Statehouse race: One of these 2 local Democrats will run against Sheriff Plummer

Two relatively unknown Democrats are on Tuesday’s ballot to see who will face a Republican with unquestionably the highest name recognition in Montgomery County.

Albert Griggs Jr. and Ryan Taylor are seeking the Ohio House of Representatives District 40 seat representing mostly northern Montgomery County suburbs, including Butler Twp., Clayton, Englewood, Huber Heights, Union and Vandalia. The winner’s opponent in November will assuredly be Montgomery County Sheriff Phil Plummer, who has no primary opponent.

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Improving education and supporting teachers would be Taylor's top priority as a state representative; Griggs said making government more transparent and accountable to citizens would be his focus, according to their answers provided for the Dayton Daily News Voter Guide.

“Government should work for the people in a way that develops trust between the two,” said Griggs, a Huber Heights resident.

Taylor, a resident of Butler Twp., is a lecturer and internship/community engagement at Wright State University and a certified rehabilitation counselor.

“High-quality education prepares the next generation to be engaged citizens and skilled workers who will improve the standing of Ohio nationally and globally,” she said.

RELATED: Election 2018 Voter Guide

Griggs is a retired civilian employee of the Air Force with experience managing programs in strategic planning, program management and weapons systems support. Earlier in his career, he served as a Los Angeles police officer.

Taylor is seeking public office for the first time. Griggs ran unsuccessfully for Huber Heights mayor a year ago and was on the ballot in the 2016 6th District State Senate race won by Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering.

The 40th District seat representing portions of Montgomery County will turn over in November because State Rep. Mike Henne, R-Clayton, is term limited.

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Griggs and Taylor both approve of a woman’s right to terminate a pregnancy and both are skeptical that marijuana has a place in Ohio communities, either for medical or recreational use.

“Until I have more information on the medical benefits of Marijuana the jury is still out,” Griggs said. “As for recreational use, I still see it as a drug not to be used.”

Taylor said there’s more to look at than just the potential for marijuana to raise revenue for the state.

“This needs to be balanced with an understanding of the impact of impairment on society,” she said. “We have the opportunity to continue to learn from other states who have legalized marijuana for both medical and recreational purposes.”

Continual cutting of income taxes on the best-off and raising sales taxes has taken a toll on communities, Griggs and Taylor agree.

“Ohio’s political leaders should not lower income taxes any further,” Griggs said. “They should stop playing the tax shell game that they are playing with the people. You know, the one where income taxes are lowered, but every other tax is raised.”

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Taylor said taxes are an investment in a community’s infrastructure, schools and citizens.

“We all benefit from each person paying their fair share. If we continue to reduce state taxes we are passing the burden to the local level,” she said. “It’s time for our leaders in Columbus to stop passing the buck for their own political benefit and start working with local government to support the needs of all citizens.

As the opioid crisis continues to take its toll on Ohio, Griggs stressed fighting the epidemic with a three-pronged approach: pursue drug manufacturers that knowing develop addicting drugs, appropriate more funds for rehabilitation and prosecute drug dealers to the extent of law.

Evidence-based drug prevention and self-regulation programs beginning at an early age should be the state’s priority – not prison, said Taylor, a past member of the Montgomery County Drug Free Coalition. Efforts would also include peer mentoring, medication assisted therapy, mental health counseling and employment services, she said.

MORE: Solutions from local opioid forums presented to state leaders

Asked about K-12 education, both candidates said the state should focus less on testing and place more emphasis on supporting teachers and students.

Schools should provide the environment where students can develop emotionally, gain critical thinking skills and become civically engaged regardless where a student lives, Taylor said.

“As a college lecturer it is evident that there are economic disparities in our schools that are determined by where the student attended K-12,” she said.

Some of that disparity is the result of resources being shifted from public schools to private and charter schools, Griggs said.

MORE: How did your school perform on the 2016-17 state report card?

Griggs said he would reduce the state’s support of privatized schools and subject them to more stringent rules and stricter oversight. He would also increase funding for public schools and improve support for teachers, counselors and school administrators.

Both Griggs and Taylor support the Second Amendment rights for responsible gun owners, but favor certain gun law reforms including limits on assault-style rifles.

“I am a gun owner. I support gun rights to a certain extent,” Griggs said. “However, I don’t support having bump stocks or assault weapons. I do support universal background checks.”

Taylor, who comes from a family of hunters and gun owners, said new regulations including the elimination of a gun show sales loophole, universal background checks that include domestic violence and mental health screening, would make communities safer.

“These changes would not limit the rights of responsible gun owners but could save the lives of many people,” Taylor said.

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