John Bender

NEWS ARTICLE from The Press, 10-4-06, By Rebecca Turman

``Bender hopes to win State Board of Education spot with years of experience

AVON -- The District 2 open seat on the State Board of Education represents Erie, Huron, Lorain, Lucas, Wood, part of Ottawa and part of Seneca counties. This November, four candidates are vying for the non-partisan seat; Kenneth Ault, of Wayne, Roland Hansen, of Toledo, Kathleen McGervey, of Avon, and John R. Bender, of Avon.

When it comes to experience, Bender has about 35 years overall in education, he said. His degrees include a bachelor of science in biological science education, a master's degree in guidance and a Ph.D. in higher education student affairs administration.

With his JVS bag in hand, it's clear that Bender hails from the Lorain County area. In fact, he was the director of student activities for 17 years at Lorain County Community College.

While education has been a big part of Bender's career, he also has extensive experience in politics as well. He served as an Ohio house representative from 1993-2000 and was a member of the Education Committee for eight years.

Bender said his interests in politics sparked during his senior year in college in March 1960. "A U.S. senator spoke to us at the University of Pittsburgh and encouraged us to get involved in politics," Bender said. "That man was John F. Kennedy." In 1982, Bender said he attended a national program whose purpose was to get teachers involved in politics. It was then that the late Ron Pease talked to Bender about running for a political position.

"Kennedy inspired me, Pease pushed me," Bender said. And in May of 1982 Bender said he ran for state senate, but lost. However, Bender didn't let the loss be the beginning and the end of his political career. He tested the political waters as a councilman At-Large for the Elyria City Council from 1984 to 1992.

"The council position gave me the experience to run for the State House, and then it all came together," Bender said. In 2000, Bender had to give up his state representative seat because of term limits, and he officially retired in 2001.

Ultimately, Bender said Oliver Ocasek, the president of the State Board at the time, encouraged him to take advantage of his political and educational background and use it to run for a State Board position.

Sometime in the late '90s, while Bender was still a state rep, he attended a reception that the State Board had held for the legislators. Martha Wise attended the event, along with Ocasek, who was a "beloved leader," according to Bender. "He looked at me and said, You! You're going to run for this when she's done,' pointing to Martha," Bender said.

If and when Bender gets elected to the board, he said there are many issues that need to be addressed, though he doesn't claim to know all the answers. "Evolution is based on science; creationism is based on religion," Bender said. "I have faith, but I'm a science person," Bender said of his Roman Catholic background. "I believe God created this great universe, but there's no proof."

Another issue that Bender expressed concern about is the emphasis on testing in schools. "I'm concerned that we have so much testing and the teachers may only be teaching to that material," Bender said, though he didn't propose a solution.

When asked what makes him stand out from the other candidates, Bender said, "I'm an educator who is political. I have the interest, time and energy." "I'm more experienced in education," he said. "I understand the political process, and I still know senators and representatives who I could lobby for an education budget."

"I have a lot of respect for Martha Wise, but now that it's an open seat, now is my time to run," Bender said. "Remember Bender in November." ''


NEWS ARTICLE from The Chronicle-Telegram, 10-19-06, by Brad Dicken

``Intelligent design leads to Republican backing Dem

AVON -- Republican Martha Wise is backing Democrat John Bender in the race to replace her on the state school board. Wise, who is running against Democrat Sue Morano for the state senate, said Bender is the only one of the four candidates in the school board race who agrees with her on keeping intelligent design out of science classrooms.

"I've spent five years of my life keeping intelligent design, or what you might call teaching religion, out of science classes," she said. "He's the only one who agrees with me."

Wise argued strongly against intelligent design during an 11-4 state school board vote in February that deleted material encouraging students to seek evidence for and against evolution from the state science curriculum. Bender, a former state representative, said he appreciated Wise's support ... The state school board post is nonpartisan.

Bender also said he thinks intelligent design, which contends that nature is too complex to have evolved without the aid of an intelligent guiding force, can be taught in philosophy classes. "I contend that because it's religion; it should stay out of science classes," he said ...''

[Where is there any evidence for Intelligent Design, in some benign sense?

We, the Lords of Creation, have backs that are often unsuited for bipedalism, immune systems that kill or cripple us with their defensive response, and -- above all -- a moral sense that glorifies murder in the name of whatever. This last defect may result in our extinction after a relatively short run as a species. If these defects are not the result of random accidents, then are we the product of Malevolent Design?

The evidence advanced to support the concept of Intelligent Design only supports the idea that an evil intelligence rules the universe. Are we the play things of a Monster that likes making butterflies so that It can tear their wings off?]

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