Candidates for 95th district discuss education

Don Jones and Dan Milleson await questions on Tuesday evening during the town hall meeting at the American Legion in Marietta. (Photo by Chad Plauche-Adkins)

Candidates for the Ohio House District 95 answered the call of Education Works of Southeast Ohio Tuesday evening. Don Jones and Dan Milleson took questions centered around education during a town hall meeting at the American Legion in Marietta.

Both candidates began their political careers because of their issues with the education system in Harrison County.

“Running for office wasn’t on my radar a year ago. But I became frustrated with being in a broken system,” said Jones, a teacher of 23 years at Harrison Central High School.

Milleson’s political start began after education levies failed to pass in Harrison County. So he formed a political action group in order to pass the most recent levy, he said.

The majority of the questions asked by Education Works were focused on where school districts are to get and how to spend funds.

Both candidates agreed that funding early education was vital to the overall success of the student.

“One third of kids under 6 live in poverty in Appalachia. We need to make sure (students) are well fed, well kept and well educated,” said Milleson.

“The sooner we start working with kids the sooner we can identify their problems,” commented Jones.

But a funding model for early education will take time because every school district is different, said Jones

Both candidates were disappointed with the promised funds from the state lottery system.

“We really didn’t gain anything in the education world from the lottery,” said Jones.

“The lottery requires a great deal of transparency to give people the feeling that it is doing what it was meant to do,” Milleson said.

Their feelings about protecting students came to light when asked if teachers should be armed. Urban areas like Cleveland and Columbus have a different relationship with firearms than rural areas, said Milleson.

“Southeast Ohio has a tradition and a respect for firearms. You’ve got to rely on the school board of each district due to the diversity of the state,” said Milleson.

“To go to a gunfight with a knife isn’t a good idea. I think we need people carrying firearms besides the resource officers,” said Jones.

The candidates are running in the Nov. 6 general election. The deadline to register to vote in this election is Oct. 9.