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WBNS-10TV Columbus, Ohio | Columbus News, Weather & Sports |

A closer look at who's running for Ohio Senate and Congressional seats

In both races, incumbents are challenged by first time candidates

COLUMBUS, Ohio — The race for Ohio's 15th congressional seat features the incumbent US State Representative Steve Stivers versus Columbus attorney Joel Newby.

The district the candidates are running for represent 11 Ohio counties. It stretches north to Westerville, west to Wilmington, south to Athens, and east to McConnelsville 

Congressman Stivers has held the seat since 2011. This is Newby's first run for office.

We asked both candidates to talk about how they would address COVID-19 from a national perspective.

Stivers said he believes in a national framework that would treat all businesses, big and small, the same way. Newby said he agrees but says it won't be done under a Trump administration.

“In Ohio construction was considered an essential business, but in Michigan, it was not," Stivers said. "Also, we saw a big difference in big businesses and small businesses. Target and Walmart and a lot of other big retailers remained open, and a lot of small businesses were shut down."

“We do need a more national response, but to be honest with you, I don't see that happening under the current administration or this current representative. They just don't have the power or perceive to have the power or unwilling to use his power to persuade the administration to follow his lead,” Newby said.

RELATED: A closer look at who is running in Ohio's 12th and 3rd Congressional Districts

Two women are vying to represent western Franklin County, known as the 16th Ohio Senate District.

It stretches north to parts of Powell, west to Lake Darby, east to Upper Arlington, and south near Orient.

Both Crystal Lett (D-Columbus) and Stephanie Kunze (R-Hilliard) are strong supporters of issues relating to early childhood development and children's health issues.

The incumbent, Kunze, is running for her last time in office due to term limits.

Kunze was voted the most bipartisan Republican in the Senate. She also chairs the state's infant mortality task force and is the chair of higher education in the Senate.

Her challenger, Lett, has worked as a case manager, managed a psychological practice and is a child health care advocate.

10TV asked each of them how they would address the issues surrounding COVID-19 if elected.

“I believe we've done a decent job restoring and reopening our economy while trying to keep Ohioans safe," Kunze said. "I think shutting our economy down again is probably not a healthy thing, both livelihoods and for families that are struggling."

“The most important thing we need to do right now is continue to listen to our public health officials. I want to make sure that our public servants have what they need that they have the funding they need, the PPE that they need, that our front line workers have the PPE that they need and testing that we are able to contact trace in a way that is fast, efficient and effective,” Lett said.

Both candidates believe systemic racism exists and the legislature needs to address it. The two also want to expand Medicaid to give Ohioans better access to affordable health care.