Last updated: February 18. 2014 9:37AM - 1048 Views
By David J. Coehrs Expositor Features Editor

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District 1 Senator Cliff Hite and District 47 State Representative Barbara Sears will each face challengers in the May 6 primary election, and three candidates are vying to replace outgoing House District 81 State Representative Lynn Wachtmann.

Ending his fourth term in December, Wachtmann is not eligible to run. Those seeking his House District 81 seat include Robert McColley, Jason Rockey and John Lymanstall.

Robert McColley

The 29-year-old Republican candidate is a native of Napoleon, where he graduated from high school. He earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree from Ohio State University, and in 2010 graduated from the University of Toledo College of Law. He is presently the economic development director for Henry County. This is his first campaign for political office.

McColley said his focus will be primarily on pro-life legislation.

He also plans to help businesses become more competitive and ensure that Ohio is more business-friendly. He said one 0f the biggest issues to date is a demand for skilled labor, now that baby boomers are reaching retirement age.

“The big issue is, who is going to replace them when they leave the workforce. The supply pool is simply not there for the manufacturers,” McColley said.

He plans to work with educators and manufacturers to offer manufacturing positions as an alternative to a four-year college degree.

“Oftentimes, these positions are paying in excess of $40,000 plus benefits. It’s a viable alternative to a four-year degree. A four-year degree doesn’t mean nearly as much as it used to,” he said.Co

McColley added: “By no means am I against college. I just think introducing people to these skills and career trades is one way to keep local graduates working for local employers.”

In May of 2013, his office, in conjunction with the Williams County Economic Development Corporation, surveyed local manufacturers about what percentage of the workforce would reach retirement age within five to 10 years.

“The results were staggering: in five years, 16.5 percent , in 10-years, 40 percent. That is why this is such a big issue. We cannot afford to wait any longer to address this issue because we are running out of time,” he said.

The state’s business-friendly atmosphere is improving, but we need to make sure we enact powerful legislation to make Ohio more attractive to potential businesses looking to relocate,” McColley said. “We need to be more proactive about how we’re going to fix the problem.”

McColley is married. He has been endorsed by, among others, Fulton County Commissioners Perry Rupp and Bill Rufenacht, the Henry County Commissioners, and the Northern Ohio Associated Builders and Contractors, who focus on pro-business policies and legislation.

Jason Rockey

A Republican from Montpelier, Rockey, 40, graduated from Montpelier High School and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Ohio State University. Married, with three children, he has worked for Ohio Gas for 17 years.

After serving six years on the Montpelier Village Council, Rockey felt compelled to run for the vacant seat with House District 81.

“It’s been frustrating watching the direction our country has been moving politically, especially for a conservative,” he said.

He said his goal is to insure northwest Ohio is represented by a true conservative, one who strongly supports the Second Amendment and a pro-life position. “I want to make sure Christian values are are continued,” he said.

If elected, however, Rockey will not enter office with a pre-determined agenda. He prefers a common sense approach, and refuses to make campaign promises.

“I’ve always looked at both sides of an issue. I think it would be very naive of a a candidate who doesn’t have any statewide experience to start making promises,” he said.

A Williams County Republican Central Committee member for 10 years, Rockey is concerned about health care reform, and reform in the Medicaid program, which he said swallows approximately 50 percent of the state’s budget.

“I don’t like seeing Ohio get involved with a national health care plan. National politics tend to spill over at the state level,” he said.

By the end of his first two-year term, Rockey would like to make strides in the creation of jobs in Ohio, though he admits competing with Indiana and Michigan in that arena can be an uphill fight

“We’re not only competing for jobs in Ohio but across state lines,” he said. “Creating jobs in northwest Ohio has become more difficult. I want to see Ohio be more competitive in the job market in creating jobs than Indiana and Michigan.”

Rockey said the region has been well-represented by conservatives in the past, “and I think we need to continue that. I want to make sure we have a strong, conservative voice in northwest Ohio.

He has been endorsed by, among others, the Williams County Republican Central Committee, the Williams County commissioners, clerk of courts, and auditor, Sheriff Steve Towns, and several village mayors.

John Lymanstall

The 60-year-old Democrat from Napoleon is running unopposed in the primary election. A Tinora High School graduate, he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in nursing from Ohio State University, and a degree in anesthesiology from the university’s School of Allied Medicine. He has been employed by Henry County Hospital, the Fulton County Health Center, and the Wexner Medical Center and James Cancer Hospital, both at OSU. He also has worked in agriculture.

Lymanstall said his political platform will be developed after conferring with the chairmen of the Democrat Party in each of the counties House District 81 represents.

“I’ve been in private businss and worked in the state system as well. I have a wide diversity of experience, and I worked with the public quite a bit,” he said. “I think my values and ideas are consistent with all the constituents in the 81st district. I’m an average working guy, so I will represent the people.”

Lymanstall is married, with three children.


Barbara Sears (R-Monclova Township) is the incumbent House District 47 candidate. Her current term expires in December. She will be challenged by:

Scott Allegrini

A first-time candidate, the married Republican from Sylvania, Ohio, has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Political Science and Economics from the University of Toledo. He is currently the manager of Walmart in Holland, Ohio.

Allegrini, 40, said he decided to run against Sears due to her support of Obamacare Medicaid expansion.

“Obamacare is such a crucial issue. If she is wrong on such an issue, I wonder what else she is wrong on,” he said.

He believes a better solution is to privatize parts of the system to save costs. He said, in fact, “There are many areas of government we can privatize or introduce to the free market to bring costs down. My primary goal will be to halt the growth of government, especially at the state level. We can’t afford to expand programs. The taxpayers can’t afford to keep footing the bills.”

As a state representative, he will reject any bill that would increase the size of government and decrease liberty, Allegrini said.

His campaign will be “good old-fashioned politics,” going door-to-door and mailing informative postcards. Voters can also visit allegrini4ohio.com.


Cliff Hite (R-Findlay) is the incumbent for Senate District 1; his term expires in December. He will be challenged by Milo Schaffner and Corey Shankleton.

Milo Schaffner

The 66-year-old Van Wert resident graduated from Lincolnview High School, and studied at the University of Toledo. He earned a journeyman’s card as a tool and die maker, and was employed by the former Continental Can Company. A lifelong farmer, he also taught at Vantage Vocational School in Van Wert, and founded Schaffner Tool and Die in 1985.

Schaffner served for eight years on the Lincolnview Board of Education, five years as president. He is beginning his 13th year as a Hoaglin Township trustee.

He tossed his hat into the ring because “I believe our senator has lost touch with the people in his district. I believe he no longer reflects the values and the views of our people,” Schaffner said.

A strong supporter of the Right to Life movement, and a life member of the National Rifle Association, Schaffner also supports Senate Bill 34, which Hite does not. The bill would get rid of legislated renewable energy requirements.

“Actions speak louder than words, and by not supporting Senate Bill 34 it’s going to raise the electric rates for our elderly,” Schaffner said. “Kasich said we need to pass this bill for more affordable and dependable energy, thereby creating jobs.”

Using the slogan “Putting We the People Back Into Government,” Schaffner said he believes “very strongly” in the U.S. Constitution, local government, and local school boards. He believes the state wrongly takes money from township trustees, libraries, and local government to balance the budget.

“I intend to do all I can to bring the (funding) back to where it was” by introducing legislation, Schaffner said.

A detractor of the Common Core curriculum adopted by the Ohio Department of Education, he said, “I think we have intelligent people on our local school board. I see no reason why we can’t control the destiny of our own children. It all comes under getting local control back.”

Schaffner is also against most federal and state mandates, claiming they take away the rights and freedom of citizens, “and in some cases, they waste our money.”

People in District 1 are upset with Hite’s performance, and tell him they would vote for him, Schaffner said. He plans to campaign in each of the district’s counties to make his voice heard.

“If I can get that message out to all the people in our district. I think I’ll be the next senator,” he said. “I’m a farmer and a business owner, so I want to get my message out to those people through town meetings and Republican Central Committee meetings. Their votes are very important, but their prayers are more important.”

Married 48 years, Schaffner has three children, and grandchildren. He is a former Sunday school superintendent and teacher, and a former youth leader.

Corey Shankleton

The 35-year-old Kunkle, Ohio resident studied business and marketing at Monroe County Community College in Michigan. He is a senior pastor for Emerging Streams Ministry in Stryker.

Shankleton said he has a definite agenda to pursue in his race against Hite for the Senate seat. And it all comes down to core Christian and conservative values and rights he believes the state and federal government are eroding.

“We’re very concerned about the flow that is happening in legislation. There seems to be a flood of legislation and policy that flows down from the federal government and is imposed on people, often against their will,” he said. “We’re all for improving the sanctity of life and the sanctity of marriage. We’re seeing that attacked nearly daily. The majority of Christians and conservatives hold that dear.”

He cites as example House Bill 34, known as the “Heartbeat Bill,” proposed pro-life legislation Shankleton said is not receiving the attention it deserves. There is also Senate Bill 37, which Hite endorses. Shankleton said it is touted as an anti-discrimination bill but which, in fact, discriminates against Christian business owners by forcing them to hire people with lifestyle and or moral choices with which they disagree.

“It’s bad government to enact for one group but discriminate against another,” Shankleton said.

He also disagrees with the ODE’s Common Core standard, and criticizes Hite for facilitating in its writing.

It’s dangerous when government takes away the rights of local parents and educational systems “to decide what their children are educated on, and how they’re educated. Our elected bureaucrats are making these calls,” Shankleton said. “They’re taking away the rights of parents according to their own morals and values.”

He also takes issue with what he said is the Common Core system’s history curriculum that teaches the United States is operated as a democracy rather than a republic.

“A democracy functions very differently,” he said. “The federal government is offering propaganda for education rather than sound historical fact.”

Shankleton is confident the vast majority of conservatives share the values he espouses. “It’s your duty to have and vote for legislation reflective of those conservative values in your district. That’s a high priority to us. That’s a key issue,” he said.

His campaign strategy includes door-to-door meets with voters, social media, mailings, and possibly advertisements.

According to Shankleton, Hite’s record in office reveals a legislator out of touch with his constituents.

“In my opinion, three strikes and you’re out,” he said.

Shankleton is married, with four children.

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