Incumbent Republican Bill Dean faces a challenge from Democrat and physician James Duffee for the Ohio House of Representatives 71st District seat in November’s election.
Formerly District 74, the newly drawn district includes Xenia, Yellow Springs and eastern Greene County, plus parts of southern Clark County and all of Clinton County.
Dean was appointed to finish Bob Hackett’s unexpired term in the House in 2016, and has held the office since.
Dean said he is running for re-election to shrink the government. He graduated from Xenia High School and has owned Dean’s Plumbing in Xenia for 30 years.
Dean said he votes against all taxes and “is pro-life and pro-gun.”
Asked about debate over Ohio’s abortion laws, Dean said he is against exceptions allowing abortions in the case of rape or incest. “Why would you punish the child for rape?” Dean said.
Dean also said an ectopic pregnancy “doesn’t count” as a pregnancy, and added, “There’s no great risk of dying from pregnancy.”
The U.S. maternal mortality rate is higher than most other developed nations.
Dean said that he would “like to vote no on legislation that is counter-productive and hurts the poor.”
But Dean also said he would eliminate the state income tax. Asked about the impact on programs funded by the state budget, Dean said the Statehouse is not making good use of its money and he would cut funding to welfare programs.
“It doesn’t need to be offset, it needs to be eliminated. The only way we can shrink government is to eliminate taxes,” Dean said. “The welfare system is full of people who are a drain on society. Have to use more social services because men who don’t work are depressed. We get our self-worth from work.”
Dean said if elected, his top three priorities would be to reduce or get rid of taxes, lessen the government’s power, and “allow citizens more freedom,” he said.
He said he would vote to eliminate the Commercial Activity Tax, which is an annual tax imposed on businesses for the privilege of doing business in Ohio, measured by taxable gross receipts from most business activities.
“Before we had the CAT tax, we got along fine.”
Duffee is a retired pediatrician and said he is running for office to continue to improve lives at the policy level, just as he spent his 25-year career to “improve the lives of children, families, and communities in the Miami Valley.”
A resident of Yellow Springs, Duffee is chair emeritus of the Council on Community Pediatrics, and past chair of the Medical Advisory Council for the Bureau for Children with Medical Handicaps.
Ohio voters are electing their state legislators this November in Republican-drawn districts that were ruled unconstitutional by the Ohio Supreme Court. A months-long redistricting fight between Ohio GOP leaders, Democrats and the Ohio Supreme Court resulted in a federal court finally intervening and picking one of the redistricting plans to use just for the 2022 election.
Duffee said an overarching priority of his, if elected, is to end gerrymandering and draw fair maps, “so that elections in Ohio are free and secure.”
“The Ohio redistricting process failed because of obstruction by the Republican members of the Redistricting Commission,” Duffee said. “The Republicans violated the trust of the people, defied the Supreme Court of Ohio, and flagrantly disregarded the nearly 75% of Ohioans who voted for Issue 1 in 2018.”
Reproductive freedom and common sense gun safety regulations are also high priorities, Duffee said, adding that firearms should be regulated like any other consumer product, and licensure requirements should include background checks and standardized education. Extreme risk protection orders, or red flag laws, should be available to protect people and communities from mass murder.
“Mass murders, such as the tragedy in the Oregon District, need to stop. The epidemic of injury and death should be treated as a public health emergency,” he said.
Comprehensive reproductive health, including the rights to bodily autonomy and privacy, is basic to women’s rights, Duffee said, adding that the decision to prevent or end a pregnancy is a private healthcare decision that should be left to an individual, their family, their doctor, and religious advisors.
“To support healthy and economically strong families, women should be able to decide when, with whom, and under what circumstances to start a family,” he said.
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