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Two Falls residents face off for District 2 County Council seat

By PHIL KEREN Cuyahoga Falls News-Press Editor Published: November 6, 2016 12:00 AM

Incumbent Democrat John Schmidt will vie for re-election to Summit County Council's District 2 post against Republican Nick Subak on Nov. 8.

Schmidt

Schmidt has served as a lawmaker for three decades: He was a Cuyahoga Falls City Councilman for 20 years and has now served on County Council for 10 years.

"My experience, dedication and proven ability gives me the knowledge to serve the citizens of the Second District effectively," said Schmidt.

A significant problem facing the area is the opiate crisis.

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According to Schmidt, "a surge" in the amount of people who need treatment for addiction has resulted in "a shortage of space in treatment facilities in the area."

"On the county level, more resources have been dedicated to this problem," said Schmidt, a Cuyahoga Falls resident. "We must treat the epidemic aggressively and help those affected become productive, contributing members of the community once again."

Another challenge facing county government is the reduction in the state's Local Government Fund.

"The state has slashed the Local Government Fund, negatively affecting local communities across the state," said Schmidt. "They have balanced the state budget on the backs of counties, cities, villages and townships. This has had a deleterious impact. I have urged our state legislators to restore the cuts. Until they do so, we will experience cuts in vital services and infrastructure improvement that are desperately needed."

Gun sales, particularly at the Summit County Fairgrounds, is also an issue that was brought up in a separate County Council candidate forum.

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While saying he supports the Second Amendment of the U.S. Constitution, Schmidt noted, "we must do all we can to keep guns out of the hands of criminals."

He added County Council does not have control over who the Fair Board rents its facilities to.

Subak

Subak, who also lives in Cuyahoga Falls, said he believes he has the work ethic for the job.

"I am an extremely hard worker who will always go the extra mile to get the job done," said Subak. "I always strive to get along with everyone I work with and will do everything in my abilities to create and maintain a pleasant work environment."

He felt there needs to be an awareness of the opiate crisis and an effort to be as proactive as possible in fighting the problem.

"I am not sure if the DARE program is still running in the schools but including this again might very well serve as an effective deterrent from opiate addiction," said Subak. "Certainly keep the programs running now that deal with addictions that have already taken place, but I believe nipping this problem in the bud by enforcing early warnings will stave off the issue better."

Regarding the Local Government Fund, Subak said there should be an effort to improve the economic climate so that the lost funds are replaced.

"Some examples involve removing blighted areas to ultimately make the surrounding area attractive to business owners and also encourage workers to follow more health-conscious practices to attempt to curb long-term dependence on some types of medical services," said Subak.

He added that the county is doing its part to reduce expenses by mandating that workers pay a larger amount of their health care costs, setting up a temporary hiring freeze and consolidating some office services.

"These measures are commendable and they have had positive benefits but there is still a lot more work to be done," said Subak.

While noting that owning firearms is a "constitutionally-granted right," Subak added, "I believe everyone can agree that they can be destructive when placed in the wrong hands."

When firearms are sold at places like the county fairgrounds, Subak stated, "there is often little to no opportunity for the vendors to verify the mental health and/or criminal background status of the potential buyer. I believe that these types of sales, per the right granted by the Second Amendment, can and should take place, but in a very thorough, careful manner to help eliminate the chances that they are going to someone who can't responsibly use them."

Email: pkeren@recordpub.com

Phone: 330-541-9421


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