XENIA — Voters in Ohio’s 73rd District will be choosing between two Republican candidates and an unopposed Democrat in the May 8 primary election.
Incumbent Rick Perales is being challenged by Jocelyn Smith, while Kim McCarthy is the lone Democrat.
The district includes western and north central Greene County including Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Fairborn and Yellow Springs.
Perales, from Beavercreek, was not available for an interview. However, during a candidate’s forum April 25, Perales highlighted a pair of bills he has in the House. One would address counterfeiting, which he called a “financial tool for the elicit drug underground circuit,” allowing criminals to get drugs into “our system.”
“We can’t do much about it,” he said.
The bill would allow counterfeiters to be properly prosecuted, Perales said.
Another bill will allow veterans access to veteran treatment courts if they can’t otherwise access one.
“I’m not up here telling you that I want to do this, I’d like to do this. It would be nice to do this,” Perales said. “I’m telling you that I am doing this. I’m working on your behalf.”
He said he is pro-life and a believer in the Second Amendment. He has been a big supporter of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, the military and veterans.
A big reason Perales is seeking re-election, he said at the forum, is to continue his family’s legacy of service, which began with his father and continued with his brothers. Perales has 16 years in public service, he said.
The Fairborn resident said she decided to run when she had trouble getting a pancreatic cancer license plate bill introduced by her state representative, who happens to be Perales. Smith said she had to approach another state representative about the bill.
“I feel nobody should ever have to go outside their district for help,” Smith said. “He made it personal on why he wouldn’t sponsor the bill.”
Smith, a registered nurse who deals with worker’s compensation cases, wasn’t totally motivated to run because of that incident. She said changes need to be made to the worker’s comp system because one claim by an injured worker could cause a small business to go out of business.
“There’s a lot of things that need to be worked on,” Smith said.
She added the opioid crisis is also on her agenda because Ohio went from “one extreme to the other” regarding highly addictive painkillers.
“What’s happening, doctors are scared to prescribe pain medicine,” Smith said. “Ten, 15 years ago, doctors were prescribing pain pills like candy. With the new laws, doctors are afraid. It forces a person no choice but to turn to heroin. If doctors had a happy medium … when it comes to prescribing, I believe it may help with some of the opioid crisis.”
Smith said changes also need to be made to the education system.
“I want to eliminate Common Core,” she said. “Six times two is 12. We don’t need to have 10 steps to know that six times two is 12. I’ve talked with teachers and teachers don’t enjoy teaching. They feel stressed because they are teaching to a standard test. They can’t be creative in the classroom.”
Smith has never held a public office before, but she is the legislation liaison for the Ohio Nurses Association and has learned about politics and lobbying. Because she is a newcomer, she said she isn’t beholden to special interest groups.
“I’m a political outsider,” she said. “Not being part of the establishment means if elected, I won’t owe anyone. I won’t have to be a puppet to anyone. I self-funded my campaign. I can actually focus on the people.”
The only Democrat on the primary ballot, the Bellbrook resident is guaranteed of appearing on the November ballot as long as she gets one valid vote.
McCarthy was motivated to run because of a statement made by County Commissioner Bob Glaser, when McCarthy was making comments about new commission meeting procedures.
“Glaser said if I didn’t like what they were doing, I should run for office myself,” McCarthy said.
McCarthy said if elected, she will represent her entire district.
“Our (current) representative is not advocating for us,” she said. “He’s just going with the flow. I just saw a big opening for a rep who could represent the people … not the people who financed his campaign. I have pledged not to take PAC money.”
McCarthy has three items she plans to address if elected: Health care, education, and jobs and wages.
With regards to health care, the native Australian said the country needs a “single payer universal system.”
“It’s the only way to effectively run a health care system,” McCarthy said. “We are wasting money having the system we have now.”
She said the U.S. needs fully funded public education as well as fully funded state universities.
“It’s the only way we can invest properly in our young people and the future,” McCarthy said. “People die with these (college) debts.”
McCarthy said government needs to stop giving away tax breaks to big corporations who then pay poverty wages.
“Supporting small businesses is the way,” she said.
McCarthy stressed that she plans on making changes.
“I’m not in this to go with the flow,” she said. “I’m in there to kick some you know what.”
Contact Scott Halasz at 937-502-4507.