Candidates For Ohio State Representative Debate

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Democrat Incumbent Debbie Phillips and Republican Yolan Dennis debated in the race for the 94th District State Representative at the Athens Library on Monday.

The 94th districts runs through Athens, Meigs, and parts of Vinton and Washington counties.

Among topics such as abortion rights, climate change, and worker's rights, Dennis and Phillips touched on the Southeastern economy and the issue of Common Core.

On the economy, Phillips argued that Southeastern Ohio is on a positive rise towards bettering the economy.

"If there are people that take a negative view economically I think they're just looking at the success stories. We've done a lot of really strong economic networking and development of models that work well in the region," said Phillips.

Dennis countered that citizens are struggling for jobs and that the future of jobs is in the coal and energy industry.

"All kinds of things can lead us in the right direction economically with the energy industry. We also need to include coal in that. The local industry need to be supported as much as possible," said Dennis.

On education, Dennis argued against Common Core standards. Her reasoning against Common Core included that in her experience with constituents, the response was generally towards a repeal of Common Core.

"There are a lot of issues that surround Common Core, I believe that it takes away the power and decision making of our local educators, our teachers, and our parents," said Dennis. Dennis said that many parents ask her why, if Common Core isn't a curriculum, teachers still have to teach specific kinds of textbooks and particular subjects.

Phillips said that while Common Core does have structural issues, it is still needed. She said that Common Core was established to better prepare graduating high school seniors for college, and to set a high standard of learning across the nation.

"We have not been doing what we need to do for students and setting the bar high is a reasonable thing to do. There are implementation issues but there is no required curriculum," said Dennis.

If elected on November 4th, Phillips will serve her fourth and final two-year term.