U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, left, speaks with North Baltimore resident Keith Harris.
The Blade/Lori King
NORTH BALTIMORE, Ohio — Candidates for Ohio’s 5th Congressional District met in a multicandidate forum here Saturday for the first time since the primary election, giving rival prescriptions for rebuilding the region's economy.
U.S. Rep. Robert Latta (R., Bowling Green) and challengers Angela Zimmann (D., Springfield Township) and Eric Eberly (Libertarian, Bowling Green) were among a dozen candidates attending “Coffee with the Candidates” at the North Baltimore Public Library Community Room sponsored by TheNBXpress.com, a local online news source.
Their remarks were separated by those of several other candidates in a program that gave each candidate five minutes to address the crowd. The candidates stuck around to greet the audience of about 25 people.
Ms. Zimmann, a Lutheran minister and a writing instructor at Bowling Green State University, said she has a background in engineering that would help her promote government investment in infrastructure.
“This race is about getting someone elected who’s willing to work hard and serve the needs of northwest Ohio,” she said.
“I, too, am against burdensome regulations and high taxes. Like Mitt Romney I feel there are some regulations that are necessary and some clearly that are not. Like Mitt Romney and Barack Obama I believe taxes are necessary but we need to keep the tax rate low to keep our economy stimulated,” Ms. Zimmann said.
She said after the event that she supports keeping the Bush tax cuts in effect for all income levels except families with incomes over $250,000. That is President Obama’s position.
She called for closing tax loopholes that she said send jobs overseas and said she would consider cutting the corporate tax rate.
“We need to focus on infrastructure,” she said, and attacked Mr. Latta for what she said was the disappearance of 38,000 jobs in northwest Ohio during his tenure, which began in 2007.
“He voted against the auto loans. This is just wrong — the wrong representation for Democrats, Republicans, and everyone,” Ms. Zimmann told the forum audience.
Mr. Latta, a lawyer and former Wood County commissioner, state senator, and state representative, said that during the summer he visited 80 businesses, factories, and farms. He said complaints about the same four issues kept coming up: regulations, corporate taxes, energy, and health-care costs.
He said he helped lead the fight against a regulation that would have prohibited the children of farm families from working on farms.
“People couldn’t believe it. I was glad to work with them to make sure that didn’t happen,” Mr. Latta said. “It was a bad piece of regulation.”
In an interview afterward, Ms. Zimmann said she wants to debate Mr. Latta head to head, but that so far he has not agreed to it. The event at the North Baltimore library was the first time the two had appeared together since a candidate forum in the same location during the March 6 primary season, she said.
Mr. Latta said he attended three candidate events in the district last week and has three scheduled for this week.
Mr. Latta said he opposed the Troubled Assets Relief Program, from which the 2009 auto industry rescue was funded, because it gave the secretary of the Treasury too much power.
“That’s one of the reasons we’re $16 trillion in debt in this country today,” Mr. Latta said. He said the bailout left out the white-collar retirees of Delphi Corp., a spin-off of General Motors Co.
“People know that I bring the value of where I’m from,” Mr. Latta said. "You don't spend what you don't have and you run a federal government like you run your home or you’re out of business.”
Mr. Eberly said he is part of a “revolutionary movement” to restore government to a smaller size.
A Realtor, he blamed the housing crisis on the federal government and questioned the accuracy of Friday’s unemployment report that showed nationwide joblessness decreasing.
“I think we have to battle socialism in this country. Capitalism is the best path to prosperity,” he said.
The newly redrawn 5th District takes in all or parts of 14 northwest Ohio counties, including parts of South and West Toledo and all of western Lucas County.
Also in attendance were candidates for two Wood County commission seats, Republicans Jim Carter and Doris Herringshaw, and Democrat Joel Kuhlman; for state House of Representatives District 3, Tim Brown (R), Nathan Eberly (Libertarian), and Kelly Wicks (D); for state Senate District 2, Randy Gardner (R); for county recorder, Julie Baumgardner (D), and Sheriff Mark Wasylyshyn (R).
Contact Tom Troy at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6058.