Two vie for Ohio House 20th District seat


By Rick Palsgrove
Southeast Editor


On Nov. 8, voters in Canal Winchester, Groveport, Madison Township, and Reynoldsburg will choose between two candidates who are in the running to be state representative for the 20th Ohio House District.

Incumbent State Representative Heather Bishoff, a Democrat, will face challenger Lisa Schacht, a Republican.

Bishoff has a bachelor’s degree in finance from Franklin University and  MBA coursework in organizational leadership. She is a licensed registered representative with FINRA. She and her husband and have owned their own financial planning firm for the last 16 years. She has served on the Gahanna-Jefferson Board of Education and in the U.S. Army Reserve where she earned Distinguished Honor Graduate, the Army Commendation Medal, and was Ohio Soldier of the Year in 1996.

Schacht is a graduate of The Ohio State University and is a business owner and manager of Schacht Farm Market, established in 1981 serving the central Ohio region as a consistent source of homegrown fruits and vegetables. She is also a business member at large commissioner of the Greater Southeast Area Commission of City of Columbus. She has served as the president of the Ohio Produce Growers and Marketers Association and has the distinction of being the only woman to be elected to this highest office of the association.

How would you improve the method for funding public schools?

Heather Bishoff: “We have to stop mingling public school funds with charter schools. Our funding formula applies to 40 percent of schools. It should apply to all schools. Many schools don’t receive all of the funding due them. We are penalized for having growing communities and growing student populations. Locally the difference is picked up through our property taxes.”

Lisa Schacht: “I support moving the funding to a combination of income tax on the local and state levels in place of property tax. I support attributing more of the casino and lottery revenue toward school funding. I oppose utilizing a sales tax for school revenue because I consider it a regressive tax.”

How would you stimulate economic growth in the area?

Bishoff: “The best way to stimulate the economy is the majority of our population having discretionary income. According to Jobs Ohio, the average salary covering a household is $50,000. The average income in this district is $40,000. That $50,000 is still stretching every penny. There is an over reliance on a community’s property taxes.  Each community and generation is different in their ability to pay.  Seniors have lived in their homes for decades and are on fixed incomes. Two years ago the state applied a stringent means test to the homestead exemption that has removed many  seniors from qualifying restricting their monthly cash flow.”

Schacht: “The diversity of the district  requires different efforts according to the various areas. The rural townships wish to preserve their character and may be best helped by the suburb and urban areas providing employment opportunity. These areas need to have their assets identified and promoted. This requires collaboration among the various stakeholders and investment in coordinating the access to the needed resources for development. I intend to draw on MORPC, Jobs Ohio, all interested local businesses, local government administrations and state agencies for input.”

How would you address public infrastructure needs in the area?

Bishoff: “The southeast side of Franklin County is home to over 200 distribution and advanced manufacturing companies.  But this area has not seen adequate expansion of our freeways. We have trucks traveling on these roads which drive up cost and increase the frequency of maintainance. Expansion of roadways is not just about filling pot holes, it’s about safety and  economic development. Companies flying into the area to look at job sites are more inclined to go with areas with efficient in and out access to those proposed facilities.”

Schacht: “Because of the various political subdivisions in the district, there needs to be an effort to forge partnerships. I would look at the two major highways crossing the district. U.S. Route 33 and I-70 at Brice Road need to be moved up in priority for improvements. This is connected to economic growth. Identifying the needs and advantages for economic development provides a focus for what projects are needed. There is opportunity in the non-traditional infrastructure arena like fiber optics. Introducing or attracting investment for developing new systems is possible.”

How would you help preserve green space in the area?

Bishoff: “One of the great efforts in the last decade or so is the idea of community planning. One of the aspects of this is tying our communities together with walking paths and green space. Consider how we value aspects of green space. For example, the only time we value a tree is the money one pays for the wood after it’s cut down.  If we incent to remove green space then that’s where the free market will naturally take us. If we incent to retain or add green space we could work to reverse trends.”

Schacht: “District 20 has three rural townships. I understand the attitude of the residents is to maintain these territories as closely to the current condition as possible.   I encourage the local officials and community leaders to develop area plans that identify the priority of green space objectives. I recommend soliciting private and public monies to support these plans. If such plans identify means that need state policy introduction or reform, I am committed the requests to be thoroughly vetted.”

What would you like to accomplish if elected?

Bishoff: “Things I’ve proudly worked on and will continue to focus on: School funding as stated earlier. Infrastructure improvements and economic strategies as stated previously. Retention and attraction of new missions for our Central Ohio military bases. Our military represents careers, economic stabilization, and opportunity for young people. The heroine epidemic. I’ve volunteered to work on the special committee on everything from prevention, chain of custody for drugs to wrap around treatment and the governor’s task force to help more on the prevention side.”

Schacht: “My primary objective if elected is to be responsive to the residents of the district and the local officials of the various jurisdictions. I will work to find the best solutions for the issues of the district. I will strive to engage the various stakeholders of the district to stimulate investment and development of new opportunities for the community. I, also, will continue the effort of the General Assembly and the Governor to reduce waste and improve the functions of government.”


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