As Toledoans prepare to vote in the congressional election, it is important to glance back at history and heed a lesson already learned. There are numerous similarities between this year's 9th District race and the election of 1980, when voters turned out their longtime congressman, Lud Ashley.
Then as now, Toledo was hard hit by tough economic times. Factories were closing and workers were laid off in droves. Although there was no Tea Party then, the anger was just as fevered.
The outrage at economic lethargy led Toledoans to oust Mr. Ashley and insert Ed Weber. Two years later, Marcy Kaptur was elected and has held the seat ever since.
Mr. Ashley was dispatched just as he was about to reap the rewards of seniority and curry significant favor for Toledo. It wasn't long afterward that House Speaker Tip O'Neill said: “Toledo would have been a lot better off with Lud Ashley.”
Thirty years later, Toledo faces deja vu. Miss Kaptur has capably and loyally represented the 9th District. Voters have been rewarded as her seniority in Congress has grown and she has brought back tax dollars in the form of public works. All of that is much needed, now more than ever.
Miss Kaptur has her detractors. She has failed to work with local and state leaders to transform Toledo into a 21st-century city. There is a distinct lack of enterprise zones, where startup companies can produce new technology for the auto industry. She has a larger role to play in encouraging companies to take advantage of Toledo's skilled manufacturing work force.
But voters, while justifiably upset with the status quo that has enveloped Toledo, must resist the temptation to repeat history. Republican candidate Rich Iott is banking on voters making a bad decision out of anger rather than merit. He does not offer creative solutions, solid experience, or proven leadership — far from it.
Miss Kaptur doesn't grab headlines or grandstand in front of TV cameras. But constituents know she is always fighting vigorously on their behalf. It would be devastating for Toledo voters to cast a blind eye to history and repeat a mistake that could doom the city.
This election has put Representative Kaptur on notice. But as my father told me before I made decisions with far-reaching implications: “Think, and think again.”
Toledo voters must resist the temptation to give into anger, mistruths, and banal campaign rhetoric, and send Marcy Kaptur back to Washington to keep fighting.
Editor's note: The writer is the son of former congressman Lud Ashley.
More insight into Miss Kaptur
We have heard all about the personal life of Rich Iott. Now it’s time to hear more about Marcy Kaptur.
On Dec. 8, 2009, Miss Kaptur appointed me memorial chairman of the new Veterans Administration clinic to be built on Detroit Avenue.
On April 13, 2010, I received a letter from Miss Kaptur’s chief of staff, Steve Katich, which stated: “Thank you for your efforts to date, Nick, however the project has been put on hold indefinitely. Should you need any further contact with Congresswoman Kaptur’s office, you may speak directly to me.”
I called seven times, and left messages each time. As a result of the lack of support from the person I used to believe in, whose staff has no idea what’s going on, who tells me one thing and does another, and who does not return phone calls, I feel I have no congressional representation. Since I could not get an appointment with Miss Kaptur, I will vote for Mr. Iott.
I have had the opportunity to see Mr. Iott’s organization in military operations and am impressed with what I’ve seen. I would be honored to serve under his leadership. I served in the Marine Corps during the Vietnam war with the rank of sergeant.
Slam ads give no information
What does someone have to do to get political slam ads off the air? I have to switch TV channels to avoid them. It has gotten so bad that now I record my shows so I can fast-forward through the ads.
How am I supposed to make decisions about voting if all I have to go by is dirty politics? Politicians, please quit acting like a bunch of high school bullies.
Christine L. Smith
Voters have had it with political ads
All of us are fed up with the political ads we see on television ad nauseam. It is past time to impose limits on both their quantity and their content, as has been done with liquor and cigarette advertising and with profanity and pornography.
John A. Galbraith
Obama, it’s your problem now
Our wonderful President has been in office long enough to stop pointing fingers at who or what caused the problems faced by our country. Instead, why doesn’t he start finding solutions to the economic and job situations? Many people will never recover from the job losses, foreclosed homes, and rising cost of everything.
It’s right to back school levies
Springfield Township, Toledo, and other communities have school levies on the ballot this November. Our children are our future. We should not hold them hostage to the inability of politicians to come up with another manner in which to fund public education.
After my dad retired, he was on a fixed income for close to 20 years. He always voted for school levies, even though I attended parochial schools. I asked him why. He said: “It’s the right thing to do.”
It’s your job to do the exposing
Your Oct. 18 editorial “Yes (gulp) on TPS tax” says that voters should swallow hard and support the Toledo Public Schools levy, then hold the district closely and strictly accountable.
It is your business to expose and hold responsible parties to account. Do not expect me to do your job and purchase your product too.
Stanley C. Theisen, Jr.
West Alexis Road
Governor aided higher education
The value of having a population educated for the needs of the future becomes even more important as Ohioans look ahead. Unfortunately, we trail other states in the proportion of adults with college degrees.
During the 16 years before Ted Strickland was governor, state support for public higher education dropped significantly. On Governor Strickland’s watch, this trend has been reversed.
The state provided sufficient funds to universities to allow a tuition freeze that lasted 2 years. This is part of a forward-looking plan to create jobs for our citizens.
Do what’s best for Toledoans
How is taking on the expense of maintenance and repair of aging Ottawa Hills Fire Department equipment and buildings a good deal for citizens of Toledo (“Village firefighters to merge with city,” Oct. 16)?
Ottawa Hills’ payment of $425,000 a year to Toledo will barely pay its 10 fire employees’ annual salaries. This doesn’t include the expense of health care and benefits.
I hope Toledo City Council members will look behind the smoke and mirrors for the best answer for Toledo residents.