ST. MARYS — Tariffs, state issue 1 and the low unemployment rate were just some of the topics discussed by the conservative state and federal legislators who gathered at the Midwest Electric’s Political Action Breakfast, which kicked off the electric co-op’s membership appreciation day Tuesday morning.
The event attracted five representatives from both state and federal districts — Rep. Bob Latta of Ohio’s 5th Congressional District, Rep. Warren Davidson of Ohio’s 8th Congressional District, state Rep. Craig Riedel of Ohio’s 82nd House District, state Rep. Bob Cupp of Ohio’s 4th House District and state Sen. Rob McColley of Ohio’s 1st Senate District. Each legislator was given a short window to speak about state and national issues.
As is common with many conservative speakers, three of the officials devoted some time relaying the success of the economy as unemployment shrinks.
“Unemployment is really low. The economy is doing great things. We’re peaceful. We’re prosperous. And a lot of that concern has been eliminated with a lot of regulations,” Warren Davidson said.
“Let’s look at some of the things that you never hear in the news. We have the lowest unemployment rate for women in the last 65 years at 3.6 percent. 3.6 percent. We have the lowest unemployment rate in 49 years if you go back and look. It’s 3.7 percent. And then since 1970, there’s only been 10 months when unemployment was lower than four percent, and half of those 10 months are in this year alone. Boy, they don’t talk about that in the press very often, do they?” Bob Latta said.
“Unemployment is down way down. Employment is up. We balance our budget in this state every year. Our debt is very minimal and what debt we have is for institutions like our higher education institutions, parks and recreation areas, our prisons, things that have lasting value. And our tax rates, the highest rate for the state income tax is below 5 percent,” Bob Cupp said.
President Donald Trump’s tariffs on steel and China’s retaliatory tariffs on crops remain a hot-button issue for many in the region, and a few politicians took time to blame China for its business practices and praise Trump’s approach to changing the market.
“We think its way past time for China to become the market economy they promised to when they joined the World Trade Organization. They’ve abused the access they’ve had to our market. They’ve stolen intellectual property. They’ve dumped and subsidized and hurt Americans,” Davidson said.
“I worked for Nucor Steel for 27 years and in that tenure I watched one steel company after another go out of business in the United States. One right after another, companies you all know. … They’re all gone. They’re not coming back. The reason Nucor Steel survived is because we had a very advanced workforce and the best technology in the world, but even we struggled against the unfair practices and flat-out cheating that was occurring in Asia, particularly China. And it’s about time that we finally have a president who is willing to stand up to these people,” Riedel said. “I hope it ends quickly. But we gotta hang in there together, okay? We’re all Americans.”
State Issue 1, which would shake up Ohio’s drug laws, has been a consistent conservative talking point as the election approaches, and most legislators voiced their opinion on the controversial vote.
“It might have had an OK intention, if I were generous, but the problem is it treats every drug like it’s the same. There’s a difference between 19 grams of fentanyl, which could kill 10,000 people, than 19 grams of marijuana, which will probably sell a lot of pizzas,” Davidson said.
“Issue 1 would be an absolute unmitigated disaster for the state of Ohio,” McColley said. “I know we always hear an awful lot of hyperbole about ‘This is going to cost lives’, or ‘That is going to cost lives.’ This will actually cost lives.”
“This is not something that was homegrown. This is something that comes from out of state, which seems to be a pattern these days — from California, the east coast, the west coast. They’re the ones telling Ohioans how they should run Ohio. We all know how well they run their areas of the country,” Cupp said.
“I’m certainly opposed to it. As everybody has already mentioned here, it’s bad for Ohio. What I take offense with is these outside forces, the very far left, the very very far left that are promoting this. Here is what I take exception with, they are trying in my opinion, to promote their value system onto us. I think they think they know better than we do and we can’t think for ourselves. Just stay away. Just stay out of here. This is Ohio,” Riedel said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.