Republican state Rep. Niraj Antani is facing a challenge from Democrat Zach Dickerson in the race for the 42nd District seat in the Ohio House of Representatives.
The district includes Moraine, West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Germantown and part of Centerville, and Washington, Miami and German townships.
Antani has been in office since 2014.
The two biggest issues Antani wants to work on if re-elected are the heroin epidemic and cutting taxes. To solve the heroin epidemic Antani has set up a three-stage plan of getting drugs off the streets, putting dealers and traffickers in jail, and getting treatment for those addicted.
He also believes in cutting taxes across the board to eventually eliminate income tax as a whole.
Graduating from the University of Denver with his J.D., this is Dickerson’s first run for public office. He has worked at LexisNexis for the past 10 years and lives in Miamisburg.
His two main issues are solving political corruption and education reform. He grew up in a Republican household but identifies as a Democrat, hoping to create a more moderate appeal and a more bipartisan environment in the statehouse.
On the topic of Medicaid, Antani states “Our focus should be helping those on Medicaid expansion get up and off of Medicaid, and into well-compensated jobs that provide private insurance.” He is also working on a bill to create a program for those on Medicaid to receive the proper training and tools to get jobs.
Dickerson believes that Ohio’s expansion of Medicaid could continue because of its fight against the heroin epidemic.
“I met a young mother who was once homeless and living on the street. She was addicted to drugs and when she finally decided to seek treatment, Medicaid is how she did it.” He believes that healthcare is a necessity, not a luxury.
One issue that both candidates do agree on is public education. Both candidates agree that Ohio schools should move away from standardized testing and work to create less mandates on schools and teachers. The two candidates also believe in making higher education more affordable, working towards tuition caps at public institutions.
Antani and Dickerson both support the Second Amendment for responsible gun owners. Dickerson believes that more background checks should be implemented and make it a fully electronic system so they can go through the process more swiftly.
Marijuana is an important issue where the candidates differ.
Antani does not support the recreational use of marijuana, stating “too many out of state people are trying to legalize marijuana through the use of the initiative amendment and statute process.” Dickerson does not have a clear stance on the issue, but does believe in putting recreational use on the ballot and letting the voters decide.
Here’s a look at some of Antani and Dickerson’s answers on other issues from our online voters guide:
What would you do to bring jobs to Ohio? Do you support JobsOhio? What changes would you make to it?
Antani: The private sector creates jobs, not the government. However, we can create a business friendly environment. In order to achieve this, we have to continue to cut Ohio’s income tax, and other taxes, such as the commercial activities tax. As well, we must have a skilled workforce. Without this, there will be no one for a company moving in to hire. It’s absolutely critical to help those unemployed get the skills they need for one of the many in demand jobs. In addition, Ohio should cut regulations that hamper job growth.
Regulations in Ohio have grown too much, and a holistic review should be done, followed by cutting the regulations that are deemed to be slowing economic growth. We should also capitalize on our strengths. Dayton has a strong logistics and manufacturing presence, and we can do everything in our power to help us sustain and grow those industries in our region.
Dickerson: Support for small businesses and entrepreneurship is the best way to create jobs. I don’t want to rely on Amazon or other big corporations to bring jobs here. We can create them on our own. JobsOhio is doing reasonably well in their mission to boost our economy.
But the law creating the group exempted it from public-records laws and government oversight. That’s a problem. If our tax dollars are being spent there, I want to make sure that money is spent right.
Given recent school shootings, what do you think Ohio can do to make schools safer?
Antani: We must address the culture of violence that exists in our society. As a conservative, I do not believe government can solve every problem, but rather government should get out of the way to allow society to fix the problems we have. Our churches are leading the way on many issues, and reversing the culture of violence is one of them. More practically, our school buildings should be made safe by single point entry and controlled access. As well, we should provide the resources for more school resource police officers to look after the safety of the students.
Dickerson: Earlier this year my opponent said we could achieve school safety by letting students bring a gun to school for self protection. That is dangerous and irresponsible policy.
I support trained and professional School Resource Officers having a gun, but not kids. Hiring those officers requires funding and the state should make sure schools have the resources to do it. Moreover, we need upgrades to building safety like classroom door lockdown systems.
These simple tools can be purchased for under $100 and allow teachers to easily barricade a door.
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