This November, democratic incumbent Debbie Phillips of Albany is defending her newly aligned 94th Ohio House seat against republican challenger Charles Richter of Little Hocking.
Representative Phillips is a former Athens City Council member and was a director for an Ohio non-profit that sought school spending reform. She’s currently serving her second term and serves on the Education, Finance, Agriculture and Natural Resources committees.
“I feel like we have made some progress, particularly in school funding – however, the new administration chose to repeal the evidence-based model so we’re back at it again,” says Phillips. “I feel like we have a lot of work to do with that, as well as working on economic development in southeastern Ohio.”
According to Phillips, the upcoming state budget will be tight but revenues are coming in higher than projected.
“I would like to see us restore the funding to schools and local governments, which was cut in the previous budget. Our local communities are the ones who really provide all the direct services – like police and fire protection, and children’s education,” explains Phillips. “The state government needs to live within its means and not take that money from the local government, so I want to fight and try to restore the funding for those local services.”
Republican candidate Charles Richter has a former career in the banking industry and is currently works part-time in sales.
The 94th district lines were redrawn this year, stretching across four counties, however Richter notes that all have jobs as a top priority.
“We have needs for new roads and school funding, but a lot of that is based on jobs. If we have more jobs, then people are more willing to vote for a school levy. With more jobs, people buy more and spend more which creates higher tax revenues for the counties and townships,” says Richter. “Once we get the local economy going and more jobs created, we can keep our children here once they graduate.”
Richter says voters have a choice between two very different philosophies, and that he and Phillips are “as far apart as can be.” Charles Richter says he’ll bring more business and economic sense to the legislature.
“I feel like this is a time, both at the state and federal level that we’re deciding which direction we want to take our country. And we need to take it to the point where, there are some cuts we did last year that will be painful, but we need to work on those, and can’t spend ourselves into prosperity.”