On Thursday, September 27th, our first event for the day took us to Mentor’s Holiday Inn, where we attended Lake County Candidates and Issues Luncheon put on by a combination of the Eastern Lake County Chamber of Commerce (of which we are members), Mentor Area Chamber of Commerce, and the Willoughby-Western Lake County Chamber of Commerce.
The program featured a speaker on behalf of a ballot initiative pertaining to Lakeland Community College as well as sixteen candidates all vying for various local, state, and federal offices in the Lake County area including County Commissioner and Auditor, state representative and state senator, judgeships on the Common Pleas and 11th District Court of Appeals Courts, and United States Representative.
The program was coordinated by Mr. Ray Paganini, the President and CEO of CornerstoneIT, who gave each of the candidates two minutes to speak. Along these lines, Mr. Paganini urged them to refer to their opponents as “my opponent” and to avoid personal insults.
We admit that we came to this luncheon feeling a bit guarded due to the contentious nature of the current political climate; indeed, things did get a little acrimonious between County Commissioner Dan Troy (Democrat) and his opponent, Ohio State Representative Ron Young (Republican) in what is perhaps the closest political contest taking place in Lake County this Fall.
Otherwise, everyone seemed to respect each other and the dialogue was quite civil. In fact, almost all of the candidates focused entirely on their own backgrounds and why they were qualified to hold the offices that they sought; they hardly ever referred to their opponents at all and had no problem warmly shaking hands with them. In fact, one candidate got a laugh when he referred to his opponent as “my facebook friend.”
Comfortingly, it was often said during the various presentations that it was very important for office holders to put aside their political ideologies and work together for the best interests of their constituents.
With no problem at all, County Auditor Edward Zupancic (Republican) and his opponent Mr. Joe Shriver (Democrat) posed for a photo together (as did several other candidates competing for the same office) and said that they had agreed to remain genuine friends both before and after the election.
After working in political campaigns for as long as we have, it was good to see mature adults compete for public office who conduct themselves with dignity.