SANDUSKY — Incumbent U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur (D., Toledo) and challenger Republican Rich Iott of Monclova Township differed on the role of the federal government in a tackling job loss and health care during a forum at Sandusky High School sponsored by the Erie County Chamber of Commerce.
Mr. Iott focused on his opposition to the 2009 “stimulus” bill that he said has not brought down unemployment, a health care reform law that “Congress shoved down our throats,” and a cap-and-trade environmental bill that he said “is going to chase jobs out of the state.” He noted that Miss Kaptur voted for all three proposals.
Miss Kaptur told listeners that northwest Ohio is losing jobs to an economy fighting against an “avalanche of imports over exports,” which she blamed on an overcentralized banking system and free trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement.
The two differed on the health care law, with Miss Kaptur expressing pride that she voted for it. She said the law allows young people to remain on their parents' insurance, protects families from being denied coverage due to pre-existing conditions, and extends health care access to small business owners.
“Over half of the people in this country that will now have access to health insurance will be small businesses. I won't take that away from them,” Miss Kaptur said.
Mr. Iott called the bill the “health care rationing act,” and said it is driving up insurance rates already and causing insurers to drop child-only policies.
“Are we really looking for the kind of insurance that Canada and Great Britain have? I don't think so,” Mr. Iott said.
Miss Kaptur said she supports extending the Bush tax cuts, which are set to expire Dec. 31, except for incomes above $250,000 a year for joint filers and $200,000 for single filers. She said extending the cuts for high earners adds $600 million to the deficit.
Mr. Iott said failure to pass the entire tax cut package would amount to a tax increase on small business owners. “To let those tax cuts expire is simply bad business,” Mr. Iott said.
Both supported the local Plum Brook Research Station, a redevelopment project near Sandusky aimed at developing an airstrip big enough to land NASA vehicles.
Mr. Iott endorsed the project as a “perfect example” of how a federal spending project should be spent, through “the normal budgetary process.”
But Miss Kaptur noted that the base economic study that launched the project was paid for by a legislative earmark, or legislative priority, that she sponsored. Mr. Iott has attacked earmarks as wasteful.
In answer to the question of whether they owned any foreign cars, Mr. Iott responded that he now drives a Ford pickup and formerly owned a Land Rover and that his wife drives a Volkswagen.
Miss Kaptur answered the question in one word, “no.”
The event was videotaped by Buckeye CableSystem and will air on cable in Sandusky at 8 p.m. Sunday and Wednesday and at 10 a.m. Saturday.
Also sharing the stage and answering questions were candidates for the Ohio House District 80 seat, incumbent Democrat Dennis Murray and Republican challenger Jeff Krabill.
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