COLUMBUS, Ohio — There are some key races coming up in both the state's House and Senate.
One of them is for the 36th House District in northeast Ohio, which makes up portions of southern Summit County including the city of Akron. There are two candidates who currently work side-by-side vying to fill the open seat.
The 36th House District seat has been occupied by one of the more powerful state representatives the last eight years: Assistant Majority Floor Leader and Republican Anthony DeVitis. Now that the former Green City Council member is term limited, two city council rivals are hope they will to replace him.
Republican Bob Young, born and raised in Green, is serving his second term on city council. He says if he is given the chance to move to the Statehouse, his top priority will be to remain equally as accessible to his constituents.
"If people wanna talk to their state representative, I'm gonna be here. You can call me on my phone. Sometimes when officials get elected, they come out every election season and say 'Here I am! Vote for me!' and I'll see you in two or four years," Young said.
Democratic candidate Matthew Shaughnessy, also in the middle of his second term on city council, said his main focus is keeping the economy going even amidst the pandemic.
“It’s not the time to step off the gas. It’s time to approve projects that I’ve already been built. It’s time to invest in Ohio so that Ohio continues to run on all cylinders," said Shaugnessy.
Shaughnessy is also a former Cleveland Police officer who says the systemic racial injustice needs to stop and cops need better training.
“I never felt that threatened because policeman have the power. At any moment, I had the power to call upon 10 other officers,” Shaughnessy explained.
Meanwhile, Young sees it another way.
"I'm sure that there are problems with equality in the state, in the community, around the country. I think sometimes the media blows these things out of proportion," said Young.
Neither candidate say they have a specific plan to give Ohioans better access to affordable healthcare. Young also just says when it comes to job creation the government should stay out of it. Shaughnessy believes Ohio needs to attract renewable energy companies and do a better job protecting certain industries.
“Jobs like automotive industry, where we lost Lordstown plant, the GM Lordstown plant. We have to really work to replace that and protect those jobs,” said Shaughnessy.
Despite DeVitis hanging onto the seat for eight years, it could be a real challenge for Young to keep it for Republicans considering Summit County went blue in the 2018 midterms and in 2016 for Hillary Clinton