Candidates for Greene County state House seat vary in opinions

Democrat Bill Conner and Republican Rick Perales have distinct opinions on campaign finances, job creation and healthcare costs.

Both say their approach would best serve residents in the 73rd Ohio House District, which encompasses the western portion of Greene County.

Conner, a 69-year-old Beavercreek resident, said lobbyist and contribution reforms are two of the more important campaign issues he is focused on.

“People run expensive campaigns that are paid for by special interests, and they end up working for those special interests,” Conner said. “There’s no need to run the expensive campaigns that they do.”

“I know how to do things economically,” he said. “I don’t use campaign vendors.”

Perales, a Greene County commissioner, will spend about $30,000 on his campaign for the general election. Conner expects to spend about $8,000.

“That just sounds like campaign rhetoric,” Perales said. “Throughout my 11 years of serving the community, I’ve always done the right thing for the right reason and I will continue work hard for all my constituents in Columbus.”

Conner said the answer to the healthcare crisis is a single-payer enhanced Medicare for all system which would reduce costs while providing insurance for everyone. A similar system was passed in Vermont and could work in Ohio if it were enacted as a constitutional amendment, he added.

He is working with Single Payer Action Network Ohio to educate the public about the plan, get signatures for a petition before pushing to get the proposal on the ballot in 2014 as a constitutional amendment.

Perales said he believes more information is needed to develop a better healthcare system or improve on the current one. He disagrees with President Barack Obama’s plan for healthcare.

“I don’t think the federal government taking over for states is the way it should be done,” he said. “When you talk about solutions, something has to be done. Rushing to a solution isn’t always good. We must do our due diligence.”

For Perales, job growth is a top priority.

He said cutting taxes and state spending as well as minimizing regulatory barriers that block business growth is the key to attracting more businesses and jobs to the state.

“I think there are some good things going on in Columbus to make the state job friendly, but there’s more to do to make the state and the Miami Valley a destination for business opportunities,” he said.

Conner said there are some jobs that are still vacant because applicants do not have the required skills. One way to reduce unemployment numbers would be to make the cost of education affordable for more people, he said.

Conner said the rising cost of secondary education could be cut with home study courses and proctored tests where students could earn college credit at rate of $10 per semester hour.

Students would not earn an entire degree under the home study system, but they would save money by completing one-third of half of the coursework required.

“People could get degrees without being saddled with debt,” he said.

This is not Conner’s first run for an elected office. He unsuccessfully ran for a seat in the 7th congressional district in 2006 and 2008.

Conner, who has previously worked for defense contractors and now owns a software development company, earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering from Purdue University in 1967 and a master’s in astronautical engineering a year later.

He retired from the U.S. Air Force as a major in 1983 after 20 years of service.

Perales, 53, retired from the U.S. Air Force as a major after 15 years of service. He earned a bachelor’s degree in building construction from Auburn University in 1982 and a masters in international relations from Troy State University, in Alabama, in 1992.

Perales served as Beavercreek’s mayor from 2002 to 2003. In 2004, he served on council before he was elected Greene County commissioner. He has served as president of the county commission board since 2007.

In March, Perales defeated state Rep. Jarrod Martin and Capt. Eric Spicer of the Greene County Sheriff’s Office in the Republican primary with 60 percent of the vote.