Election 2024: Former state rep and local trustee vie for GOP nomination in Senate District 10

Republican primary contest covers Clark, Greene and Clinton counties

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

Two Republicans are competing in the March 19 primary for their party’s nomination to run for Senate District 10, which covers all of Clark, Greene, and Clinton counties.

The candidates are former state Rep. Kyle Koehler of Springfield and Sugarcreek Twp. Trustee Carolyn Destefani.

The winner of this March’s primary will square off against Democrat Daniel McGregor this November in a battle to replace incumbent Sen. Bob Hackett, R-London, who is term limited and ineligible to run for reelection after eight consecutive years of service. The district favors Republicans by about 26.4%, according to state records.

State senators serve a four-year term and are paid $63,007 a year, plus extra for certain leadership roles.

Kyle Koehler

Credit: Jessica Orozco

Credit: Jessica Orozco

For Koehler, his primary campaign has been built upon his experience in the Statehouse and his hopes to reduce tax burdens and limit government spending.

Koehler, a software engineer and the vice president of design and development for a family-owned manufacturing firm, represented Springfield and its surrounding communities in the 79th House District from 2015 to 2022 and has taken a hiatus from state politics since.

“In this Republican primary, I offer voters the experience needed to pass and fight for conservative values focused on defending life, supporting the 2nd Amendment, and lowering taxes while reducing the size of government,” Koehler told this news outlet. “This is the experience I want to take to the State Senate to serve the citizens of Clark, Greene, and Clinton Counties.”

The former representative said each time the state cut the income tax during his time in the Statehouse, overall tax revenues actually increased. However, he became frustrated by what the state tended to do with that extra income. “We grew the size of government by spending every dime we collected on new programs in Ohio,” Koehler said. “We need to stop spending and start working to reduce the Ohio income tax to zero.”

Similarly, he relayed the need to reduce the state’s gas tax and promised to work to find a “new way” to fund education, road, fire and EMS in order to eventually get rid of property taxes altogether. He called property taxes, which are the primary source of income for local governments, a tax that “rob(s) Ohioans of owning their own property.” He noted that levies are largely instated through the votes of residents who don’t actually own property themselves.

Koehler told this news outlet that he doesn’t believe throwing more money at K-12 schools is the best way to improve Ohio’s education record. Instead, he said that parents need to take a more active role in their child’s education.

“Students with families, friends, and mentors who are actively involved in their lives make all the difference,” Koehler said. “We need to change the attitude of some parents who believe it is the state’s job to educate and train their children. It must be a team effort.”

He’d also like to reinstate work or training requirements for Ohioans on public assistance who are “working age, able-bodied and have no dependents” as a way to build out the workforce and promised to use the power vested in him, if elected, to resist further abortion protections and gun control laws and deal with the fallout of a porous southern border.

On abortion, and particularly the legislature’s role in the issue now that Ohio has abortion access protected in its constitution, Koehler promised to work to “move Ohio from this new extreme and back towards a place where abortions are as rare as possible,” either through another amendment, changing the Ohio Revised Code, or by personal support to local pregnancy resource clinics and adoption agencies.

Carolyn Destefani



“I come from local government, where I am used to providing essential services to everyday citizens,” said Destefani, a long-time Sugarcreek Twp. trustee in Greene County looking for her first foray in state government. “While I greatly respect our state leaders, I bring a perspective that isn’t based on the inner workings of state government but on the inner workings of local government that impact people’s lives.”

Destefani, an Air Force veteran and now a military contractor, called the “ever-increasing tax burden” one of the biggest issues Ohioans deal with today, and one of the primary issues she’d like to solve.

Like Koehler, Destefani is interested in completely eliminating the state income tax, which she said could be a game-changer for attracting new businesses, retaining citizens and encouraging Ohioans to participate in the economy, but noted that the state would need to lower its spending and raise sales and natural gas tax in order to make up for the significant loss in revenue.

Destefani flagged local municipalities’ reliance on property tax levies as something that needs fixed. “Coming from a township, most of our operating revenue comes from property taxes, and I am seeing more and more of our most vulnerable citizens being taxed out of their homes,” said Destefani. “I will work with experts to find solutions to our property tax problem, which could include expanded tax credits and limitations on increases that can be passed along to property owners.”

Aside from tax reform, the township trustee told this news organization that her top priorities, if elected, would be to address affordable housing and a dearth of quality, affordable childcare as a way to spur economic development; advance STEM and vocational programs to address a lagging education system; and work on employment, housing and driver’s ed solutions to address the district’s growing immigrant community.

Destefani also noted several infrastructure projects she would vouch for that would greatly impact individuals and local governments, such as expanding high-speed internet to the entire population, placing a greater importance on proactive solutions to highway congestion issues, and investing in improvements to local roads and bridges.

On the topic of abortion, Destefani declared herself pro-life and suggested she’d support efforts to curtail the state’s Issue 1 vote last November; efforts like House Bill 371, which would remove the Ohio Supreme Court’s jurisdiction over the constitution’s newly-enshrined abortion protections. Destefani said she “support(s) the legislature exploring multiple paths to continue to protect innocent lives while also ensuring that important safeguards such as health inspections of abortion clinics are still enforced.”

Destefani was the subject of a Greene County investigation in 2016 when she was both a Sugarcreek Twp. trustee and a Greene County employee. The internal probe found that Destefani had improperly used Greene County computers to create and edit literature for her trustee campaign. After being placed on administrative leave, Destefani resigned. No criminal charges were filed.

When asked about the issue, Destefani said she commissioned a sign from a company during her time with Greene County and decided to commission a sign with that same company for her trustee campaign about a year later. The foul occurred because she used her Greene County email address for the communication about the trustee sign, she recalled.

“I continue to have a tremendous working relationship with Greene County commissioners,” Destefani said, noting that she has received campaign endorsements from prominent Greene County leaders and has been vetted and approved for a security clearance at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Follow DDN statehouse reporter Avery Kreemer on X or reach out to him at Avery.Kreemer@coxinc.com or at 614-981-1422.

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