Source: Craig Kelly | The Lima NewsRep. Jim Jordan talks about efforts to replace Obamacare at Midwest Electric Cooperative breakfast in St. Marys.
ST. MARYS — As Midwest Electric Cooperative members gathered at the cooperative’s St. Marys garage Tuesday morning, politics was the hot topic of conversation, with both U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, and state Rep. Craig Riedel, R-Defiance, in attendance.
The breakfast was held in conjunction with the Action Committee for Rural Electrification political action committee, bringing a large number of members together to talk public policy.
“There is usually a couple hundred people here,” Midwest Electric Finance Manager Kevin Schmidt said. “Our membership is from Allen, Auglaize, Van Wert and Mercer counties, with a little in Shelby and Putnam counties.”
While energy is what brought the group together, a variety of political topics were discussed, including health care.
“We’re focused on getting rid of those regulations that are driving up premiums, because we want to bring premiums down for families across the 4th [Congressional] District and across the country,” Jordan said. “I think we will get there, and we need to get there because this is a promise we made to the American people.”
For Riedel, in his first term in Columbus, the first few months have been a whirlwind learning experience, but his focus is primarily on Gov. John Kaisch’s proposed budget, which Riedel said will be staying in the House for a few more weeks before going to the Senate.
“I think there are a lot of things that will change in the budget, particularly when it comes to taxes,” he said. “I know the governor wants to reduce the income tax and increase the sales tax and broaden the sales tax, and I don’t believe that has a lot of support in the General Assembly. I think there might be some sort of compromise there, but I don’t think the governor’s going to get everything he wants there.”
Speaking about a proposal in the budget that would centralize the collection of municipal income taxes in Columbus, a measure that several communities, including Lima, have formally protested, Riedel said he has heard similar objections from communities in his district, but he supports the proposal.
“I understand there’s that concern that Columbus will overreach, that this is just the beginning of more to come,” he said. “Personally, I like it. I come from a business background, and I understand why this is proposed.”