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Elections 2018: 42nd Ohio House Candidates Antani And Dickerson

Republican Niraj Antani faces Democrat Zach Dickerson in Montgomery County’s House of Representatives 42nd District
Republican Niraj Antani faces Democrat Zach Dickerson in Montgomery County’s House of Representatives 42nd District";

Ohio voters will decide a number of state races in the November 6 midterms, including GOP two-term incumbent Rep. Niraj Antani's race against newcomer and Democrat Zach Dickerson in Montgomery County’s heavily Republican House of Representatives 42nd District.

Zach Dickerson is a 38-year-old attorney who works in market research at LexisNexis. The first-time Miamisburg candidate says he was motivated to run for office after the 2016 elections.

"Over the course of the last two years there's been a breakdown of civility in politics. I saw it happen in my own family with my friends. People getting in fights online. And Iknow this is a problem I'm not going to be able to solve myself but I'd like to be part of the solution. And I think the way that we change that and put a little dignity and civility back into politics is by electing people that will change the tone."
Now, he’s door knocking in hopes of convincing Republican voters to cross the aisle and vote Democratic this year.

“Sometimes they slam their door in my face. But most of the time, after a conversation with me, they realize, hey, this guy's pretty reasonable.”

Education is a key issue for Dickerson. He’s calling for reforms, including to standardized tests and public-school funding.

Dickerson also wants to preserve the Affordable Care Act’s preexisting condition protections and Medicaid expansion.

"That's been critical in helping us fight the opioid problem," he says. "There is only one party that has been fighting to expand access and affordability and coverage for people and that's the Democratic Party.”

Republican 27-year-old Niraj Antani, also from Miamisburg, takes issue with Dickerson's statement. 

“That's a popular Democratic line but unfortunately I don’t know of any evidence of that,” Antani says.

The incumbent says he wants more Ohioans to access health insurance through their jobs.

"I think it's the wrong conversation to have. The conversation should not be putting more people on the rolls of Medicaid or taking them off or ticking them off. The conversation should be about helping people get into good jobs so that they don't have to be on Medicaid," he says.
Workforce development to match jobseekers with open positions is another priority for Antani.

He's also calling for more funding to help law enforcement agencies combat the opioid epidemic.

“There's a lot of different equipment that local law enforcement agencies need," Antani says. "The sheriff wants to set up a criminal intelligence center to sort of gather and coordinate intelligence amongst police agencies to find dealers and traffickers to arrest them.”

Antani and Dickerson also differ sharply on guns.

Both candidates support the Second Amendment.

But Dickerson wants tighter gun regulations.

Vocal NRA member Antani drew criticism following the February Parkland school shooting for saying eligible students 18 and over should be permitted to carry guns in schools.

Antani is currently vice-chair of the House Higher Education and Workforce Development committee. He also sits on the Health, Energy and Natural Resources, Aging and Long Term Care, and Community and Family Advancement committees.

The southern Montgomery County 42nd district includes West Carrollton, Miamisburg, Moraine, Germantown, Miami and Washington townships.

Jess Mador comes to WYSO from Knoxville NPR-station WUOT, where she created an interactive multimedia health storytelling project called TruckBeat, one of 15 projects around the country participating in AIR's Localore: #Finding America initiative. Before TruckBeat, Jess was an independent public radio journalist based in Minneapolis. She’s also worked as a staff reporter and producer at Minnesota Public Radio in the Twin Cities, and produced audio, video and web stories for a variety of other news outlets, including NPR News, APM, and PBS television stations. She has a Master's degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of Journalism in New York. She loves making documentaries and telling stories at the intersection of journalism, digital and social media.