State Rep. Dan Ramos (D-Lorain) has fought the Republican majority in the state House of Representatives on many issues since taking office in 2011, but Republican challenger Jessie Tower would be their ally.
Ramos represents the 56th Ohio House District, which includes Amherst and Oberlin. He has fought against the freeze on clean energy standards and supported preserving public worker pensions and their right to form unions. Ramos supported legalizing marijuana, opposed abortion restrictions, sought to restore state taxpayer aid to local communities, and fought the death penalty.
“I will fight for our community when I think it’s necessary,” Ramos said during a candidates forum Oct. 10 in Oberlin. “I do my best to be a progressive voice for this community.”
Tower unsuccessfully ran for mayor of Lorain in 2015. Her platform included allowing voters to approve all new fees and taxes and getting permission from the state to allow the mayor, rather than voters, to appoint school board members.
Tower supports the death penalty and opposes marijuana legalization. She promised to listen to constituents and advocate for them if elected. Tower cited her work preserving millions in federal taxpayer dollars for foster children while in state government as an example of her conciliatory approach.
“We’re so used to the politicians telling us what to do, but you already have the answers,” she said. “We have it backward.”
Regarding gun violence, Ramos opposes Ohio’s open-carry law, which allows people to openly carry guns without licensing or training. He supports a semi-automatic rifle ban and expanded background checks.
Ramos opposed House Bill 48, which would expand where guns could be carried, including colleges and daycare centers. It passed in the House and is pending in the state Senate. Ramos also voted against the bill that became law allowing guns to be carried in establishments that serve alcohol.
In Ohio homes with children, gun owners aren’t required to safely secure their weapons. Ramos supports a law requiring them to be locked or stored in gun safes.
“We’re in a country where six-year-olds are shooting each other,” he said, “not because they intend to, but because they’re playing with something they think is a toy.”
Tower said she’s a “firm believer” in the Second Amendment and doesn’t support stricter gun laws. However, Tower said she opposes expanding where guns can be carried and said she supports more gun safety education in schools.
Tower cited the Drug Abuse Resistance Education program, known as DARE, as a model. However, studies have shown that the program, in which police warn students about the dangers of alcohol and drugs, has been ineffective. The program was revamped in the last few years in response to findings that children who participated in it were just as likely to use alcohol or drugs as those that didn’t.
While Tower supports the death penalty for “heinous crimes,” Ramos said it is unjust and immoral. “When we put someone to death, all 11 million of us are killing people,” he said. “I don’t think that’s right.”
While not giving specifics, Tower pledged to use her problem-solving skills as an attorney to help create well-paying jobs, improve education and reduce opiate addiction.
“I will work with you to come up with solutions and then voice those concerns in the legislature,” said Tower, who had $539 on hand in her latest campaign filing with the Ohio Secretary of State office. “We can work together to make life better for your family and your community.”
Ramos, who had $37,878 on hand in his latest filing, said he’s proud of his record and loves being a legislator.
“It’s been the honor of my life to be your state representative,” he said. “I’ve worked my whole life to be ready to do this.”
Evan Goodenow can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @GoodenowNews on Twitter.