Voters in most corners of Butler County will have a chance to hear from candidates for elected office as they debate issues important to the county and state.
Miami University Regionals and the Journal-News are working to present a voter education series featuring candidates for the Ohio Statehouse, the Butler County Commission and Ohio’s 8th Congressional District.
“We at the university are very excited to play a role in bringing this terrific civic education opportunity to the people of Butler County,” said John Forren, chairman of the Miami University Regionals Justice and Community Studies Department. “A key part of Miami’s mission is to promote the public good — and we see this series as doing that, by giving voters the opportunity to come out and learn more about the people who want to lead us at the county, state and federal levels in the years ahead.”
Forren said these events will allow voters from around the area to meet the candidates for office and hear their visions for the future, “which we hope will help them to make more informed choices in the November election.”
“We really hope that lots of people in the area take advantage of this opportunity and join us at these events,” he said.
The presentation of these debates is a part of the mission of the Journal-News, said Rob Rohr, Cox Media Group Ohio Market Vice President.
“It’s critical for the public to see these candidates stand side-by-side to talk about the important issues facing our communities, and to our state,” he said. “One of the missions of the Journal-News is to encourage and facilitate this type of dialogue between candidates so the voting public can be as informed as possible before they cast their all-important vote on Election Day or during early voting.”
As of this week, both the candidates for the 52nd Ohio House District — Rep. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp., and Kathy Wyenandt — have agreed to debate Sept. 25 at Miami’s VOA Learning Center in West Chester Twp. The West Chester Liberty Chamber Alliance will partner in presenting the 52nd House District debate.
Organizers are still waiting to hear from all candidates in the races before announcing all debate times and locations.
Other debates being organized include: 51st Ohio House District candidates Republican Sara Carruthers and Democrat Susan Vaughn; Butler County Commission candidates incumbent Commissioner Cindy Carpenter and Democrat Dora Bronston; and 8th Congressional District candidates incumbent Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, and Vanessa Enoch.
The series will not include a debate between the two candidates for the 53rd Ohio House District. Ohio Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, declined to participate.
“My voting record stands on its own, so I will once again be taking my campaign directly to the voters,” she said. “If any constituent reaches out to me, I’m happy to meet with them. I’m out in the community every single day.”
Keller’s opponent, Democrat Rebecca Howard, of Reily Twp., was hoping voters that attended could see their choice for state representative side-by-side.
“I’m disappointed that we’re not going to be able to give voters the opportunity to ask us questions, and we give them answers,” said the first-time candidate. “I look forward to having multiple occasions to meet with voters and discuss issues of concern.”
Miami University organizers are also planning to host a Meet the Candidates night after the debates, where all candidates for office that represent portions of Butler County will be invited to participate.