Rodriguez unopposed in Aug. 2 special election



CELINA — Three Republican candidates for the 84th District Ohio House of Representatives are seeking voter approval to advance to the November General Election. Running on the Republican ticket are Angie King, of Celina, Jacob Larger, of New Bremen, and Aimee Morrow, of Greenville. The winner of the Aug. 2 Special Election will face Democrat Sophia Rodriguez, who is unopposed on Aug. 2.

The 84th District includes the northern half of Darke County and the southern half of Auglaize County and all of Mercer County. Darke County towns includes Greenville. Auglaize County includes Wapakoneta, Minster, New Bremen and New Knoxville.

Questionnaires were emailed to each candidate for publication in the Sidney Daily News. Morrow didn’t respond to the email.

Today’s candidate profile is Democrat Sophia Rodriguez. Republican Angie King will be featured in Friday’s newspaper. Republican Jacob Larger will be featured in Saturday’s newspaper.

Sophia Rodriguez, 55, is the daughter of migrant workers, a Celina School’s graduate, has a BA in Spanish from Ohio University and a Master’s Degree in Educational Leadership from Wright State University. Rodriguez is a Spanish teacher in Coldwater Schools and co-manager of her family restaurant of 41 years. She has served on the Mercer County Board of Developmental Disabilities, Ohio and National Education Association Boards of Directors, president of Western Ohio Education Association, Coldwater Teachers’ Organization, chair of the Ohio Education Association Hispanic Caucus, president of Celina City Council, and an adjunct at the Wright State University Lake Campus.

Should Ohio spend more to arm and train teachers and school staff to secure its public schools from random gun violence?

As a current educator, I believe the State of Ohio should spend more money on funding public schools to hire more counselors and social workers to address the needs of mental health issues of our students. Also, more funding for additional educators for smaller class sizes, and update facility securities for our school buildings such as cameras, locks, and alarm systems. We are teaching institutes, not a system of firearms. We are a source of learning to develop problem solving skills, critical thinking, and grow positive participants in our local, state, national, and global society.

What should Ohio do to attract and retain more working-age adults to the state with crucial skills (electricians, mechanics, plumbers etc.)?

There are many factors for individuals and families for working where they do. For example: the housing market, property taxes, education, crime, education, job opportunities, and family roots. Every community needs skilled workers along with every other type of work to create a revenue for each locality to grow. If Ohio can better fund municipalities for stronger, safer communities, we would attract, not only skilled workers, but community workers, and retain more working age adults to Ohio.

Do you think the taxation rates in Ohio are in line with similar states for middle class, working families? If not, how would you fix this?

There is a varied burden of local property, school, etc. taxes that divide us from properly funded schools, public libraries, fire, police, and municipalities. Because statewide taxes are not being funneled towards our municipalities, schools, etc. the middle working class families carry the majority of the weight of the shortcoming, while the very wealthy do not. No one wants to pay taxes, but everyone wants good schools, a safe community, and good roads and bridges. In order to fix the division of how communities pay taxes, Ohio must reevaluate how they fund communities to guarantee what their taxes are paying.

Where do renewables (nuclear, solar, wind etc.) fit into the future of Ohio’s energy supply?

It is not only about Ohio’s energy supply, it is about our national power services. We must look to optional energy sources to meet the demands of Ohio’s power resources that are economically affordable and safe. This in turn can be an opportunity for Ohio to create jobs by supplying equipment to build and create renewable energy resources and Ohio-trained engineers to operate these systems. I do not believe we should be dependent on limited sources of energy, but rather create renewable energy to benefit all Ohioians.

With the U.S. Supreme Court overturning Roe v. Wade, what are your feelings? Since it was overturned, what should the state of Ohio do to ensure a woman’s right of choice?

There will never be an agreement on Roe v. Wade. However, whatever one’s belief or outcome, women deserve health insurance that assures her the best and most accurate information to make a decision on her and the child’s health without concern of cost. Education plays a major role in women’s decision on having children. Ohio should properly fund public education that creates learning opportunities and successes for women, assure funded family leave, and treat women with the respect they deserve.

The skyrocketing price of fuel is affecting both the worker and the person wanting to go on vacation. Should the state of Ohio put a pause on gas taxes until the prices go down?

If Ohio wants vacation monies spent in Ohio to help support local tourist communities, small locally owned businesses, and working families, then yes.

School districts are facing a shortage of teachers, bus drivers and other staff members to help educate Ohio’s children. What do you think should be done to get more employees for the districts?

Educators are overworked, salaries are declining, health insurance costs are rising, and increased cuts in budgets are statewide. Classroom pressures have been building for years with increased amounts of unpaid professional development, unsafe working conditions, and personal attacks by students, parents, and school boards.

There was a time when educators were respected, trusted, and admired. Today, they are spit on, accused of grooming, denied teaching material due to banning books and materials, and their classrooms have become killing fields.

End the shortage by fixing school funding and create a safe and professional learning environment for educators to do their jobs.