Saturday, October 23, 2004
Veteran, novice face off in 53rd
By John Kiesewetter
Enquirer staff writer
OXFORD - Miami University senior Scott Siebel faced the tough question: Will he stay in the Ohio 53rd House District if he loses to incumbent Shawn Webster on Nov. 2?
Education: In December completes bachelor's degree at Miami University.
Quote: "I'm a 22-year-old college student, and I don't have the same old ideas that all the other politicians have."
Hometown: Hanover Township
Experience: Legislator since 2001; Ross Board of Education, 1981-93; Butler County Education Services board, 1994-2000.
Education: Doctor of veterinary medicine, Ohio State University.
Personal: Wife, Penny; three children.
Quote: "If we don't change the path we're on, Medicaid will consume the state budget. We won't have to worry about school funding, because we won't have any money left."
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"I really don't know," replied Siebel, 22, an Akron-area native who graduates in December with a political science degree. "I want to get a job, either staying in Oxford, Southwestern Ohio or the Cincinnati area, or I'll go to law school. After Nov. 3, I'll have a new plan."
Siebel has concentrated his campaigning in Oxford, even though the district encompasses two-thirds of Butler County, from Middletown to Indiana. Most of his $485 in campaign donations came from students and friends, he said.
Unseating Webster, 54, will be tough. The Hanover Township veterinarian has been a popular vote-getter for 23 years, four in the legislature and 19 for the Ross and county school boards.
"I've had a business in the district for 27 years. I raised my family in the district. I know the district, and I think my values reflect the district," Webster said.
They agree on the biggest issue - reducing the reliance on property taxes for school funding. Webster favors using sales or income taxes for schools; Siebel proposes increasing business taxes and income taxes on those earning more than $100,000.
"I would close the loopholes for businesses so businesses would pay their fair share," Siebel said.
Siebel also advocates tax incentives for technology corporations and more money to retrain those who have lost manufacturing jobs. "The state needs to be more worried about the person than the (loss of) jobs, because the person stays after the job goes," he said.
Webster talks about budget and program cuts the legislature must consider next year. The state faces a $2.5-billion deficit when a temporary one-cent sales-tax hike expires in June. He opposes extending that tax. "We need to reduce spending and cut services. We can't continue to be everything to everyone," Webster said. "I'm not scared of making tough choices. I don't have tremendous political aspirations for the future, and that's kind of freeing to me. I'm not couching my votes on what's next politically for me."
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