Summit County voters will choose between a current Ohio State House representative and a current Summit County Council member as the Ohio 31st District representative.
After the lengthy redistricting process, the new 31st District includes the northern and western parts of Summit County.
According to the new district map, Summit County is divided into 31st, 32nd, 33rd, 34th and 35th (which also includes parts of Portage and Geauga counties).
The two-year term for the 31st District seat begins January 1. According to popular redistricting website Dave’s Redistricting App, the 31st District is expected to tilt in favor of the Democratic Party.
Ohioans are choosing new state lawmakers using maps the Ohio Supreme Court has thrown out as unconstitutional, saying they unfairly favor Republicans. Federal judges picked the maps that barely passed the Ohio Redistricting Commission, which will have to craft different maps for 2024. Ohioans’ voting preferences stand at 54% for Republican candidates and 46% for Democratic candidates.
Republican Bill Roemer currently represents Ohio’s 38th District, which includes the western strips of Summit and Stark counties. After the redistricting process, he is now running for the 31st arrondissement.
According to his biography, Roemer, who is currently serving his second term at the Ohio House, serves on the committees of Commerce and Labor, Finance, Health and Human Services (Chairman of the Finance Subcommittee), Financial Institutions and ways and means.
Roemer previously served on Summit County Council and served as Vice Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Summit Educational Services Center. He also works as a substitute teacher in the Revere School District and was previously a finance instructor at Myers University, an AT&T sales manager, and a certified public accountant working in regulatory accounting.
He earned a bachelor’s degree in accounting from Case Western Reserve University and a master’s degree in business administration from the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University. Roemer lives in Richfield with his family, who have owned a farm in Summit County for more than 80 years.
Roemer said accomplishments from his time at the Ohio Statehouse include legislation to reduce the state’s personal income tax, which he said was “the biggest tax cut on personal income in Ohio in history” and will save Ohio residents $2.1 billion a year.
Roemer said he was running again because he had “a lot of unfinished business that I want to accomplish,” including an additional state income tax cut to “where we have a tax on low or no income and people are really moving here and they say, boy, Ohio is very contractor friendly and family friendly.”
He also pointed to a pending bill relating to the donation of insulin and other prescriptions to charity pharmacies and another pending bill he is sponsoring that would expand Ohio’s Medicaid component known as Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly, or PACE.
Roemer said the bill, which he says would save the state $30 million a year, would allow “families to keep their loved ones at home, while enjoying exceptional service.” .
“You have a family member who needs a lot of daily help, the PACE center will pick them up, bring them back, give them a hot meal or provide activities,” he said. “It’s really a win-win situation. It’s a win for the families, because their loved one is taken care of. It’s a win for the individual because they can stay home and get exceptional care. And that’s a win for the state because the state saves $30 million a year.”
On education, Roemer said on his campaign website that he would work to reduce unfunded state mandates.
Roemer said he never took health benefits from his government jobs and visits every community in his district at least once a year, which are promises he said he made.
“I make my commitments and I keep my commitments,” he said.
Democrat Rita Darrow is the office manager of Milstein Properties, a property management company, and previously worked as a freight broker in the transportation industry.
Darrow served on Macedonia’s city council from 2012 to 2015, serving as chairwoman of the council in 2015, which she says in her county council biography gave her experience in infrastructure and economic development , parks and recreation, union negotiations, and state and federal grants.
She has represented County Council District 1, in the northern part of the county, since January 2021 after being elected in November 2020. She chairs the council’s long-term planning committee.
Darrow has lived in Summit County for over two decades and lives in Macedonia with his partner. She is a member of Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Macedonia and Federated Women of Summit County, serving as Third Vice President. She has two adult children.
Darrow said she decided to run after the state’s lengthy redistricting process, which ended with unconstitutional maps that favor Republicans.
“Republicans have [a] supermajority over the state of Ohio and the state house,” she said. “I don’t believe in the things they vote on. I think the things they vote on hurt us.
Darrow’s campaign website says she is pro-choice and champions gun safety and violence prevention. “
She also said she believed schools should have professionally trained security forces and that there should be no “excessive government surveillance” in education. She also said she would vote against efforts to divert funding from public schools to private schools.
Darrow said she supports the rights of workers to unionize and decent wages, as well as social programs for low-wage workers to provide them with housing, food and healthcare.
Darrow said she would like to be part of creating a program that provides job opportunities, free health care and support for veterans with PTSD and substance use disorders. She also said Ohio should put a higher priority on reducing its reliance on oil and coal, with clean air legislation in place.
“I was born and raised in a Democratic union home. I am a proud union home now. I just believe in the middle class. I think we support our businesses and all businesses that support unions,” she said. “And I don’t like empty buildings, in other words. I think it’s important that we get these buildings built, so economic development to help our communities become stronger. It’s me. And I love helping people… and I’ve always supported our security forces and given them what they needed.
Darrow said his partner, David, is a Republican. They’ve been together since 2007 and lived together since 2010, so she said she knows how to compromise.
“I have a 26-year-old daughter, I have a 23-year-old son, and I’m worried,” she said. “I am worried about their generation and the generations to come.”
Beacon Journal 2022 Voter’s Guide:Six races for Statehouse seats on Summit County ballots
Beacon Journal 2022 Voter’s Guide:Who to vote for? Summit County Voter’s Guide has information about candidates in their own words
Contact Beacon Journal reporter Emily Mills at [email protected] and on Twitter @EmilyMills818.