By: Jonathon Hogue ~Columnist~
Before you head to the voting booth on Nov 4, here is some information about important local races that may affect the Xavier community.
In the race for Congress, voters in the 1st Congressional District have the choice between incumbent Steve Chabot (R) and challenger Fred Kundrata (D). Incumbent Congressman Chabot has represented the 1st District since1995 and only lost his seat once during the 2008 Obama sweep, but was reelected in 2012 by a 20 percent margin.
Challenger Fred Kundrata is an Air Force veteran with experience as a practicing attorney and operating a number of small businesses around Cincinnati. On the issues of military veterans and senior citizens, both candidates agree government funds should be directed towards providing the best care for those most in need. In terms of the economy, healthcare and the environment, Chabot and Kundrata significantly differ. On the economy: Chabot opposes raising the minimum wage. Instead he wants to champion tax cuts and lower spending plans. Kundrata supports raising the minimum wage and federal projects focused on rebuilding infrastructure in Cincinnati.
With healthcare: Chabot strongly opposes The Affordable Care Act and supports measures to repeal and replace the entire plan. Kundrata believes the law is beneficial but needs to be amended to fix loopholes that benefit insurance companies. On the environment: Chabot says climate change isn’t a federal issue; Kundrata disagrees and supports tax incentives for green companies. While there is a definite difference between the candidates, political observers note there is little competition in the race for Chabot.
The race for the Ohio 9th Senate District is between Cincinnati City Council member Charlie Winburn (R) and former Cincinnati City Council member Cecil Thomas (D). Winburn and Thomas both share a history of overcoming personal adversity and have served in local government for a combined total of over 30 years.
For the Republicans to win in a heavily Democratic district would be a political upset. Winburn has the endorsement of the Cincinnati Enquirer and heavy political donations boosting his chances. Thomas’s camp is looking to keep the district blue by stressing some of Winburn’s more conservative stances on government spending.
The race will not be primarily decided by issues — both candidates’ websites have little to say on the matters — but will be decided on personality and campaign outreach. While the donations support Winburn’s side, the district’s voting history favors Thomas.
Incumbent Democrat Representative Alicia Reece is running unopposed for reelection in the Ohio 33rd House District.
Three of the ballot’s levies are tax renewals (which would not raise taxes) to support local public schools, the non-profit Talbert House community center and UC Medical Center.
The most debated levy is the possible sales tax increase for Union Terminal. Proposition 11 is a 0.25 percent sales tax increase to fund the revitalization of Union Terminal. The levy proposal barely got on the ballot because local business leaders proposed an alternative initiative to remove most of the financial burden from the City of Cincinnati, but lost in a surprise vote by the Hamilton County Commissioners to design a smaller increase for the ballot.
If passed, the current proposal would generate funds for the $208 million needed to update Union Terminal. Opponents may argue against the levy as another unnecessary tax increase for Cincinnati voters, proponents argue the increase is a necessary step in maintaining the landmark for Cincinnati’s citizens and future visitors.