Secretary of State candidates Kathleen Clyde, Frank LaRose on the issues

The Spectrum

Not only will Ohio get a new governor in 2019, but the state will also get a new secretary of state.

Two current state lawmakers, Rep. Kathleen Clyde (D) and Sen. Frank LaRose (R), are vying for the office that will be vacated by Jon Husted. Clyde and LaRose were each elected in 2011, and this is the first statewide race for both candidates. Right now, both are working to introduce themselves to Ohio voters before November’s election.

NBC4’s Colleen Marshal sat down with both candidates to see where they stand on the issues.

Kathleen Clyde

For Kathleen Clyde, the Secretary of State is a very important office.

“The Secretary of State makes ure we have fair and secure elections, we oversee campaign finance, and I want to work to get secret money out of our political system,” Clyde said. “It’s one of the three state offices that will sit on the redistricting commissions, so bringing fair districts to Ohio, I know there’s a hunger for that.”

Clyde said there are improvements she wants to make to the way the current office is run.

When I look at this office and improvements we need to make, it’s not about democratic ideas or republican ideas; it’s about good ideas,” she said. “It’s about modernizing the office, it’s about taking everyday Ohioans into account and how we can make things easier for them.”

Clyde also took aim at the voter roll purge Husted worked on saying she would stop that practice immediately.

“I would do everything I can to get peole on the rolls voting, get our participation up and more voices in our democracy,” she said. “What we should think about doing is moving to automatic voter registration, which would get everyone on the rolls and keep those rolls up-to-date.”

As for making Ohio a more business-friendly state, Clyde says her plan for modernizing the Secretary of State’s office is one of her top priorities.  

“We want to be as helpful and inclusive to anyone who wants to do business here, whether it’s extending hours so if somebody is working and starting a business on the side, that there is somebody they can talk to,” she explained. “Or just redesigning the website, making it clearer which form the business needs.”

Frank LaRose

Frank LaRose says the two functions of the Secretary of State’s office — being the front door for any new business filing and being the chief elections officer for the state — are jobs he is ready to undertake.

“If I get to work hard every day for eight years to protect those, I’ll be excited to go to work,” he said.

While LaRose acknowledges the criticism Husted faced in light of the voter roll purge, he said ultimately, it’s a part of maintaining an accurate list of eligible voters.

“We need to maintain accurate voter lists, but we don’t want to inconvenience our fellow Ohioans,” he said. “We also don’t want people to go six years without ever casting a ballot, because that’s kind of what is at the heart of this.”

LaRose said he would like put a better system in place to give voters better opportunities to update their information.  

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