PHOTO: Tea Party Debate

Monty Lobb (foreground) and Ron Hood, Republican primary candidates for the 78th Ohio House District, spoke at a Hocking Hills Tea Party Patriot meeting this week.


LOGAN — The two GOP candidates running for the 78th Ohio House District expressed their political views during a debate at a Hocking Hills Tea Party Patriots gathering this week.

Ron Hood and Monty Lobb — competing for votes in the March 6 primary — spoke on a number of topics ranging from concealed and carry gun laws to exotic animal legislation, and answered questions of those in attendance.

Ron Hood of Ashville introduced himself first. Hood, a former state representative, is running for his third tour of duty in state office. He is pro-life, for gun rights and for reducing the state budget.

“The state’s budget has grown from $30 billion to $60 billion in the past 20 years,” he said. “This type of growth is not sustainable. The nature of the legislator is to spend more money and they want to spend other people’s money, which is even worse.”

He said he was discouraged by the slow change he found in the capitol during his first term from 1995 to 2000, and the only way to keep the legislature productive is pressure from the outside, from constituents.

“Electing good people to the state legislature doesn’t get the job done; good people go bad after they get elected to the legislature. You have to be vigilant and hold them accountable,” Hood said. “If elected to state legislature, I look forward to working with you and look forward to having you to hold my feet to the fire. I will continue fight for principles of smaller government, lower taxes, free markets, right to gun ownership, pro-life; these are the issues I care about.”

Monty Lobb of Fairfield County is the president of Kenosis Limited, an organizational change consulting firm.

“You need to know my philosophy to know my world views,” Lobb said. Lobb, who is an attorney, follows William Blackstone’s school of law, which teaches man is created by God and granted fundamental rights by God and man’s law must be based on God’s law. According to Lobb, several Founding Fathers referred to Blackstone, and his teachings are ingrained in the nation’s most important documents.

“An elected leader ought to be a person of high character,” Lobb said.

In order for legislators to accomplish anything, there needs to be communication with citizens and feedback on how proposed ideas would effect them, Lobb continued.

“When crafting policy, we need local people to help with it. Collaboration is key. Then and only then, do I believe there is an opportunity for community wholeness,” he said.

The question and answer section of the debate started with a question about communication.

What is the best way to let legislators know what we think?

“One of the problems with e-mail and more electronic media is there is always a problem being spammed with a lot of this,” Hood said. “One thing I think works well is good old-fashioned post cards. Folks listen. It gets folks concerned and we know it’s a concern coming from someone in the district.”

“You can always turn up the heat with surveys or lists of people [who feel a certain way about an issue] with names and signatures and say we have this many people who can vote in your district,” Lobb said. “That always speaks to politicians and elected officials.”

How can you improve current conceal and carry gun laws?

“The folks I know who are gun owners, they care the most about safety and are the most law-abiding people. To me, it’s our God-given right to carry and be able to defend yourself, so why do I have to justify where I take it?” Lobb said. “I would try to work to say you should ought to be able to carry them anywhere [on public property].”

“All gun laws do is keep law-abiding citizens from exercising their Constitutional rights. [These regulations] are only hurting law-abiding citizens,” Hood said. “I strongly support Constitutional carry; any current prohibitions in law is ludicrous. The right to bear arms is a right we have.”

How can we prompt high-speed Internet expansion in the area?

“To me, the best option you have is to is to work directly with the providers and get them to understand the importance of getting it to those areas that don’t have it,” Hood said. “We want to keep it in the private sector; we don’t want to be a government that lords over people and says people have a right to this. We want to get it without trampling the Constitution or overreaching as state legislators.”

“[Broadband] is a wonderful avenue for folks here to have access to create their own work and do business. It's a top priority,” Lobb said. “Part of the role of a state legislator is to be an advocate and bulldog [for constituents].”

What do you see as the future for alternative energy?

“I’m all for alternative energy when it works and makes sense and is cost effective, but I do not believe in the government mandating so,” Hood said. “There are alternative energy forms that make sense, but to force it on the market is picking winners and losers in the economy.”

“The government needs to stay out and let the free market enterprise pick this,” Lobb said. “I don’t believe [the government] should be picking it. If it is sustainable, cost effective and good, then it will win out.”

What do you think of the exotic animal legislation?

“Whenever there is an incident, there is a public outcry and pass a bunch of things to make sure nothing like that happens again. This is one of those incidences,” Hood said. “The average state legislator governs by crisis … taking away freedoms. We need to take a step back, take emotion out of this and see if it is the role of the state legislature to get involved in this.”

“When I've talked with folks there [in Muskingum County] about this they told me if folks just followed the laws already on the books, [the escaped exotic animals] incident would never have happened,” Lobb said. “Let's just enforce the laws already on the books instead of coming up with new ones.”

What is the primary goal of government?

“Too often government wants to just throw money at issues,” Lobb said. “We just need to bring people together and let them talk and say what are the issues and what do we need to do about them.”

“Government has the responsibility of protecting the freedoms of its citizens and to defend the Constitution,” Hood said. “The government has strayed far from that goal. The government needs to protect God-given freedoms of its citizens and quit trying to be God.”

Where would you propose state budget cuts?

“On the state level, there is a problem because the state budget has doubled in the past 20 years. About 85 percent of the budget is under lock and key [for entitlement programs, Medicaid, collective bargaining, etc.]. We cannot make change unless people with courage are willing to slay some of the sacred cows in Columbus,” Hood said.

“I don’t know a specific agency [that I would cut], but I know of some things that ought to happen,” Lobb said. “Right now, [state agencies] don’t have to start at zero when justifying their budget for the next year. I think there should be a zero-based budget."

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