Two seek open Ohio Statehouse seat linking Dayton, Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood

Voters in the 41st District of the Ohio House of Representatives this fall will be electing a new legislator. FILE

Credit: CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Credit: CHRIS STEWART / STAFF

Voters in the Ohio House of Representatives 41st District this fall will elect a new legislator.

Cate Berger and Andrea White seek to succeed Republican Jim Butler, who is term limited after serving eight years in the district that includes Centerville, Kettering, Oakwood, and parts of Dayton and Riverside.

Cate Berger

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Butler has served as speaker pro tempore in the Republican-controlled House. He carried the district with at least 54% of the vote in each election since 2012, according to Montgomery County Board of Elections records.

Both Berger and White ran unopposed in the March primary election. The winner will get a two-year term with a salary of $67,493 in 2021, according to Ohio law.

Andrea White

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Credit: CONTRIBUTED

Berger, 38, of Oakwood, is a Democrat and a first-time candidate. She formerly worked with local non-profit groups for more than a decade in the areas workforce development, education, health care and entrepreneurial.

Berger was raised in a military family and touts that as benefit for the district’s families linked to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base.

Her campaign has been critical of the Ohio General Assembly’s investment of charter schools. Berger also advocates for extending waiting periods for assault-style weapons and having the ability to hold gun manufacturers legally liable.

She’s also committed to protecting the expansion of Medicaid.

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White, 59, of Kettering, is a Republican in her third six-year term as Kettering Municipal Court clerk, having first been elected in 2003.

White is a proponent of increasing options and free-market solutions that drive down health care prices and more partnerships with high schools, higher education, skilled trades and businesses for job growth.

Her husband, John, is a former state representative and she has financial backing from Butler and state Sen. Peggy Lehner, R-Kettering.

Berger has raised more than $10,000, according to state campaign finance reports. One donor — Kevin Rowe of Sante Fe, Ohio — gave $1,000. Two giving $500 were Mary Berger and Sam Dorf, both of Oakwood, according to filings.

All contributions were from individual donors with the other funding in lesser amounts, records show.

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White has raised more than $21,000, Ohio records show. Most of those funds were contributed by local individual donors in January and February, filings state.

Among the largest contributions were $2,000 each from the Ohio State Association of Plumbers & Pipefitters and the ACT Ohio Foundation, a construction group. The Citizens for Lehner gave $1,500 and Butler for Ohio $1,000, records state.

The overwhelming majority of contributions for both candidates were from in-state donors.

Berger and White responded to the following questions by the Dayton Daily News:

QUESTION: SB221, 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 and why?

BERGER: Like 90% of Ohioans in a Quinnipiac University poll, I support common sense gun reform. I believe that respecting the Second Amendment and enacting common-sense gun violence prevention policies are not mutually exclusive. SB221 is a step in the right direction while our Republican-held legislature pushes bills to loosen gun laws.

WHITE: We need to address the root causes of why people are turning to violence against themselves and others. We need tighter measures to keep guns away from those whose violent history or adjudicated mental instability legally prohibit them from firearms, while protecting the constitutional rights of law-abiding gun owners.

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QUESTION: Do you support or oppose the state authority to issue public health orders to shut down businesses, schools and other activities during pandemic and why?

BERGER: When supported by scientific data and medical professionals, the state should be able to create mandates intended to reduce broad harm to all Ohioans in limited scope and for limited time. Renewals, extensions or removals should similarly rely on data and metrics that ensure transparency and understanding for all Ohioans.

WHITE: In times of crisis, state governors with public health experts and swifter access to critical, evolving information should have short-term authority to issue public health orders to save lives and protect public health. I will push for creation of a common-sense structure that provides shared state/local oversight for longer-term orders.

QUESTION: 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?

BERGER: I support our police. I also believe in accountability and adequate training that ensures they best serve all Ohioans. I support legislation aimed at funding systems that activate community resources that move critical issues like mental health, racial justice and homelessness to the experts and out of law enforcement’s purview.

WHITE: We need increased transparency, outside agency involvement in investigating and prosecuting officer shootings and use of force cases involving a death, consistent statewide training standards/content and accountability. I will co-sponsor legislation that involves local empowerment and control, and includes all voices: Citizens, law enforcement, community, business and faith leaders.

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QUESTION: The FBI and DOJ are 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. Do you support or oppose repeal of HB6 and why?

BERGER: I am on record to repeal HB6. It was passed because of intentional corruption by our GOP House leadership. This bill saddles Ohio taxpayers with a $150 million bailout from which House GOP leadership and current candidates have directly benefitted financially. I call on my opponent to do the same.

WHITE: HB6 is tainted by well-documented allegations of corrupt/unethical actions and must be repealed. Public trust needs restored in the integrity and transparency of how laws are passed by elected leaders. Our state’s current and future energy needs demand a transparent energy policy and diverse portfolio ensured by properly vetted legislation.

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QUESTION: 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?

BERGER: We first need to review current funding needs before addressing where cost savings can be made to non-critical services and programs. Only to avoid drastic cuts to state programs and services many Ohioans depend on would I vote to increase taxes when too many Ohioans are facing financial uncertainty themselves.

WHITE: With Ohio workers and businesses facing loss of income, jobs and even housing in this crisis, I do not support increasing an already high tax burden. Legislators and state government must first exhaust all options for reducing /delaying expenses, prioritizing essential services and using the state’s rainy-day fund.

Election 2020

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CANDIDATE PROFILES

•Name: Cate Berger

•Age: 38

•Home: Oakwood

•Family: Husband Nick, and 3 children.

•Education: Bachelor’s degree, history, University of Tennessee.

•Current Employment: Full-time candidate. Until fall 2019 worked for the local nonprofit community for more than 12 years in economic and workforce development, education, health care, and entrepreneurial development.

•Political experience: First-time candidate.

•Political party: Democrat.

•Website: www.bergerforohio.com

•Name: Andrea White

•Age: 59

•Home: Kettering.

•Family: Married to John, 3 daughters, 2 sons-in-law, 4 grandchildren.

•Education: Graduate, Wright State University.

•Current employment: Kettering Municipal Court clerk of court.

•Political experience: Elected Kettering Municipal Court clerk of court in 2003; re-elected to six-year years in 2009 and 2015.

•Political party: Republican.

•Website: www.andreawhiteforohio.com

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