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LWV League of Women Voters of Ohio
Hamilton, Warren County, OH November 7, 2006 Election
Smart Voter

Edwin Richard "Rick" Smith, III
Answers Questions

Candidate for
State Senator; District 7


The questions were prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Cincinnati Area and LWV Ohio and asked of all candidates for this office.
Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

Questions & Answers

1. Both parties have called for redistricting reform. What three top criteria should be used in redrawing legislative districts? (150 word limit)

1. As little splitting of political subdivisions and counties as possible.

2. Non-dilution of different voting groups - e.g., minority votes should not be split into multiple predominately white districts; farming community votes should not be diluted into city/suburban districts, where possible.

3. Increasing competition within districts.

The OH 7th Senate District is the most Republican in the state - 67% voted for Bush in 2004. Such districts will naturally occur, but what makes this district egregious is that a few predominately Democratic communities, like East Walnut Hills, Madisonville, and Amberley Village, are picked off and diluted in this largely suburban and rural district.

2. What are your Qualifications for Office? (50 word limit)

I have been a businessman in Cincinnati for the past 19 years. I have worked in both large and small companies, covering a wide range of industries. I am a quick study, and I am known as an intelligent and creative problem-solver. I will apply these skills to public problems.

3. What plans do you have to address your top three priorities? (100 word limit)

Create a state-administered health insurance group that everyone can join, regardless of pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies would earn a regulated rate of return. Lower school property taxes to 20-30 mills. Raise income and sales taxes to make up the revenue loss; this money would be used to even out funding. Allow fast-growing townships to impose impact fees on new construction to pay for new school construction. Raising the minimum wage, properly funding schools, and providing entrepreneurs and small businesses health insurance will set the stage for economic growth. Develop a comprehensive industrial plan to attract target industries to Ohio.

4. What changes would you recommend for improving public oversight of charter schools? (150 word limit)

Charter schools have failed Ohio. The vast majority are performing worse than the public schools in the area. While a few charter schools have developed some promising educational experiments, the system as a whole needs to be revamped.

I believe that non-performing charter schools should be closed, and charter school enrollment should be capped at 10% of a county's student population. This number cannot grow until all schools perform at or above the primary public school district from which it draws students.

Charter schools must adhere to all the safety, student-teacher ratio, and other standards to which public schools are held, unless a specific waiver is required to meet a specific educational experiment's needs. Charter school books must be open to state audits.

Charter schools cannot claim funding for students who do not remain in the school for the entire year, or who do not participate in state-administered tests.

5. Ohio has the highest foreclosure rate in the nation. What actions would you support at the state level to address this crisis? (150 word limit)

We must crack down on predatory lending practices that result in consumers either overpaying for their house or being charged extraordinary fees and interest rates. Lending/refinancing laws must be more restrictive, and we must enforce current laws. Usury laws need to be reviewed, both in home lending and in areas like payday loan lending. Fines for improper practices should go to the aggrieved homeowners/consumers.

We should also look at the harm being done by the "traditional" home financing market. Are appraisers being encouraged to appraise a home at the asking price? Are banks taking too much risk with some borrowers?

If someone loses a job that allowed him or her to pay the mortgage, that person needs to be able to find another good-paying job. The state must facilitate the growth of jobs paying a living wage or better.

Responses to questions asked of each candidate are reproduced as submitted to the League.  Candidates' statements are presented as submitted. Word limits apply for each question. Direct references to opponents are not permitted.

Read the answers from all candidates (who have responded).

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Created from information supplied by the candidate: October 29, 2006 15:48
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