“I feel a lot of the time legislators try to press things on communities and I want to listen to what the community’s needs are and address them. I don’t want to walk in and say I’m going to fix all your problems, but I don’t know what they are. I’m the kid of person that says, tell me what your problems are and let’s see if we can get them fixed," he said.
Q: The governor’s Strong Ohio gun reform package isn’t likely to pass this legislative session and will likely be re-introduced next session. Where do you stand on the basic elements of the package?
Cox: As a responsible gun owner, I want to protect the rights of gun owners while also ensuring that guns are kept out of the hands of violent criminals. Senate Bill 211 has received support from the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Buckeye State Sheriffs Association, the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police, the Ohio Mayor’s Alliance, and multiple churches and police departments. In the words of Sheriff Mike Simpson, “SB 221 provides much needed enhancements and tools to both law enforcement and the courts to address gaps in our current system.” This bill protects our law enforcement officers as well as our communities by allowing the courts to place people who may be a harm to themselves or others into a treatment program, while protecting their rights to due process. Additionally, it requires that all law enforcement agencies enter serious and violent crimes, such as domestic abuse, into a background check database so that domestic violence victims are protected.
Creech: I am a firm believer in the Second Amendment of the US Constitution. I feel that people should have access to firearms if they need one to protect themselves. I would not support legislation that goes against the Second Amendment.
Q: Should Ohio require background checks for ALL gun purchases, including private party sales?
Cox: Yes, and polling indicates that 90% of all Ohioans and 87% of gun owners support universal background checks. Simply put, responsible gun owners, like myself, are tired of being made to blame for the actions of violent criminals. Preventing guns from getting into the hands of dangerous people not only makes us all safer, it ensures that responsible gun owners receive the protections and respect they deserve.
Q: Should Ohio pass a red flag law that allows families and police to seek a court order to remove firearms from those deemed to be a danger to themselves or others?
Cox: Let me be clear - I have no desire to take guns away from any responsible gun owner. Period. I would have to read the proposed law before commenting on it to ensure that it contains due process with respect to the second amendment while simultaneously preventing murder or suicide.
Creech: I oppose red flag laws because they infringe on due process rights.
Q: Do you support or oppose the state authority to issue public health orders to shut down businesses, schools and other activities during a pandemic?
Cox: Yes, provided that such orders are legally issued. Lawmakers are ultimately responsible for protecting the people they represent, and should be able to override those orders if necessary.
Creech: I do not have an issue with the state issuing a public health order but I believe the legislature should be involved and have oversight if needed. I also believe the local health department should have more control as all 88 counties should not be treated the same.
Q: Do you support or oppose removing the ‘catch all’ language in Ohio’s child immunization laws that allow parents to opt not to have their kids vaccinated for reasons of conscience?
Cox: I do not believe that vaccines should be legally mandatory - parents should have the option to opt out after a discussion with their child’s doctor. The decision should be a discussion between yourself and your/your child’s doctor who can assess the situation, your or your child’s allergies, and your or your child’s risks. What we need is a public information campaign to explain the benefits of being vaccinated against diseases. The battle against misinformation must come first. Such campaigns are why we have eradicated smallpox, and almost have eradicated polio. I will always get the vaccines that are available to me so that I can protect myself and my family from getting diseases, as well as others around me from getting such diseases.
Creech: I believe that the decision for child immunizations should be left up to the parents.
Q: Ohio and other states saw sustained demonstrations this summer against racial injustice and police brutality. Protesters called for a slate of reforms. What do you think are the most important changes we should make?
Cox: I think the most important reform we can make is to increase the amount of training to become a law officer, along with requiring continuing education on community building. We need to require abuse of incident reports throughout the state, as well as more investment de-escalation and implicit bias training. Additionally, we need to support our officers by hiring support staff to handle non-violent issues so that officers are free to handle more urgent matters.
Creech: Like any profession I believe that there are “bad apples” and that they need sorted out and held accountable for their actions. I would be very careful to changing laws due to the “bad apples”.
Q: The FBI and DOJ is charging former Ohio House speaker Larry Householder and four other men in a racketeering scheme that allegedly involved $60 million in bribes to elect Householder and pro-Householder lawmakers, make him speaker, pass House Bill 6 and defend the bailout bill from a referendum. Have you received campaign donations or any support from Friends of Larry Householder, Larry Householder, Jeff Longstreth, Neil Clark, Juan Cepedes, Matt Borges, Generation Now, FirstEnergy PAC, any other FirstEnergy sources? If so, have you or will you donate that money to charities?
Cox: I have not received any money from those individuals or groups.
Creech: I ran AGAINST a member of Team Householder in the primary and received no support from him afterwards.
Q: Do you support or oppose repeal of HB6?
Cox: I support repealing HB6. We need to restore trust in the communities that we serve. The largest racketeering scandal in Ohio history is not trust-building.
Creech: I support the repeal of HB6.
Q: Given the pandemic and economic crisis, state tax revenues are tumbling and the upcoming budget is expected to be very challenging. Would you vote to increase income, sales and/or business taxes to avoid drastic cuts to state programs? Why or why not?
Cox: I would only support increasing income taxes on those living luxurious lifestyles because working Americans are already far too squeezed. I would not increase sales tax because sales taxes put an undue burden on working families. I would only support increasing business taxes on large conglomerates and Fortune 500 companies, because mom and pop shops are far too stressed and struggling right now.
Creech: No, tax increases reduce economic activity.
Q: A recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling in June makes employment discrimination against LGBTQ workers illegal but it doesn’t cover housing or places of public accommodation. For more than a decade, some Ohio lawmakers have tried to pass a bill that would make discrimination in housing, employment and places of public accommodation illegal on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. The Ohio Chamber of Commerce now backs this bill. Do you support or oppose the bill?
Cox: I assume you are asking about the Ohio Fairness Act, SB11 and HB369. I support the bill, because all human beings deserve housing and safe access to public spaces, as well as employment. Discrimination against people on the basis of orientation is simply unjust.
Creech: I oppose discrimination in all forms and would support a bill to eliminate it.
Name: Amy Cox
Political Party: Democrat
Political Experience: First time running for office
Education: Bachelors from Wright State University, Masters from Indiana University
Current Employment: Fulltime candidate
Name: Rodney Creech
Hometown: West Alexandria
Political Party: Republican
Political Experience: Twin Township Trustee, 6th year as Preble County Commissioner
Education: Bachelors from Morehead University
Current Employment: Business owner
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