Democratic candidate William Newby is challenging Republican incumbent Joseph Uecker in the Ohio House of Representatives 66th District race.
As Representative Uecker and Newby campaign for the Nov. 7 election, both candidates seem to be concerned with the same issues. In interviews conducted during the week of Oct. 23, common themes that emerged between the two candidates turned out to be education and the economy.
“There are some great schools in Clermont County,” Miami Township resident Uecker said. “School funding is a very important issue in the election. I have been working on this issue for the first two years in office with legislators and educators and will continue to do so.”
Newby, who graduated from Shawnee State University (where he served on the Inter-University Council which represents public Ohio universities) and lives in Union Township, feels that Uecker has not been working hard enough.
“One of the issues that got me interested in running is school funding, including higher education funding,” said Newby. “I have gained much experience in this area. Despite what Uecker says he has done concerning the issue of school funding, I have not seen students receiving the representation that they deserve. Representative Uecker puts jobs first, and education second.”
In addition to education, Representative Uecker is proud of his accomplishments in the Ohio House of Representatives in regard to tax reforms, which he says has stimulated the state’s economy.
“We did a number of things in my first two years,” he said. “We are protecting small businesses (and big business) through our business tax reforms. When I came to office in 2004, business taxation was oppressive and it penalized people who were successful and put an enormous tax burden on the responsible business owners, especially the small mom and pop business owners. We have taken steps to relieve that tax burden.”
Uecker said that the state legislature realizes that people lose their jobs when you do not do everything possible to protect the small business owners.
“Again, we do whatever we can to protect small business by providing tax breaks,” he said. “If you do not, businesses leave or close and people lose jobs; the economy will not grow. Fortunately, businesses are coming back to Clermont County and economic development is taking off.”
Uecker cites the construction and imminent opening of TQL as a direct result of his efforts on behalf of the economy.
Newby feels differently about the positive economic outlook that Uecker conveys.
“Uecker is not holding those businesses receiving tax breaks that he refers to accountable for creating and providing new jobs,” he said. “He is just concerned with the tax breaks first. If we are giving tax incentives, the community should be getting something, or at least a promise of something, in return. It is just fiscally irresponsible to cut taxes and then hope that everything works out. There needs to be a plan in place to assure that businesses who do receive these blanket tax breaks are creating new jobs, and Uecker does not have a plan. Ohio is nowhere close to where it should be in economic terms. We should have one of the best forward-moving economies in the country, and the facts show that we do not. We have one of the most populous states in the U.S. but in July of this year, Ohio ranked 47th in the nation in economic growth. Obviously, our current representative is not doing enough.”
Representative Uecker wants voters to consider his accomplishments and his opponent’s lack of experience when they cast their vote at the polls next week.
“I encourage people to look at the accomplishment of individuals, not at the accomplishment or lack of accomplishments of political parties, and vote for the individual, not along party lines. I have made the needed contacts in my first two years as your representative and have developed the rapport with those who will work with me in improving the quality of lives for all those who live in the 66th district and the state. Change for change sake is immature and dangerous,” Uecker said. “I will bank what I have accomplished against any opponent. My opponent does not have the needed experience to get results.”
Newby feels that the 66th district needs and deserves a change and that experience alone is not what makes an effective representative.
“You are never too young to try and make a positive difference in the quality of people’s lives,” said Newby. “I have knocked on thousands of doors during this campaign and people have told me that they are ready for a change. People are feeling let down by their representatives. Politics is all about people coming together to make changes and improve their current situation. I am running for representative to help them make those desired changes possible.”