system. I will vote yes on Issue 2 because I believe it will take a step in the right direction of ensuring we have more than one-party rule."
The candidates also had opposite opinions on the Affordable Care Act.
"I am opposed to the Affordable Care Act because of its inherent tax increases disguised as fines and penalties," Hayes said. "It is my wish that Obamacare will be repealed. Should Obamacare become law of the land, I do not want the federal government managing any part of the plan for the state of Ohio. I am for keeping as much control local as possible."
Dilly said, "I believe the state has buried its head in the sand and hoped that the Affordable Care Act will go away rather than being proactive in setting up an (insurance) exchange program. The law may not be perfect, but it is a start. I think Ohio can make health care more affordable and accessible for everyone."
Both candidates said they support early voting, which began Oct. 2.
"Early voting is the law," Hayes said. "Any changes to the law will be determined by new legislation which will be fully vetted in the legislative process. As for changes, I would like to see voters produce an ID when they appear to vote."
Dilly said, "Our country was founded on freedom and that freedom is based on the freedom to vote. I think we should strive to give the opportunity for every citizen to vote."
The men have different ideas on how the state should market itself to new businesses.
Hayes said Ohio should "reduce taxes and modify further our regulatory process so that businesses can act more quickly in making decisions in this competitive world."
Dilly said, "I think companies come into a state or locality after the evaluation of many things. Roads, utilities, schools and a skilled workforce are among the top reasons. We need to be selling ourselves the same as any other business does in order to draw business."
As for hydraulic fracturing, Hayes said it will bring great benefits to the area, but Dilly warned it could be a long-term environmental concern for Ohio.
"Hydraulic fracturing is not a cause for concern," Hayes said. "It is a process that has been used for decades around the nation without major negative impacts on the environment or people.
"Ohio has adopted legislation that is a model for the rest of the nation regarding this activity," he said.. "Licking County and its neighboring counties to the south and east will receive great benefits from this industry and we can only hope for the success and the part Ohio can play in making our nation energy independent while creating jobs for thousands of people looking to provide for themselves and their families."
Dilly acknowledged that fracking is a concern for many residents.
"I don't know if the shale development will ever hit Licking County, but it already has hit other counties,"he said. "We need to make sure all the safeguards are in place with enough inspectors to be sure that we protect our land, our water and, most importantly, our residents.
"Shale development can be a boon for the economy, but we want to make sure it's not a longer-term liability."