NORTH RIDGEVILLE — State Sen. Gayle Manning, R-North Ridgeville, announced Thursday she has filed petitions to seek a second term in the Ohio Senate.
Manning was elected to her 13th District seat in November 2010 after winning a close race over incumbent Democrat Sue Morano of Lorain that saw the two candidates separated by fewer than 500 votes in Lorain County.
The 13th District encompasses all of Lorain and Huron counties, as well as eastern Seneca County.
A former public school teacher and wife of the late Jeff Manning, who served two terms for the 57th Ohio House District, Gayle Manning said it took her a couple of years to adapt to the political arena.
“I feel like I’ve made a difference in my district,” Manning said. “I care about it, and I’d certainly like to continue. I fight hard for Huron and Lorain counties, and make them realize (state legislators) that we’re here and we’re very important.”
One of the biggest ways in which Manning demonstrated that was by working to retain state control of the Ohio Turnpike and retention of toll revenue for northern Ohio in her role as chairwoman of the Senate Transportation Committee.
“That taught me I had more fight in me than I realized,” Manning said of the sometimes tempestuous arguments between Senate and House members over uses for Turnpike tolls, which some wanted to see go to highway and roadwork statewide.
“We tried to work it out but couldn’t come to a consensus,” Manning said. “Being a third-grade teacher I’ve always been very calm, but sometimes I get a little angry, and once after three hours (of political arguments), I sort of lost it. I said I’d compromise on other issues but not on this.”
The eventual biennial state transportation budget included Manning’s amendment ensuring Turnpike revenue would be used for projects in areas near the toll road to benefit the majority of Turnpike users.
The budget also calls for major infrastructure projects statewide to be funded through the sale of bonds leveraged against the value of the Turnpike. The transportation budget is also expected to create up to 65,000 jobs over the next three years.
“I learned a lot in that role … made a lot of good relationships … and would like to continue in that role,” Manning said, referring to her chairmanship of the Senate Transportation Committee.
Manning is expected to be challenged for her seat by Democrat Eric Kaple, a chiropractor from Willard in Huron County.
Kaple filed petitions earlier this week with the Lorain County Board of Elections for the May primary.