Mahoning Matters reached out to candidates running for local office with a standard list of questions aimed at helping voters make an informed decision in the 2020 election. Each campaign's response will be published in the Mahoning, Trumbull or Columbiana County Voter Guide as it is received and all responses are subject to minimal editing for clarity and/or length. Mahoning Matters does not endorse any candidate.
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Candidate Name: Joe Schiavoni
Office Sought: Mahoning County Court
Candidate's Party Affiliation: Democrat (non-partisan race)
Candidate's City of Residence: Boardman
Social Media: @joeschiavoni (Twitter); Joe Schiavoni (Facebook)
Education: B.S. – Communications (Ohio University); J.D. – Capital University Law School Work
Experience: Attorney since 2005 Ohio State Senator 2008-2018
Family: Married with two children
Affiliations: Mahoning County Bar Association, Ohio Association for Justice, Big Brothers and Big Sisters, Italian American Education Foundation, and Curbstone Coaches I have been honored to be able to represent clients from our community as an attorney since 2005.
Growing up here in the Mahoning Valley I learned how to treat people properly by watching my father and grandfather in and out of the courtrooms. I have primarily handled workers’ compensation cases on behalf of injured workers, but have also represented parties involved in accidents, probate estates, domestic issues, contract disputes, and criminal matters. Those experiences have given me the opportunity to work with attorneys, mediators and judges across the state in order to get fair results for the people that I represent. In 2008, I began representing our community in a different way as an Ohio State Senator. That opportunity allowed me to work on the law changes that would benefit our community. I worked with constituents every day in order to make sure that their voices were heard in the process. I have spent my time in Columbus participating in legislative hearings, studying the Ohio Revised Code, interviewing witnesses, and gathering facts. That process allowed me to make informed votes in order to clearly explain my position and rationale for the proposals that I voted for and the recommendations I made. I had to make many hard decisions, but always had the best interest of the people I represented at heart.
1. What qualities do you possess that qualify you for the job you are seeking?
Strong work ethic, compassion for the community, and legal knowledge from both practicing law / writing the law.
2. If you are elected, is there anything in particular that you hope to accomplish? And briefly, what is it and why is it important?
Achieving justice and fair results in each case. That is what the residents deserve in our community.
3. What do you feel will be the top issue facing this office over the next term? How would you focus your efforts to tackle it?
With all of the turmoil in our country, I think the top issue in the county court is to build a legacy of fairness and impartiality so that everyone in the process is treated fairly.
4. What are your plans to ensure that all of your constituents would have access to the same resources and opportunities, regardless of race or socioeconomic status? In your view, where does the system fall short?
If I am successful, everyone will be treated the same if they step foot in my courtroom. They will be explained the process, treated fairly by staff and will have access to justice regardless of who they are and where they come from.
5. What are you doing to disrupt the status quo of politics? If you had the power, what one change would you make right now?
I will continue to be honest with people 100% of the time, no matter what the circumstances. Changing the importance of money in politics is the one change I would make.
6. Are you satisfied with Ohio's response to the COVID-19 pandemic? If yes, why? If not, what do you think should be done instead? Can more be done at the local level? The federal level?
I think the state has done as good of a job as they can. With no federal direction, it is hard to manage this pandemic.
7. The state is expected to make cuts in its upcoming budget in light of the reduction in tax revenue because of the pandemic. How should the state and local government set budget priorities? How deeply should cuts be made? What should your office be doing, or is doing, to prepare?
Everyone is going to have to run a lean operation at all levels of government. I believe that education and job creation programs should be fully funded and the remaining agencies should deal with the temporary cut in any way they can until the economy stabilizes.
8. What do you think is the most pressing matter that pertains to the next generation of Ohioans who may be voting for the first time?
Opportunities to stay in Ohio after high school/trade school/college
9. Are you frustrated by the political sniping, exaggeration and even lies between the parties and their supporters that has diminished respect and reasoned compromise? If so, what will you personally do to make the situation better?
Of course, the best way to make change is to lead by example.
10. Who is your hero, and why?
My grandfather. He always appreciated life and took nothing for granted. His goal was to always help people in both his personal and professional lives.