Education, jobs and law enforcement are the major issues incumbent Ohio Sen. Theresa Gavarone, R-Bowling Green, is focused on with this campaign. She also stands on her record as an incumbent, noting her hand in several pieces of legislation.
Gavarone is the Republican candidate for the Ohio Senate District 2. She was appointed in 2019 having served in the Ohio House since 2016.
“With education and jobs we have to make sure our kids are prepared. Whether that next step is going to college, or the workforce, we have to make sure education is meeting our workforce needs.”
She also recognizes issues that the coronavirus pandemic has revealed in the law enforcement community.
“I think it’s important that we are hearing from officers who are putting boots on the ground and people in the community to make interactions safer for everyone,” said Gavarone. “I think it is important that we have those conversations and listen to the people in the community and their perspective, but I think it’s really important that law enforcement is involved in the conversation and the solutions.”
There are also technological changes brought about by the pandemic that she hopes to continue work on improving.
Gavarone listed off several things that have changed and will be long term improvements, such as: holding meetings remotely, telemedicine and rural broadband connectivity.
In September 2019 she introduced a bill, which is in committee, that would allow voters to request an absentee ballot online.
“Security is very important on that, making sure that the system is secure and ready to go. I think it’s important that we’re not rushing through. We want to make sure that as you go to vote, that vote counts.
Gavarone also did a broad cyber-security bill.
“It went into effect. Look how important that is now, as people are working remotely and with computers. It did a lot of things. It had election security that (now) requires audits. We want to make sure that things are being done properly, but also it created the cyber reserve team that, in the event of a cyber attack, we have a specially trained group of volunteers that can be deployed in the event the governor declares an emergency.”
It would allow public institutions, local governments or a private business that are under attack to reach out to the state for help.
“When moments count, a cyber reserve group can deployed, if it is beyond the organization’s abilities,” said Gavarone.
Jobs and education are linked for Gavarone.
“I think it’s important that we look at education and make sure our kids are fitting the workforce and the skills and education we’re providing our kids. The career tech schools, K through 12, community college and four-year colleges are providing for our workforce to fit those needs. We want to make sure that as we come out of this pandemic and things hopefully get back to normal, that we’re stronger, and that we come out better than ever.”
She has also been a supporter for Lake Erie clean-up legislation.
“Lake Erie, that is the gem of our state, and not just for our area, but for the state as a whole. For so many reasons, drinking water, recreation and tourism,” Gavarone said.
She supported the omnibus H2Ohio legislation that is meant to protect Lake Erie.
“I supported the unprecedented amount of funding for water quality projects. I did sponsor Senate Joint Resolution 1, which would create a bond fund over a 10-year span of a billion dollars of money that could not be diverted, in the event of an economic downturn,” said Gavarone. “I think it’s important that we continue to improve Lake Erie. There’s been a lot going on this year, clearly, but we can’t lose sight of how important it is to continue to preserve Lake Erie.”
Gavarone also commented on the scandal associated with House Bill 6, which was reportedly a bailout for FirstEnergy and their nuclear power plants.
“The allegations against Larry Householder, and others, are really serious. I believe in the judicial system and that any wrong-doers will be brought to justice. It’s important to note that I voted against Larry Householder, along with a majority of Republicans,” she said.
Her vote took place while she was still a house member. She was appointed to the Senate within the first month of the 2019 session.
“Davis-Besse is located in the 2nd Senate District and I support the thousands of good paying jobs and what Davis-Besse means for the local schools and emergency services, libraries and not to mention that nuclear accounts for nearly 90% of Ohio’s carbon-free energy,” Gavarone said.
Gavarone is a graduate of Bowling Green State University and has a law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law. She is an attorney and the co-owner of Mr. Spots restaurant with her husband, Jim.