West Side News

Republican race

Manley challenges Kunze in 24th House primary

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Registered Republicans in the 24th Ohio House District will be asked May 6 to choose the party's representative in the November general election.

Incumbent state Rep. Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) will face challenger Patrick Manley in the primary.

The winner will face Democrat Kathy S. Hoff and Libertarian Mark M. Noble in the general election Nov. 4.

A second Democrat, David Girves, was certified to run against Hoff, but has since withdrawn from the race.

Kunze, 43, was elected in 2012 to the Ohio House of Representatives. She previously served on Hilliard City Council from 2010-12.

Kunze said she desires to continue serving the constituents of 24th district and to use the experience she has gained during her first term in office, not only for her constituents, but all of Ohio's residents.

Kunze and her husband, Matt, have two daughters in Hilliard schools.

Manley, 58, founded his own business, Manley Architectural Group, in 1985. He resides in Clintonville and is seeking his first elected office.

Manley said he thinks he can better serve the public because he is not "indebted" to political interests or his political party and would put constituents first.

Manley and his wife, Linda, have two adult children.

If re-elected, Kunze said, her focus will remain on strengthening Ohio's small-business owners.

Kunze said she supported Gov. John Kasich's operating budget that included a $2.57 billion tax cut to small-business owners.

"We closed various loopholes (and) provided incentives ... to encourage our business owners to re-invest (and) hire more employees," she said.

Kunze was a joint sponsor of several bills signed into law, including those broadening the ability of residents to delegate their powers of attorney to others and prohibiting the sale of electronic cigarettes to juveniles.

Battery-powered devices that simulate cigarette smoking, e-cigarettes were not regulated and could be purchased by those younger than 18 before the new law was enacted earlier this year, Kunze said.

"I have two of my own daughters ... I'm proud to have been a part of banning the sales of these to minors," she said.

As for education, Kunze said, local school boards should have control of districts with as few mandates as possible from the state and federal governments.

"Districts must still be held accountable for how they spend tax dollars ... but districts should be able to utilize their best practices," Kunze said.

Manley challenges Kunze's platform of no government interference in classrooms, particularly about the Common Core State Standards the State Board of Education adopted in 2010.

Common Core State Standards establish classroom curriculum in English, mathematics, social studies and science.

Kunze said Common Core is a policy that districts should be able to choose whether or not to adopt. She said she does not believe in a "one-size-fits-all" approach to education and supports providing broad educational choices to parents and children.

Manley said he opposes the Common Core State Standards, citing it as a "sharp difference" between himself and Kunze.

"I'm standing with teachers and parents (opposed to Common Core)," ManIey said. "I have yet to talk to a parent or teacher in support of it."

He said about 55 educators have broached the subject with him while he has been campaigning.

While the adoption of Common Core is up to individual school districts, whether a district adopts the standards can be relevant concerning funding, such as Race to the Top grants.

"When districts get (state and federal) funding, there are usually strings attached," Manley said.

Also concerning education, Ohio's new Third-Grade Reading Guarantee is a "disaster," Manley said.

"It's punishment for the kids that can't keep up ... threatening them with failure (of the third grade) if they don't pass," Manley said.

Kunze said her understanding of the Third Grade Reading Guarantee, approved before she entered the legislature, is that it is not meant to be punitive towards children, but rather is a means to push underachieving districts to improve.

"Although I did not vote on this measure, I believe the intentions are good," she said. "We all want to ensure our children have the skills they need to be successful and reading is certainly the key to future learning. I think it remains to be seen how effective it will be."

The 24th Ohio House District includes most parts of Clintonville, Hilliard, Upper Arlington, Brown, Norwich and Prairie townships and southwestern Franklin County.

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