Forum hosts candidates on ballot

LIMA — For the first time this election season, candidates for federal, state and county positions came together to provide their pitches for why they are the right people for the jobs.

It was part of a Legislative Candidates Forum held Thursday night at the Veterans Memorial Civic & Convention Center.

Not every candidate, however, showed up for the event. Some chose instead to make their pitches via submitted videos. That included all of the state and federal incumbents, such as Rep. Jim Jordan, State Sen. Matt Huffman and Ohio Supreme Court Justices Judith French and Sharon Kennedy.

Kennedy’s challenger Jennifer Brunner also submitted a video.

As for those who came in person, only five were running for contested seats.

Of those five, two were the challengers to Jordan’s Ohio 4th Congressional District seat — Libertarian Steve Perkins and Democrat Shannon Freshour.

Perkins, of Pataskala, made the point that libertarians are often excluded from such events as legislative forums and public debates, and because of that, those with libertarian ideologies are kept out of the political process.

“I get asked a lot why I’m running, and one of the reasons why I’m running is there are other people in these districts and other people in this county that don’t have a voice,” Perkins said.

He summed up his libertarian ideology in simple terms. “Don’t hurt people, and don’t take their stuff.” The same phrase was emblazoned on his shirt.

“Democrats and Republicans can’t agree on much, but they can agree on keeping libertarians out,” he said.

In comparison, Freshour, of Marysville, took the stage to show herself as an alternative to Jordan, who she says isn’t focused on the problems experienced by those in the 4th district.

“The pandemic has exposed some of the biggest issues that we’re dealing with,” Freshour said. “(Jordan in his video) didn’t talk about the things that matter to the people in the district, and all he offered was a bunch of rants about conspiracy theories.”

The other three candidates running to replace former Allen County Commissioner Jay Begg each showed up in person. His seat is currently held by Republican Beth Seibert, who was appointed to the position when Begg stepped down.

In her five-minute pitch, Seibert highlighted her past public service as former head of the Allen Soil and Water Conservation District and the 36 years spent in leadership and budget administration positions. She also took some time to establish her conservative ideologies.

“I value as a conservative Republican streamlined government, fiscal responsibility, ensuring public safety and allowing business to prosper. I am a gun owner that believes in defending second amendment rights and as a Christian I believe every life in this world is a gift from God,” she said.

Independent Candidate Dan Beck played up his past experience as former county sheriff, and he also spoke on how he would re-define the role of an Allen County commissioner.

“The primary responsibility of government is to create an environment where private interests can survive and thrive,” Beck said twice for emphasis.

In that vein, he said wouldn’t tie himself to deal only with budget matters, instead opting to take a heavier leadership role in building foundations for industry growth and bridges between stakeholders throughout the county. He also said he would help county law enforcement and the courts better deal with crime and high recidivism rates.

“We can’t arrest our way out of the crime problem,” he said.

The third candidate, Democrat Norman Capps, talked about his experience as a Perry Township trustee, highlighting how that board has helped attract ongoing projects in the township and added 500 jobs to the county.

“We didn’t do it for Perry Township, we did it for Allen County,” Capps said.

Capps also pushed against how the county currently spends some of its dollars, specifically when it comes to road and bridge prioritization, and he made the case that his experience managing multi-million dollar projects uniquely qualifies him for the position.

“We need to do a little better job. I understand that everybody works within their budget, but we need to do a better job prioritizing our projects,” Capps said. “As your commissioner, I can deliver the biggest bang for your buck.”

The three commissioner candidates will have a chance to talk in more depth about their ideas during a Allen County Commissioner Candidates Forum to be held Oct. 13, 7 to 8:30 p.m., at St. Luke’s Lutheran Church, 209 W. North St. Also, they each will have a Guest Spot column Sunday in The Lima News.

Libertarian Steve Perkins of Pastakala, 4th Ohio Congressional District candidate, during the The Lima/Allen County County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Candidates Forum on Thursday evening. Candidates answered questions and stated their position during the Lima/Allen County County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Candidates Forum on Thursday evening.

Libertarian Steve Perkins of Pastakala, 4th Ohio Congressional District canidate, during the The Lima/Allen County County Chamber of Commerce Legislative Canidates Forum on Thursday evening. Amanda Wilson -The Lima News

Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.

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