FOR the past 22 years she has represented Ohio's 9th Congressional District and done it exceptionally well. U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur has not only brought home the bacon for residents in her district but achieved stature among her House colleagues as the most senior Democratic woman in Congress and a respected member of the powerful Appropriations Committee.
In her bid for a 12th term in Washington she is challenged by a more credible candidate than she has faced in recent campaigns, Lucas County Auditor Larry Kaczala. But while the 47-year-old auditor has run a worthy campaign, he is clearly out of his depth compared to the incumbent.
The lifetime Toledo resident has been a tireless crusader on behalf of labor, business, and agriculture, to name but a few priorities. Her persistence has paid off in securing funding for a host of local investments from the new Maumee River Crossing to the expansion of Toledo's Farmers' Market and the Ottawa National Wildlife Refuge.
It took years of struggle and compromise, but due to the relentless efforts of Miss Kaptur, the National World War II Memorial was dedicated in Washington last summer.
Unlike some members of Congress whose district appearances are few and far between after election, the congresswoman is a regular presence in her newly drawn northwest Ohio district, which stretches eastward from Toledo to include portions of Lucas, Ottawa, Erie, and Lorain counties.
The 58-year-old congressional veteran says she has built her public career "fighting for the struggles that most families and individuals face." Topping that list is jobs. Bringing new ones to the district and keeping existing jobs is her consuming goal, which explains her passion about the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Miss Kaptur has been an outspoken critic of NAFTA since President Bill Clinton championed its passage a decade ago, saying the deal has cost the country hundreds of thousands of jobs. She remains a fervent advocate of amending the treaty to implement fair as well as free trade.
Miss Kaptur opposed President Bush's pre-emptive war on Iraq from the start. She also has weathered a vicious national attack which twisted remarks she made comparing the historical confluence of politics and religion that motivated America's revolutionary figures and which today incites the followers of Islamic extremists. She did not take the partisan bait or shrink from her statements.
Now, more than ever, the nation needs reasonable representatives guiding it over treacherous terrain.
Now, more than ever, northwest Ohio needs to re-elect Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur.