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Last updated: August 05. 2014 2:01PM - 332 Views
By - densinger@civitasmedia.com - 740-413-0902



Democratic Attorney General candidate David Pepper made a campaign stop in Delaware County Tuesday and laid out his plan to combat the state's heroin epidemic. He also had harsh words from incumbent Mike DeWine who is embroiled in a “pay-to-play” scandal.
Democratic Attorney General candidate David Pepper made a campaign stop in Delaware County Tuesday and laid out his plan to combat the state's heroin epidemic. He also had harsh words from incumbent Mike DeWine who is embroiled in a “pay-to-play” scandal.
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Pepper peppers DeWine

With Attorney General Mike DeWine facing allegations of “pay-to-play” in office, his Democratic opponent vowed be less political and more transparent if elected to serve as the state’s chief legal official.

David Pepper called the allegations, which DeWine has denied, “one of the biggest pay-to-play schemes in the history of Ohio.”

“This is the job that’s supposed to crack down on that stuff,” Pepper said.

The allegation, first reported by the Dayton Daily News, stem from vendors who sought state contracts and contributed more than $1.3 million to the DeWine campaign, the Ohio Republican Party and the campaign DeWine’s son, Hamilton County Appellate Court Judge Pat DeWine.

In another instance, a company created two days prior to DeWine’s office releasing a request for proposal was later awarded a lucrative debt collection contract from the office over much more established and experienced companies. The owner of the company is a DeWine political supporter.

“If the mayor of Delaware or the commissioners here were caught with that kind of rigged bidding, I guarantee Mike DeWine would be in this community announcing an investigation,” Pepper said.

Pepper also accused DeWine of spending too much time focusing on national partisan battles, like the recent Hobby Lobby case that went in front of the Supreme Court.

The former Hamilton County commissioner and City of Cincinnati councilman said if he wins in November, he will focus on state issues and take a less partisan approach.

“If John Kasich wins, I have to represent him,” he said. “He’s my client.”

— Dustin Ensinger



By Dustin Ensinger


densinger@civitasmedia.com


Part of Democratic Attorney General candidate David Pepper’s plan to take on the heroin epidemic in Ohio includes a crackdown on dealers.


Pepper, who faces incumbent Mike DeWine in November, said those who sell heroin should be held accountable for the overdose deaths linked to the drug they have sold.


“These dealers are not feeling enough pain for the pain they are causing,” he said.


“They know what they’re doing,” he added. “They know what they are selling. They read the same headlines we do.”


The former Hamilton County commissioner and City of Cincinnati councilman said as Attorney General, he would provide special prosecutor support to counties and special training to law enforcement officials in his effort to seek the most severe sentences possible.


A bill recently introduced by Dayton-area Republican State. Rep Jim Butler would allow for a sentence of up to life in prison for someone convicted of selling heroin to an overdose victim.


Drug overdose deaths across the state have increased 366 percent from 2000 to 2012, according to the Ohio Department of Health. Unintentional drug overdose deaths in Delaware County increased from just one in 2001 to 16 in 2012.


Tougher enforcement is just one piece of the puzzle, according to Pepper. He said the heroin epidemic needs to be viewed as a public health crisis with more treatment options available across the state.


“The moment people are actually asking for help, they are being turned away across Ohio,” he said.


Pepper also said that to cut down on overdose deaths, he will work to make the drug Naloxone more readily available to first-responders across the state.


Other measures Pepper would take to battle the epidemic include more evidence-based prevention, pharmaceutical litigation to tackle the oversupply of prescription drugs and better data analysis, areas in which he said DeWine has failed.


“We are so far behind the other states in terms of what we are doing,” he said.


Pepper said that DeWine did not have a comprehensive plan in place to deal with the aftermath of the crackdown on pill mills, which led many opiate addicts to move onto more readily available heroin.


In 2013 DeWine acknowledged the epidemic and created a $1 million heroin unit to combat it.


However, Pepper does not believe that is enough.


“Mike DeWine was years late to this crisis,” he said.


Dustin Ensinger can be reached at 740-413-0902 or on Twitter @EnsingerDG.


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