CELINA —Angela King and Sophia Rodriguez are both running for state representative for Ohio’s 84th District, which covers all of Mercer and Darke Counties, as well as part of Auglaize.
Both Rodriguez, a Democrat, and King, a Republican, have professional backgrounds that seem similar, but each has different views.
“Public education is number one,” said Rodriguez, a Spanish teacher at Coldwater Schools, about her priorities should she get elected. “Just today I had a conversation with some educators that were talking about testing and how challenging and stressful it is for many of our students, especially those who are not successful in testing. But that doesn’t mean that they’re not going to be successful in life. Whether it is they go to college or they want to get a job outside of graduation that doesn’t mean that they are going to be unsuccessful if they don’t do well on the test. And maybe our priorities should be more about the mental health of our students, especially just getting post-COVID results from reading and writing, especially of our second, third and fourth graders. We need to refocus and I think it’s a priority for us to make sure that our students are what our focus is and that’s public education.”
While King could not be reached for comment, her website lists her biggest priorities as pro-life, pro-2nd amendment, pro-freedom and the economy.
Both Rodriguez and King are from Celina and still maintain strong ties with the area today.
King is the Mercer County Recorder and served on Celina City Council, while Rodriguez has held a number of positions over the years with state, county and local organizations, including serving as President of Celina City Council.
Both candidates are small business owners, with Rodriguez being raised alongside her family’s 41-year-old Mexican restaurant, Casa Rodriguez in Celina, and King working as a licensed realtor for more than 25 years, per their campaign websites.
“Being a daughter of migrant workers, and actually my mom is originally from Mexico and became a citizen in 1966 when she was pregnant with me, the experiences of people like my parents and for their children, they become the working class and the middle class,” said Rodriguez. “And it is not always the opportunity that representatives understand that. They don’t always understand the kind of people, like us, who are sometimes struggling, opening a restaurant, being employees, being single parents, or being not the breadwinner or the husband and supporting their families with a second job. It’s hard for them. And there’s not always somebody there to listen to them, to hear them. Right now especially, employees of restaurants, women are finding it challenging to find affordable childcare. The question is do they work, and then all their money goes to childcare? Or do they stay home and they don’t have to pay for childcare, which in turn, hurts businesses that need employees. And so we need to address that. How do we help them so that they’re able to work and find affordable childcare, and good childcare, for that matter?”
On Rodriguez’s website, she describes standing for properly funded public education and affordable healthcare options, strong first responder teams and well-supported nonprofit groups.
On King’s website, she describes her background as being the oldest of five children from a farming family and having been married for 31 years with two adult children and two grandchildren.
King has been an advocate for the deaf and hard of hearing since she discovered her infant daughter was deaf. Through that mission, she played a part in Ohio’s Universal Newborn Hearing Screening legislation. The website also says that she prompted the United States Department of Education to update its early intervention language in the Individuals with Disability Education Act. King also touts her accomplishments in getting the City of Celina a $750,000 federal line item for the city water plant after the EPA fined and mandated the city to replace or retrofit it.
“Angie is getting in the fight to protect our conservative values and our way of life, to ensure that the next generation has a bright future,” reads her biography. “She is committed to making a difference in the lives of others and with her children now grown, can devote her time and energy to being a watchdog in Columbus, representing and protecting the interests of the 84th district.
“No one will work harder to represent the conservative values of West Central Ohio. Angie will defend our Second Amendment, promote fiscal responsibility, defend the life of the unborn, and fight for our personal liberties.”
Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 8. Check with your local board of elections for polling places.
Reach Jacob Espinosa at 567-242-0399