Saturday, July 15, 2006

Meet Stephen Dyer

Tuesday night SCPD PAC heard from Stephen Dyer, Democratic nominee for Ohio 43rd House District. Currently occupied by Mary Taylor who is running for Auditor against Democrat Barbara Sykes. The SCPD PAC meeting was pretty typical in that we had a ton of agenda items

Steve took the stage in the middle of the chaos for a five minute stump. He knew he was in friendly company when he announced that he was running for Taylor’s seat to a smattering of applause. He extemporized a couple more applause lines: “I have a button for my son saying ‘Vote for my daddy, not theirs.’” My opponent Chris Croce told ABJ that Plinton case was “nothing more than a minor marijuana case.”

Background: ABJ reporter 8 years. Just graduated from law school. Now working on the Summit County Executive’s office.

I’m running because I got sick of writing the same story out of Columbus. The story goes like this: We’re in a crisis. We are slipping. State legislature has the chance to turn this around.

The State no longer sees itself as its brother’s keeper and I believe I am.

I hate the most our school funding system. Half of the community hates the other half for taxing them. New Mexico since 1974 has more equitable system. Lower property, sales and income taxes. Because they had the will.

ABJ ran a story “Ohio look at the state we’re in. I thought that might catalyze change but it did not.

Organization downstate called rural Center for Higher Education. Makes a big deal of college trips, college acceptance letters posted. Started in Newcomerstown. Went form 20% to 80% of students matriculating to college.

The one panacea for life is education. With a BA you make an extra million dollars over your lifetime. Taft and the Republicans have closed the door to that million dollar promise to thousands of Ohio kids.

I am an eighth generation Summit County resident. My son is an 8th generation Summit County resident.

Later this week Steve sat down with YellowDogSammy and me for an extended conversation. I left my notes in Ohio, so this is what I remember plus a few impressions. If I find something worth noting in my notes, I’ll update. You can read YDS's extensive post about our conversation here.

More on his background: Graduated from Tufts with a BA in English in 1994 and from Kent with a journalism degree. His original thought was to use his journalism degree as a political consultant.

We had a wide-ranging discussion. It’s clear he has done some serious research in developing his platform. The New Mexico school funding system isn’t really on the radar screen of funding reform advocates, but he dug up some interesting information about it.

This is a young man with serious game. At the stump he is smooth without seeming slick. In person he’s a policy wonk’s dream. Just having someone in the Statehouse who understands the pitfalls of funding on a per-pupil basis would be a giant step. He’s also got that recently-minted lawyer thing where he actually remembers stuff from law school.

According to Steve, the race is targeted by the House Caucus and District is “indexed” Democratic – that is registered Dems outnumber R’s. Steve has staff and anticipates money enough for TV and radio buys and GOTV. He has a website up which looks decent, but desperately needs a new headshot.

As it happens I’ve worked with his opponent Christine Croce. She’s just not a likeable person. The more voters Steve is able to meet, the better he will do. It doesn’t work that way for Croce. House 43 is a potential pickup that hasn't been getting a whole lot of attention.


Jill said...

It's really nice to hear about candidates like this. Thanks, Scott.