Election 2012: Gardner tries to return to Ohio SenateWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
State Rep. Randy Gardner is looking to return to the Ohio Senate, where he had previously served from 2001-08.
Sen. Mark Wagoner decided not to seek re-election for District 2, made up of parts of Lucas, Wood, Erie and Ottawa counties.
Gardner’s opponent, Democrat Jeff Bretz of North Baltimore, did not return repeated calls for comment.
Gardner said Wagoner and other leaders encouraged him to run. He served in the Ohio House from 1985 to 2000 and again in 2008, representing the 6th district. Before entering politics, Gardner was an educator and his father was a superintendent.
“Education has always been very important to me. It just gives me an additional perspective of something that’s very important to our state and country,” he said.
During his political career, Gardner has “had an important impact in a number of areas, most recently in terms of dealing with Lake Erie,” he said.
Gardner sponsored the Healthy Lake Erie Fund legislation, which allocated $3 million to combating the lake’s algae issues.
“That’s really an important issue. It’s also a jobs issue because there are literally tens of thousands of jobs at stake if we don’t have a healthy Lake Erie,” he said.
Like many candidates this year, Gardner advocated taking a look at regulations on businesses.
“We have to look at every single regulation,” he said. “We have to ask the question, ‘Why? Why do we have that law? Why do we have the rule?”
Gardner also said the government needs to work on collaborative efforts for education, offering as an example working with high schools and colleges to facilitate early credit.
“I think it makes a lot of sense. It can save money for the student and it can help a student be more active in their college major,” he said.
Gardner also introduced the TARTA Voter’s Rights Amendment. The legislation allows TARTA members to vote on if they want to continue to use the system — leading to Perrysburg voting to cut it.
The legislation also allows for communities not served by TARTA to join for a three-year period. About 70,000 Lucas County residents are not served by TARTA, Gardner said.
“That issue has never been about TARTA for me. It has always been about giving communities the right to discuss their transportation needs,” he said.
“Ironically, my amendment was an attempt to provide more transportation,” Gardner said. “It’s disturbing that some people are upset by giving voters a choice.”