Tom Jackson is challenging incumbent Matt Dolan for Ohio's 24th State Senate District in the Nov. 3 election.

Matt Dolan, Republican

Background and experience

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Dolan

• Attorney with more than 30 years of experience

• Partner at the law firm of Thrasher, Dinsmore & Dolan

• Serving in first term as senator

• Senate finance chairman

• State representative from 2005 to 2010

• House Finance and Appropriations chairman

• Former Chief Assistant Prosecutor for Geauga County

• Former Assistant Attorney General for the state of Ohio

Why you?

• Dolan said he believes that his experience both with public policy and the private sector is essential. People in Ohio “need someone with political public policy, private sector experience because you need all those skills to navigate and help Ohio grow,” he said.

• His independence. Dolan said his willingness to work across the aisle and buck Republican leadership is another reason why he is the right choice to bstat senator. “I think in this day and age where everybody seems so divided and partisan, I think I have shown I have a record of doing what is best for Ohio and the district, not what’s best for my party,” he said. Dolan also strongly rejected his opponent’s allegations that he is too close to special interests and corrupt politicians. “My record of leadership and character show that I put my district and its unique needs above special interest groups and political gamesmanship,” Dolan said. He added “the baseless attacks linking me to a political corruption scandal is irresponsible and deceitful to the people of Ohio’s 24th Senate District. Rather than offering his solutions for the constituents of the 24th, my opponent is continuing this unnecessary partisan divide.”

Priorities

• Dolan said a good economy is a priority because it has such a broad impact. “If you are economically viable, that means you have low unemployment,” he said. “That means you have an investment, which means you have families coming to Ohio and staying in Ohio. Businesses want to come here.” For Dolan, Northeast Ohio has a natural resource, water, that can contribute significantly to the economy. He sees a water-based economy as an economic driver because of its importance in manufacturing. He notes that 1,100 companies that use water for manufacturing are in drought zones. He wants to bring them to Ohio.

Plan to address the pandemic

• Dolan said he believes in a three-part approach to address the issue: an adequate health care system to handle those who get sick; individuals taking personal responsibility, including wearing masks and social distancing; and a stable economy so people can continue to pay their bills and support their families.

Plan to address systemic racism

• First, we must recognize this is a problem. “The issue is real,” he said. “It is. And it is not only real globally or on the macro level, but it’s real to an individual.”

• Then there need to be reforms to police training and candidate vetting. While Dolan said he supports the police, he believes they need more training to understand the multicultural nature of our country better. Also, candidates for the police academy need better vetting to ensure they have the makeup necessary to handle the job.

• Dolan also believes citizens need training on how to interact with police. Dolan said driving tests need to include training about what to do when a police officer approaches your car so as not to inflame the situation.

Tom Jackson, Democrat

Background and experience

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Jackson

• Account executive at Leverity Insurance Solutions

• Chair-elect, Solon Chamber of Commerce board of directors.

• Former manager, Progressive Insurance in Washington, D.C.

• Former instructor and administrator, Close Up Foundation in Washington, D.C., a nonpartisan nonprofit dedicated to educating young people on their government

Why you?

• Jackson said he provides a necessary change in leadership in Columbus. “We need our politicians to show up, stop the petty in-fighting, and do more to protect Ohioans and ensure that the necessary resources are made available,” he said. He added Dolan is too close to special interests and alleged corruption in Senate leadership. “My opponent is part of the corrupt leadership establishment and is too cozy with the narrow special interests that have been driving the legislative agenda in Columbus for too long.”

• Jackson adds that he has a better understanding of the community’s needs than his opponent. “I’ve worked hard to get ahead and provide a good quality of life for my family, so I know the challenges that Ohioans are facing.”

Priorities

• Addressing the pandemic

• Investing in education. Jackson believes that our colleges and public schools need more funding.

• Sustainable development. Jackson argues for sustainable development and greater use of renewable energy to protect such “natural gifts” in Northeast Ohio as parks, rivers and Lake Erie.

Plan to address the pandemic

• Follow the experts. Jackson said there is too much political infighting and politicization, which undermine efforts to fight the pandemic. Lawmakers “should listen to and follow public health experts by implementing science-based solutions for limiting community spread and increasing capacity for testing and tracing.”

Plan to address systemic racism

• Acknowledge the problem. “Communities of color have long faced lower life expectancy, unequal health outcomes, less financial access, an unjust criminal justice system, and unequal educational opportunities,” Jackson said.

• Have the difficult conversations. “Government officials must consider the policy changes needed to dismantle systemic racism. These policies are seen in funding agreements, legislation, vendor contracts and human resources policies,” he said.


Stephen Langel is freelance writer from Pepper Pike.

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