The Republican and Democratic candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives 2nd District last week indicated wide differences on education and business issues.

The Republican and Democratic candidates for the Ohio House of Representatives 2nd District last week indicated wide differences on education and business issues.

Seeking the House seat on Nov. 4 are 31-year-old Republican Kris Jordan and 63-year-old Democrat Jan Lanier.

The candidates last week indicated they offered diverse plans for improving primary and secondary education in Ohio, as well as the state's business climate.

Jordan, a Powell resident who's spent the past six years as a Delaware County commissioner, holds a bachelor of arts degree from Ohio State University. He said he's running for the state legislature "to attract new high-tech and knowledge-based jobs."

"You do this by lowering taxes, cutting regulations and training our work force to compete in our regional and also our global job market(s)," he said.

Lanier, a 37-year resident of Westerville, has a political science degree from Ohio State and a nursing degree from St. John's Hospital School of Nursing in Springfield, Mo. A registered nurse, she also is deputy director of the Ohio Nurses Association and has practiced health-care law for 40 years.

"I believe my educational preparation and experience, both in the workplace and on a personal level, have given me the skills needed to be an effective representative for the people of Delaware County," she said. "We need new faces and different skills and experiences at the table when important policy decisions are made by our elected officials."

When asked what Ohio House members should do to ensure adequate funding of Ohio's public schools in keeping with the Ohio Constitution, Lanier said the focus should be on molding lifelong learners as opposed to skilled test-takers.

"Over the past decade, significantly more dollars have been allocated to K-12 education," she said. "However, to date the General Assembly has done nothing to create an equitable method for funding schools as the (Ohio Supreme) Court has directed.

"Ohio is the only state with the 'phantom revenue' problem created with the passage of House Bill 920 in 1976. This legislation essentially forces school districts that receive little state aid to go back to voters every two to five years just to offset inflation and maintain current programming."

Lanier said Ohio should learn from other states which have addressed funding with creative approaches, such as freezing property taxes for those over the age of 65, or allowing districts to set their own per-pupil spending levels to determine their budgets through a vote of the people.

Jordan said Delaware County schools would be best represented by implementing a component to address fast-growing districts "so our voters aren't going back to the ballot every year on school levies.

"I also support rewarding success and improvement in school districts," he said. "We also need to give parents more control of how and where to educate their children.

"They are the ones that know the best what their child needs to get the optimal results."

On fostering a business-friendly environment which retains jobs and attracts new companies to Ohio, Jordan said economic growth can be achieved through tax reductions.

"I strongly believe that our state needs to give a spark to our economy," he said. "My first proposal would be to eliminate the state income tax.

"Eliminating this tax would put money back into every worker's pocket. It will improve the bottom line of almost every small business in the state. It will promote savings and investment and will help trigger the most effective 'job-creation' program in history -- a thriving private sector economy."

Jordan said studies indicate most, if not all state revenues "lost" through the tax repeal could be replaced by the economic growth it creates.

"I would also support spending cuts and force the elimination of wasteful spending in our state's government," he said.

Lanier, meanwhile, said she'd focus on assisting those Ohioans who've lost jobs by offering training opportunities for "today's evolving economy and preserving and creating jobs that capitalize on the strengths of Ohio's work force.

"My opponent believes that the solution to Ohio's economic woes is simple -- that by cutting taxes alone new jobs will appear," she said. "However, that approach fails to take into consideration the overall economic climate and ignores the complexity of the global market place.

"I am not advocating tax increases; but my opponent's proposal to eliminate 43 percent of the state's revenues would handcuff Ohio's efforts to pursue effective economic development strategies."

To drive economic development in Delaware County and throughout Ohio, Lanier said, Ohio must build the conduits or other infrastructure essential to moving proposed projects forward. She said Ohio must also invest in its strengths, such as its location as a hub for moving goods, higher education and research capabilities, the health-care industry and natural resources such as water, wind and fertile land.

"Ohio needs a unified economic development budget that is based on a clear vision of economic development goals, a transparent understanding of spending to meet those goals, and a method of monitoring progress," she said.