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Published: Friday, 10/18/2002

Latta foe knocks on doors for votes


NORTH BALTIMORE - Smoking a cigarette inside the local Fraternal Order of Eagles hall on Main Street last night, Jeff Bretz said he was happy to host a fund-raiser for Scott McCarty, a candidate for the state legislature.

“I've lived here all my life with the exception of about a year total and I've never had a candidate knock on my door,” said Mr. Bretz, who serves on North Baltimore Village Council.

Mr. McCarty, a Democrat from Perrysburg Township, is challenging Rep. Bob Latta (R., Bowling Green) for the 6th District Ohio House seat. Mr. Latta has held the office for two years, previously serving four years in the Ohio Senate and six years as a Wood County commissioner.

Situated just west of I-75 along the Wood-Hancock county line, North Baltimore is at the southernmost point of the 6th District. Mr. McCarty said last night he's trying to make himself known to voters in all areas of Wood County, especially those typically ignored by candidates.

“I talked to one man in Custar who said he'd lived in his house for 50 years and never had anyone knock on his door, so he was going to vote for me,” Mr. McCarty said.

A construction worker and member of International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 245, Mr. McCarty, 42, has not held public office before, although he said he's no stranger to politics. He has been political director of his local union for 10 years and political coordinator for the AFL/CIO.

If elected, he said he would focus his efforts on boosting support for education at all levels, energizing the economy with a plan to keep college graduates in the state, and pushing for legislation that would allow the state to negotiate with drug manufacturers for cheaper prescription rates for all Ohioans, not just senior citizens.

Marge Bretz - Jeff's mother - said the plan offered by Gov. Bob Taft, which offers Golden Buckeye cardholders a discount on prescriptions, would not help her because her mail-order prescription program does not accept a Golden Buckeye card. She takes 12 pills a day and spends hundreds of dollars a month on medication.

“Hopefully [Mr. McCarty's] going to do something about prescription drugs,” the 76-year-old said. “He's not going to depend on the Buckeye card to bail me out.”

While last night's fund-raiser was sparsely attended, Mr. McCarty said he has been at other events in town, including the volunteer firemen's convention held here this summer.

“I've been to Hoytville, North Baltimore, Custar,” he said, naming off some of the smaller villages in the county. “I feel it's very important for a legislator or a candidate to come to every area of their district and not just come to the big cities or just show up at the county fair or big festivals once a year.”

The boundaries of the 6th District are simple - it encompasses all of Wood County - but expansive, Mr. McCarty said. “I never realized this county was so big,” he said.

Last night, Mr. Latta stopped at the Pemberville American Legion Hall to talk with constituents at the fall dinner of the Wood County Township Trustees and Clerks Association. From there, he headed to the county fairgrounds in Bowling Green for the Wood County 4-H awards night.

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