MIAMI COUNTY — The annual Meet the Candidates Night crowd filled the Troy Junior High School auditorium on Wednesday to hear from the Democratic representatives to Congress in the 8th District and Republican candidates for state representative for the 80th district.
The forum featured candidates in the May 8 Primary Election, including Democratic representatives to Congress, 8th District: Bill Ebben of West Chester, Dr. Vanessa Enoch of West Chester, Matthew J. Guyette of Greenville, and Ted Jones of Piqua. There is no Republican primary race. The 8th Congressional District includes Miami, Darke, Clark, Preble, and Butler Counties and a portion of southern Mercer County.
Republican candidates for State Representative, 80th District included George H. Lovett of Tipp City, John W. O’Brien of Monroe Twp., Jena Powell of Arcanum, and J.D. Winteregg of Troy. There is no Democratic primary race. The 80th District includes all of Miami County and the southern portion of Darke County.
State representatives for the 80th District addressed arming teachers.
Lovett shared how DARE officers in the Tipp City Schools provide protection.
“I think something along those lines where you have a trained professional who is well versed in handling fire arms is probably a much better response. We are already asking our teachers to do an awful lot. Asking them to now become masters of that art, I think we are pushing things a bit too far,” Lovett said.
Lovett said schools should focus more on “common sense security” and having more resource officers available to provide more security.
O’Brien said the decision to arm teachers should be left to the local school district and should not be mandated by the state or federal government.
“In Miami County, Sheriff (David) Duchak has worked with the local schools to come up with a program to have arms in the schools that teachers and administrators who want to go through their program and get trained by the sheriff’s office and get qualified with a firearm by the sheriff’s office and devise a plan can do it,” he said, noting local schools who are evaluating such programs at this time. “If a local school wants to arm staff, the local school district should make that decision. We also need to make sure our schools are secure with the proper equipment.”
Powell said student safety is of the ut-most importance and school security is on the front of the public’s mind with recent school shooting events.
“When it comes to our children’s safety that should not be mandated at the state level because every school is different, just like every child is different,” she said, noting she had met with both the Darke County and Miami County sheriffs. “We need to work specifically with the local school district, the parents, and the local sheriff’s office to come and say how to keep our children safe and the best possible way to do that,” she said.
Winteregg also said he believes the issue is up to the local school district, but “there are ways and things they can do to prevent things like this from happening.” Winteregg shared how he worked at Dayton Public Schools where metal detectors were in the buildings and found them effective deterrents. Winteregg also noted his experience in a rural school district where active shooter training was part of their training.
“The fact of the matter is that the state needs to stop taking money from the local areas so the local areas can fund their own things. Our sheriff’s department isn’t even at its funding pre-recession, they need help so they can offer these solutions to our local schools,” he said.
Due to deadline constraints, more of the Meet the Candidates Night questions and answers will appear in the Friday edition of the Troy Daily News.