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Published: Thursday, 9/16/2010

Seaway Food Town a focus in 9th Congressional race


The collapse of Seaway Food Town in 2003 continued to dominate the race for the 9th Congressional District Thursday with incumbent Marcy Kaptur's supporters accusing Republican Rich Iott of letting down his former employees.

Miss Kaptur, the Democratic incumbent, is being challenged by Mr. Iott in the Nov. 2 election. Mr. Iott was president and CEO of Food Town until 2000.

Pete Gerken, a Democratic Lucas County commissioner who was director of a union job retraining center in 2003, said federal taxpayers spent $125,000 to retrain 877 workers who lost their jobs when Food Town closed.

He said the UAW Training Center also provided assistance, but Food Town refused to provide management assistance.

"Mr. Job Creator, where were you when these people needed help? The rest of us helped. You were missing," Mr. Gerken said.

Spokesmen for Mr. Iott said he had given up his management role in Seaway Food Town in 2000 when it was sold in a corporate merger to Spartan Stores of Michigan.

Iott spokesman Matthew Parker said Miss Kaptur is trying to distract voters from her own record which he described as one of "raising taxes, wastefully spending our nation into debt that our grandchildren will have to pay off, and burdening our economy with mindless regulations that strangle job growth."

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