LIMA — One candidate touted his experience in various political offices including the state Senate and as an Ohio Supreme Court justice, while the other candidate trumpeted his experience as a city councilor and as vice president in banking.
Bob Cupp, who serves as the chief legal counsel for state Auditor David Yost, and Kurt Neeper, who serves as vice present of business development at Superior Federal Credit Union, spoke Friday to more than 100 Republicans at the Allen County Republican Luncheon at the Elks Lodge ahead of the May 6 primary vote. Cupp and Neeper are campaigning to replace state Rep. Matt Huffman, who cannot run because of term limits.
Cupp said he wanted to get two things across to 4th District residents.
“We live in some very difficult and challenging times and we need to bring all the know-how, experience and ability we can to solve many of these problems,” Cupp, who served 16 years in the state Senate and as the president pro tempore, told The Lima News. “The focus here in Allen County is to promote private sector job growth.
“There is nothing more important for a community then having jobs so moms and dads can support their families and to do that we need a climate of low taxes, limited regulations and a skilled work force,” the former Allen County commissioner said. “We also need a safe community. As a former prosecutor and judge, I will bring my experience to work in making sure our first responders, prosecutors and judges have the laws necessary to protect our families.”
During his speech, he mentioned his service at the local and state level is evidence of his leadership abilities “to get the job done and to get the job done right.” He also said the state is only as strong as its families.
“I am not just asking to be your state representative just to hold an office,” said Cupp, who earned his bachelor’s degree and law degree at Ohio Northern University and served as a judge on the 3rd District Court of Appeals and as a justice on the Ohio Supreme Court. “Rather it is what we can accomplish together that is important.”
Neeper, who also serves as vice president of Superior Financial Solutions and served on Lima City Council representing the 1st Ward, said his experience in the private and public spheres would help him solve problems if elected to the Statehouse.
“I want to show voters that I can and will be effective the day I take office because I have a lot of experience in the public sector and private sector,” said Neeper, who holds a master’s degree in business from Tiffin University. “I will address the values I have, specifically hard work and its importance to returning Ohio and Ohio’s economy back to where we all want it to be which polling indicates certainly is the largest concern for Ohioans.”
To return Ohio to its economic glory, Neeper stressed the need for new blood in the General Assembly.
“I think the first thing we have to do is we cannot continue to send the same people to Columbus and expect the same result,” the Lima Central Catholic and The Ohio State University graduate said. “In terms of plans, we need to examine legislation, examine regulation from a business mindset as something that will help all businesses across a diverse array of industries and services. I think I am the only one to bring that to this election.”
He called education “the ladder for the poor.” He said “we need the best education for our future so that we can deliver the best work force for our employers and in turn give Ohio a long-term competitive advantage in economic development.”
During his tenure on council, Neeper stressed the city’s cash carryover grew from 13 percent of the budget to 30 percent because they examined the budget line-by-line, prioritized city services and listened to voters and made the general fund accountable to taxpayers.
“I can and will be effective on day one,” Neeper said. “I served the 35,000 residents of Lima and the more than 50,000 members of my employer. I have seen success in public service and private business.”