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Published: Monday, 10/29/2012

EDITORIALS

Re-elect Rep. Kaptur

She has given the 9th District 30 years of solid representation; there is no reason to replace her

For three decades, Democrat MARCY KAPTUR of Toledo has given northwest Ohio effective, principled representation in the U.S. House. Even if she faced a more credible challenger this year, the case for her re-election would be compelling.

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The 9th Congressional District represented by Miss Kaptur remains the most important House seat to metropolitan Toledo, despite a Republican-imposed gerrymander that now stretches the district along the Lake Erie shoreline to Cleveland. GOP map-makers packed the 9th District with Democratic voters, to give their party an advantage in other districts. Miss Kaptur calls the revamped 9th “one of the most diverse districts in America,” racially and ethnically.

In becoming the longest-serving woman in the House, Representative Kaptur has amassed valuable seniority and influence on Capitol Hill. She does not apologize — nor does she need to — for her progressive voting record or her strong support from organized labor.

During her 30 years in Congress, Miss Kaptur has shown herself to be more of a careful pragmatist than an ideologue, concerning herself with protecting the best interests of her economically fragile district and its constituents. District voters have responded by giving her their staunch support.

Miss Kaptur made important contributions to the federal bailout of Chrysler and General Motors, which prevented the automakers from collapsing after they declared bankruptcy in 2009. That effort has preserved thousands of auto-assembly, parts-production, and industry spin-off jobs in the 9th District.

Miss Kaptur also has worked successfully to help northwest Ohio’s alternative-energy industries get government help to develop and grow, and to promote urban agriculture. She touts the public-works projects she has brought to the district, such as the Veterans’ Glass City Skyway bridge.

Even though her party seems likely to remain in the minority next term in the House, Miss Kaptur is in a position to become the ranking Democrat on the Appropriations Committee, which decides where federal dollars get spent. That post would be of great benefit to the district.

In this year’s GOP primary, The Blade endorsed Miss Kaptur’s challenger, Samuel “Joe the Plumber” Wurzelbacher, of Springfield Township. Mr. Wurzelbacher famously engaged candidate Barack Obama in an impromptu debate over tax policy and economic inequality at a local campaign stop in 2008.

During this year’s primary campaign, Mr. Wurzelbacher discussed sincerely his conservative positions on such issues as taxes and regulation, and insisted he would not be a rubber stamp for party leaders. We concluded that he would give 9th District voters a clear choice against, and a competitive challenge to, the Democratic nominee. (Libertarian Sean Stipe is also on the general-election ballot.)

Yet Mr. Wurzelbacher has run a nearly invisible, and occasionally bizarre, general-election campaign. He says he is campaigning door to door, but he also has spent time traveling outside the district to raise money.

An online video posted by his campaign made the preposterous assertion that the Holocaust and Armenian genocide were products of government-imposed gun control that left victims “unable to defend themselves.” He also has offered his approach to dealing with undocumented immigrants: “Put a damn fence on that border going to Mexico and start shooting.” Such pronouncements do not confer credibility.

The 9th District’s grotesquely elongated new boundaries could make it much less centered on the Toledo area, but Miss Kaptur’s deep roots in Toledo should preclude that threat. MARCY KAPTUR’s solid record of achievement has earned her re-election to the U.S. House.



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