Editor’s note: Each Republican candidate for 85th District state representative was invited by the Sidney Daily News and the Urbana Daily Citizen to participate in a survey. The candidates are Tim Barhorst, Rochiel Foulk and Lilli Vitale. The surveys are being published in a series of articles in the alphabetical order of last name. No Democrats filed for the Primary election, which will be held on Aug. 2.
Name: Rochiel Foulk
Biography: Born in Urbana, Ohio, I am 67, own a small farm, started, and operated several businesses, taught briefly, worked in health care, and grew up in a family of six. My parents were both schoolteachers, county commissioners, farmers, and law enforcement officers. I was married and have a stepdaughter. I live in Urbana. Sewing is my hobby.
My education includes Urbana High School, O.S.U. (B.A.), CHSN (Nursing Pin), Capital Law (Paralegal Cert.), U.S.C. Law School (M.A. in Law & Grad. Cert. in Compliance). I am working on my Doctorate in Law and Public Policy.
Question 1.) Should Ohio spend more to arm and train teachers and school staff to secure its public schools from random gun violence?
Ohio has already recently taken measures to strengthen school security. I agree with those measures and believe that if a school system wants to allow qualified school staff to carry, they should be able to make that decision, locally. Recently, our Ohio Gov. signed into law, House Bill 99, which allows local school boards of education to decide whether they need staff to be able to carry firearms and, also to determine how much training school staff might be required to undergo. I also agree with the increased amounts of grant money included in the new capital budget for schools which would enable to upgrading of building security and provide staff training to assist in pre-emptively identifying problems.
Question 2.) What should Ohio do to attract and retain more working-age adults to the state with crucial skills (electricians, mechanics, plumbers, etc.)?
To attract more working-age adults with crucial skills, Ohio would benefit by creating an atmosphere of opportunities for potential employees to grow in their careers. Trying to attract new innovative companies to Ohio, such as Intel, would help. But also, offering existing companies training on learning how to let their potential employees know that they and Ohio are invested in their career development and can offer job security, would also attract younger trade employees. Companies can be taught that they can structure an employment package that could include employer assistance in skill expansion and certification, which, would in turn, help their company grow. Other types of training assistance for employers might be in the use of social media platforms where younger employees frequent and communicate. Companies need to know how to create a “brand” that would attract the type of employee that they want and where and how to post and market their job openings with creative video content. Companies could also be encouraged to build internships with universities and trade schools outside of the state. This would bring out of state students to Ohio in hopes that they might come back to our state to work. Other ideas might be for companies to change their work environment to one that would be more flexible, such as offering partial remote working for site managers, flexible work schedules and tech perks such as a work cell phone. Expansion of our vocational schools already here in Ohio would also help to create and retain native Ohioans who are more likely inclined to stay where they were born and raised.
Question 3.) Do you think the taxation rates in Ohio are in line with similar states for middle class, working families? If not, how would you fix this?
Yes and No. Ohio has been one of the best places in the nation for middle income families. We have a lower cost of living, abundant educational resources, many vacation and recreational venues, and a growing employment base. Basically, I feel that our tax structure is fairly reasonable considering how we are benefiting from living here and for the roads and bridges infrastructure that will need to be repaired soon. If I were to change anything, I would lower our sales tax rates on consumer goods such as fuel and that impact daily family consumption, especially for non-luxury items needed to raise children and provide comfort for the elderly and disabled. I might also give more tax incentives to start up businesses to encourage further Ohio business development because that is where our jobs originate.
Question 4.) Where do renewables (nuclear, solar, wind, etc.) fit into the future of Ohio’s energy supply?
I am for the, within reason, full buffet approach to energy research and development when it comes to Ohio supplying energy for its citizens. Along with harvesting our own Ohio gas, coal, oil (and corn for ethanol), I believe that Ohio should pursue research and development of all the renewables. Although, because I am a believer in American Energy Independence, I am not for pursuing renewables at the expense of risking our national security by closing down pipelines, using up our oil reserves, and finding ourselves in the position of looking to other countries for fuel. I am also not in favor of consuming vast amounts of good farmland for solar farm use. Farmers already use the sun as an energy source and the solar technology is advancing so rapidly that using good farmland for solar panels that might be obsolete within five years, doesn’t seem like a good enough reason to permanently destroy a good farm field.
Question 5.) With the decision from the U.S. Supreme Court on Roe v. Wade this summer, what are your feelings? What should the state of Ohio do to ensure a woman’s right of choice?
Roe v. Wade has already been overturned. I am pro-life with exception. I believe in four exceptions: when the life of the mother is in jeopardy, in cases of rape, in cases of incest, and in the event that the fetus is not viable.
Question 6.) The skyrocketing price of fuel is affecting both the worker and the person wanting to go on vacation. Should the state of Ohio put a pause on gas taxes until the prices go down?
I believe that the fuel taxes should be permanently lowered. A tax vacation for a short period, especially when fuel supplies are tight, will only lead to problems down the road. And, instead of focusing on just a temporary solution, the current federal administration should be reversing their approach to the entire inflationary and supply problem by deregulating and re-opening American fuel sources on American soil for American use. We need American Energy Independence.
Question 7.) School districts are facing a shortage of teachers, bus drivers and other staff members to help educate Ohio’s children. What do you think should be done to get more employees for the districts?
Since some of the reasons for shortages of school bus drivers is the lower pay and the need for drivers to have a commercial driver’s license. I would suggest that the school bus driver pay be raised and that schools implement a program where they would assist a potential future bus driver by providing or paying for their commercial driver’s license training. Another option would be to recruit potential drivers from their existing pool of schoolteachers and parents of students, that might be interested. Instead of waiting until there is a shortage, schools might pre-emptively start bus driver training and recruitment programs early on before the shortage becomes critical. In trying to recruit new teachers, pay increases, student teaching relationships with the universities who are training teachers, recruiting parents of students to assist with classroom activities, and marketing teaching jobs on social media would all help. Some districts are remote and new teachers won’t know about teaching opportunities unless the jobs are marketed to the correct potential employment pool.