School safety, inflation among top issues in Greene County Statehouse race

Political newcomer Eric Price will challenge incumbent state representative Brian Lampton for Greene County’s District 70 Statehouse seat this November. Both candidates identified Ohio’s workforce and protecting schools from mass shooters as top priorities, but the two diverge on topics of how to increase workforce participation in Ohio, and on abortion rights.

Both are vying for the District 70 seat in the Ohio House of Representatives (formerly District 73), covering much of western Greene County, including Fairborn, Beavercreek, Bath Twp, Bellbrook, Sugarcreek Twp, and Spring Valley.

Lampton won the district seat in 2020, beating Democratic challenger Kim McCarthy by a 15% margin. He replaced Rick Perales, who was term-limited as a state rep, and is now a Greene County Commissioner.

Brian Lampton

Lampton, a Beavercreek resident, currently works as the president of his namesake insurance agency, and said he is running to continue his service to the community.

One of the priorities Lampton would pursue if re-elected to his office is support of a bill increasing penalties for distracted driving, and support of Jacob’s Law, which he introduced in the House last year.

House Bill 161, also known as Jacob’s Law, would create a registry of information on individuals who have been convicted of crimes against children. The legislation is named after a 2-year-old Dayton boy who was killed by his mother’s then-boyfriend, Justin Payne, in August 2015.

There are several ways to bolster security in schools, Lampton said, from making funds available to bolster schools’ physical safety, such as single entry points, to developing district active shooter plans, up to putting school resource officers in every building.

“That’s a pie-in-the-sky thing, but to me, that would be a goal,” he said.

Ohioans are frustrated with inflation and rising costs, but one of the things hampering Ohio’s economy is availability, Lampton said.

“So many businesses are having trouble getting whatever it is they need, whether it’s a trucking problem or just flat out, they can’t get it,” Lampton said.

Ohio currently has a record-low unemployment rate, but a lack of necessary workers. Lampton said another focus is shifting resources to career tech schools and places providing education and skills training for in-demand jobs.

Lampton is anti-abortion, but he declined to commit to action one way or another on fine details of Ohio’s law. He said he is leaning toward exceptions for rape, incest, and the health of the mother.

“As we look at these different pieces of legislation — and I’m sure we’re going to debate it in caucus — the way I look at it is, what if it was your daughter? what if it was my daughter? That puts it in a totally different light,” he said. “And so I will be looking at that in that scope.”

Lampton said he is proud to serve the people of western Greene County.

“I have been a part of several good pieces of legislation that helped our military families by streamlining their school registration process. We protected living organ tissue donors from discrimination from life and health insurance companies. I cut the red tape and provided our county auditors the ability to save taxpayers money when their properties are destroyed, among several other bills that have been signed into law,” he said.

Eric Price

Candidate Eric Price, of Sugarcreek Twp, served in the U.S. Air Force for 25 years, working in law enforcement, sensitive weapons security, antiterrorism, active shooter defense planning, and other fields. Price said he is running as a counterpoint to the extremism that is “destroying our democratic republic,” he said.

If elected, Price said his focus will be on active shooter safety for schools, ending laws that force religious practices on Ohioans, and ending corruption in the statehouse.

Price said the top priority for protecting schools from active shooters is making schools hard targets, and better training law enforcement to respond to active shooter threats.

“I have a lot of experience training cops, and I think we can do a better job,” Price said. “Once you train someone over and over to run towards the fire as opposed to away from the fire, there is a mental consequence that goes along with it.”

Ohio has a robust education system and low unemployment, Price said, but is currently driving away its young people who don’t see opportunities here in the Midwest.

“We’re doing a great job of filling those coastal jobs, but not a great job filling the jobs right here in Ohio,” he said. “I want to keep young people in Ohio, and it’s going to take more than jobs to do that. It’s going to take the idea that the opportunities exist here to do more than just fast food or unskilled work.”

Price also said his focus would be on getting more people educated in trades like HVAC and electricians, which are being hit by labor shortages.

Price said Ohio’s “draconian” abortion laws currently force raped children and female cancer patients to seek treatment in other states. He said laws that superimpose religious beliefs upon other people are leading Ohio and the United States towards theocracy.

“You absolutely have to (have) exceptions for rape, incest,” Price said. “Since the determination of when life begins is currently a religious belief, any laws denying life-saving medical care to women based on their pregnancy status are unconstitutional.”

Price also said that the GOP-led Ohio legislature has allowed corruption to run rampant, referencing the $60 million FirstEnergy bribery scandal that rocked the Ohio statehouse in 2020. Price added that single-party rule also means Ohioans don’t feel equally represented by their lawmakers.

“Where there’s smoke, there’s fire,” he said. “When you have single-party rule, which is basically what we have, I think the opportunities for corruption are much, much greater because there’s no consequence when lawmakers are doing it.”

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