Cassimir Svigelj is challenging state Rep. David Greenspan to represent the 16th District of Ohio.
Svigelj, 27, of Rocky River, called infrastructure, education and environment his top three priorities.
“We just need to invest in infrastructure to attract the companies of the future,” Svigelj said, adding that he favors spending money on smart grid infrastructure, partly to ensure safety around self-driving cars. In addition, high-speed internet access needs to be available across Ohio, and the state needs to invest in large-scale supercomputers, he said.
Regarding school funding, Svigelj said, “I would like to see a centralized funding model with local control. School districts in the wealthiest communities consistently get higher grades, he said, because of the current funding model. “Right now, I think we have it backwards.”
In terms of water quality, he said, “We have one of the world’s most valuable resources in Ohio.” He said he is concerned about the quality of the state’s water supply: phosphate runoff in the Maumee River, toxic algae in Sandusky Bay, and the raw sewage in Lake Erie. He backs the use of renewable energy and reinvesting revenue from Ohio’s parks into the parks.
Svigelj was working three service jobs and preparing to take the LSAT when he decided to run for the office.
“We didn’t come from a lot of money,” said Svigelj, explaining his values and motivation for running. As the eldest of five boys, he learned at a young age the value of self-sacrifice and doing the right thing.
This is Svigelj’s first time running for public office. Born in Erie, Pa., he graduated from Berea High School and Cleveland State University with a major in political science.
Greenspan, of Westlake, named the opioid crisis, funding local government and strengthening the workforce as the top issues on his agenda. He is running for his second two-year term.
Greenspan, 53, said he served on the task force that set up $180 million in funding targeted toward the opioid crisis.
“It’s a start,” said Greenspan, adding $20 million of that package will go toward capital for drug treatment facilities.
“We’re in a super-heated economy right now where we actually for the first time have more job openings than we have employees, or those available to fill the jobs,” Greenspan said. “We need to do what we can to help those employers do what they need to do to fill the jobs that are available.”
He said the state needs to look at funding certificates so high school graduates can fill those jobs.
Greenspan said he has sponsored a bill that would direct half of any state surplus to municipal road budgets. The Statehouse passed the bill, and it is now in the Ohio Senate, he said.
The first law Greenspan sponsored dealt with allowing cities and towns to cut their debt by refinancing through other public entities.
Greenspan has served on the city council of Sandy Springs, Ga. and on Cuyahoga County Council. He is president and CEO of Green Elk Consulting Services, LLC and cited his business experience and his previous city and county positions as giving him valuable perspective.
Born in Neptune, N.J., Greenspan has a bachelor’s degree in business administration and accounting from Troy University in Troy, Ala.