Welcome to the 2022 Summit County Voter Guide developed in a partnership between the Akron Beacon Journal and the League of Women Voters chapters in Akron and Hudson. This effort is sponsored by the Knight Foundation.
Candidate answers have not been edited by our staff, nor were they edited to conform with normal Beacon Journal style.
If a candidate did not respond, you will just see their name.
A link to our complete interactive Summit County Voter Guide showing just races on your ballot can be found immediately below.
2022 Primary Voter Guide:See the candidate’s positions in their own words
Primary voters must pick either a Democratic, Republican or issues only ballot.
Both the Republican and Democratic primaries for Summit County Council feature contested races. Here’s who is on the ballot.
Summit County Council – Republicans
Elect three to appear on November ballot.
Education: The University of Akron
Why are you the best candidate for the office? I am the best choice for this office because I know what I want, to bring back business, create jobs, and get the government of the people’s back. As well as a strong initiative of lowering taxes and keeping your dollar in your pocket. As I am the youngest candidate, I see this not as an obstacle but as renewed vigor, to use all my energy to fight for you, to make sure that yours and my future is one where we all prosper, one of opportunities and growth for anyone.
What solutions do you propose to address challenges in the healthcare system including maternal and child health? A renewed commitment is necessary to protect and expand access to quality affordable health care, while simultaneously giving people the choice of what they want. We need to make sure anyone in need has access, as this is vital to help grow a strong unified community.
What do you see as the greatest need for Summit County infrastructure spending? The need to invest in all aspects of our infrastructure, including transportation, water, housing, internet, and community projects. While we work on rebuilding the county, this will create thousands of manufacturing and construction jobs in Summit County as a result of this goal.
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? My initiative to lower taxes will ease the current hardship on residents in this county to help find housing more accessible. With the extra money saved from lower taxes giving you the choice of what you want.
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? Candidate did not respond.
Shane R. Barker
Education: Woodridge High School, Kent State University, American Flyers Professional Pilot Program, Ohio Peace Officer Training Academy.
Training/Experience: Retired Sheriff’s Captain from the Summit County Sheriff’s Office. During my career I was a commander in the Patrol Bureau and the Corrections Division. During my time at the Sheriff’s Office, I learned and participated in many facets of county government. I was a member of state wide boards that represented Summit County to the entire state. I managed multi million dollar projects for upgrades to the Summit County Jail. I have also served as a member of the City of Macedonia Council for over nine years.
Current Occupation: Retired Sheriff’s Captain – Summit County Sheriff’s Office
Why are you the best candidate for the office? Having served as a member of the Summit County Sheriff’s Office and on the Macedonia City Council, I have learned the inner workings of local government. But more importantly, that local government can have a drastic and immediate impact on its citizenry. The decisions made by local government to fund or approve or not fund or approve a local project or program can and does impact a community for better or worse far faster than decisions made at the state or federal level. I think this is an important distinction. I live in the community and will be responsive to the citizens and their elected representation. I understand that Summit County is a large and diverse community. From Clinton to Reminderville to the larger communities in between of Akron, Cuyahoga Falls, and Barberton. Being an at large council person offers the best opportunity to help the most residents.
What solutions do you propose to address challenges in the healthcare system including maternal and child health? In the last two years, I have unfortunately come to understand the importance of the health care system. I just spent 36 days in the Cleveland Clinic Health Care System. This gave me a huge insight into the dedication of health care workers. Summit County is lucky to have so many great health care facilities. I would propose an ongoing committee be created by county council to address these issues. This committee would include members of the public, health care professionals, and community elected officials. Creating this committee would allow local representative’s a better understanding of what our health care providers need to address maternal and child health care.
What do you see as the greatest need for Summit County infrastructure spending? I believe a major issue is storm water and sewage disposal. I know the county is currently looking into these issues internally and with other government entities which need to be continued and expanded upon. We also need to ensure that funds continue to be made available for county owned and maintained roads which also includes county owned snow removal equipment.
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? I believe in direct communication. I would make it a point to attend local government meetings once a year (over 30 political subdivisions in Summit County) to hear their concerns on affordable housing among other issues they may have. I would also encourage those local leaders to address Summit County Council at the weekly meetings. Getting issues out in the open leads to better outcomes and solutions to any issue.
Margaret E. Briem
Education: Arizona State University/Psychology
Training/Experience: Army Veteran served in Military Intelligence Battalion, Adopted 9 special needs children through foster care system, Parenting book author, Homeschooler, Sunday School teacher, Worked in government, for profit and non-profit sectors.
Current Occupation: Retired, Margaret Briem, LLC – Small Business Coaching Company helping small businesses grow their profit. Target market was women small business owners.
Campaign Twitter Handle: @LivethLifeULove
Why are you the best candidate for the office? I am excellent at identifying the difference between goals and outcomes and the best way to navigate a situation to maximize return on investment. We have much waste in spending in all areas of government. I would like to eliminate waste and maximize the benefits the county has to offer its citizens. I believe that low quality education increases poverty, crime and addiction rates. I would like to support our county in improving education outcomes for all citizens in order to eliminate poverty, crime and addiction in our county. I also want to expand employment opportunities for all citizens of our county.
What solutions do you propose to address challenges in the healthcare system including maternal and child health? I think the best way to protect maternal and child health is for mothers and children to live in the most toxin free environment possible. This means that homes should be lead and asbestos free, as well as our water supply needs to be clean. Section 8 providers should be required to have the rentals be lead and asbestos free. Other toxins that could be an issue are cigarettes and drugs. There are currently support services in place for mothers dealing with addiction issues. Lists of resources should be available to all mothers, including those expecting. Resource list should be available at all government offices, health clinics and other health service providers. In addition, all medical practitioners must keep their licenses current. Those who let their licenses lapse are not up to date in their fields. The county should have stiff penalties for this issue.
What do you see as the greatest need for Summit County infrastructure spending? I support a focus on updating and maintaining physical infrastructure. Securing our electrical grid should be a priority. Current projects should be reviewed to ensure that citizens of the county are receiving the best return for their investment.
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? The best way to make housing affordable to all residents, including homeowners and renters is by reducing property taxes. Lower property taxes keep house payments and rents lower and more affordable for all.
Candidate did not respond.
Maria E. Williams
Candidate did not respond.
Summit County Council — Democrats
Elect three to appear on November ballot.
Education: B.A, Vanderbilt University; J.D., University of Michigan School of Law
Training/Experience: Business Litigator for 9 years
Current Occupation: Stay-at-home Parent
Why are you the best candidate for the office? With nine years of experience as an attorney practicing business litigation, I have the professional knowledge to help manage our county. I have experience bringing together parties with conflicting interests and helping them reach agreements that would be mutually beneficial. In today’s political climate, we need leaders who can get past politics and work together to achieve shared goals for our community. I have the experience to do that, as well as the expertise and training to craft effective, common-sense legislation. If elected, I will be the only lawyer on County Council. I will also be the only parent of young children on Council. Families deserve representation in our government from someone who understands firsthand what it is like to raise children today. I will bring a fresh perspective to County Council for a new generation of leadership.
What solutions do you propose to address challenges in the healthcare system including maternal and child health? Supporting families with young children is an issue dear to my heart, and it is critical for the future of our County. The first in Ohio to provide paid family leave to all parents, Summit County is a leader on this issue, but there is much we can do to continue to support healthy families. We must continue to invest the opiod settlement funds in particular into meaningful, evidence-based healthcare initiatives of all of our county offices. We need to address maternal and child health in particular by working with our communiy partners on an integrated approach, combining demand side interventions on the community level to improve women and their families’ knowledge and supply side interventions, including across-the-board access to skilled, trained staff, and high quality care with necessary supplies.
What do you see as the greatest need for Summit County infrastructure spending? The greatest need for infrastructure spending at this time is broadband internet access for our communities. The pandemic revealed how deep the digital divide is. It is time that we ensure that every student, every educational institution, and every small business in Summit County has equal access to high-speed, affordable internet. so that our students and our businesses can compete in our increasingly digital world..
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? As a member of the Executive Board of Community Legal Aid, I have seen how important access to affordable housing is to the people of our communities. County government has a critical role to play in continuing to invest in community partners that are doing the work on the ground to help our residents obtain affordable housing. The issue is not just providing affordable housing, however – it is keeping people in their homes once they have obtained them. Housing stability is critical to our families and communities. Summit County has been a leader in Ohio throughout the pandemic in using federal funds responsibly through our rent and utility assistance programs to keep our residents in their homes. We must continue this good work and continue to partner with agencies that provide continuity of care.
John A. Donofrio
Candidate did not respond.
Dakota James Rose
Candidate did not respond.
Education: Cuyahoga Falls High School Graduate; B.A., History, Saint Vincent College, Latrobe, PA; MPA, Cleveland State University, Cleveland, OH
Training/Experience: Sitting County Council President; Liaison, Summit County Executive Ilene Shapiro’s Council on Diversity and Inclusion; Advisory Council, United Way of Summit County’s Financial Empowerment Centers; Founder, Cuyahoga Valley Group; American Council of Young Political Leaders; Girl Scouts of Northeast Ohio “2020 Women of Distinction”; Partner, Truman National Security Project; Grassroots Leader for the Obama-Biden Campaign, Congresswoman Betty Sutton, and We Are Ohio.
Current Occupation: Summit County Councilmember, At-Large; First Woman Chair, Ohio Democratic Party
Why are you the best candidate for the office? I want Summit County to continue to be a great place to live, work, and play. County government provides an avenue to impact those spaces that families traverse every day. I am running for reelection to continue to fight for a strong local economy, support Summit County communities and families, and make smart investments for a brighter future for our residents. I work tirelessly to innovate with a collaborative spirit, while maintaining fiscal responsibility and keeping an open ear to the needs of our most vulnerable. Helping people is my passion and I am honored to be able to give back to the communities, neighborhoods, and people who make Summit County the best place to call home.
What solutions do you propose to address challenges in the healthcare system including maternal and child health? Through the limited powers county government holds over our healthcare system, I look for ways to support our families. I passed Paid Parental Leave, providing county employees financial security upon the birth, adoption, or tragic late-term loss of pregnancy. I supported a resolution opposed to 2018 changes in Title X federal fund allocation and will continue to fight for access to comprehensive family planning and related preventative health services, regardless of income or resources. I steered federal dollars towards all public schools to promote health and safety for our families throughout the pandemic. I allocated millions of dollars for opiate abatement. Through my work on the Racism as Public Health Crisis taskforce, we are leading the hard conversations to effect change and move towards a more antiracist and inclusive government that can improve the wellbeing of the entire Summit County community. I will continue to work for those who are most vulnerable in our community.
What do you see as the greatest need for Summit County infrastructure spending? On council, I supported a countywide investment expanding access to broadband internet, including the added hotspots and laptops for our senior community members. I worked to consolidate our dispatch system for more efficient emergency services while saving taxpayer money. WE must show critical support for community specific needs as we rerouted Akron Peninsula Road and repaired the Kungle Road Bridge. We restructured our sewer fees for more fair distribution of expenses. I will push hard on building out the Environmental Sustainability taskforce, making considerations for the expansion and repair of our infrastructure systems to ensure that the county is doing all that it can to mitigate climate change at the local level. We need to continue to invest in our people, by providing job training opportunities and continuing collaborative partnerships with organizations like the United Way, ACF, Chamber, Community Action, Legal Aid, Mustard Seed Housing, EANDC, and iPromise.
How will you ensure county government plays a role in helping residents obtain affordable housing in Summit County? Throughout the pandemic council supported over 7,000 families by allocating over $20 million keeping families in their homes and utilities turned on. I purported an appropriation to help start the first female veteran homeless shelter in collaboration with Veterans Stand Down. Summit County has declared intention to become an age-friendly community. We must continue to support our seniors by ensuring that there is affordable housing that fits their needs.
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