Election 2012: Zimmann running to unseat LattaWritten by Brigitta Burks | News Editor | BBurks@toledofreepress.com
The Rev. Angela Zimmann is challenging U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, now in his third term, for his seat in the 5th District. The district includes parts of Toledo, Bowling Green, Fremont, Perrysburg and Rossford.
Eric Eberly, who works for A.A. Green Real Estate, is running for the Libertarian party.
Zimmann said she decided to run partially because of the redistricting that resulted in U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur no longer representing her area.
“I took a look at Bob Latta, who would be my representative, and I so disagreed with his voting records and his stance on the issues that I felt compelled to run against him,” she said.
Eberly had his own reason for running — his party.
“The Libertarian Party of Wood County was formed two years ago and one of our mission statements was to facilitate candidates on the ballot. No one had stepped up to the plate, so I took the cue and decided to run,” he said.
Latta, who used to practice law in Toledo, served in the Ohio House of Representatives from 2001-07, the Ohio Senate from 1997-2001 and as Wood County Commissioner from 1991-96. His father Del served in Congress for 30 years.
Latta said working on different government levels has helped him in his congressional career.
“You know when you’re passing legislation how it’s going to affect someone else,” Latta said, adding that he prides himself on constituent service.
Latta, who serves on the Energy and Commerce Committee, counts revamping the drug repackaging language as one of his major accomplishments as congressman.
The new language, signed into law in July, helps cut down on drug shortages by allowing hospitals to repackage drugs into smaller doses. The previous language did not permit a hospital to repackage a drug to use in another hospital within its system.
Latta said introducing HR 270, signed into law in October 2009, was another achievement. The law allows for reserve veterans, who were in the “gray area,” to purchase TRICARE Standard Health Care. Previously, retired reservists who were younger than 60, but had served 20 years, did not qualify for TRICARE.
“I’ve worked very hard for veterans. There’s not a group of individuals we owe more to,” Latta said. “The thing we want to make sure to take care of is veterans.”
Zimmann said that the Affordable Care Act does need to be made more accessible to small businesses, but, “I believe we should take a nuanced approach to revising it, not repealing it.”
She praised Obamacare for its provision allowing those younger than 26 to stay on their parents’ insurance. Some young people move out of the state to get health care and the provision may keep them in the area, she said.
Zimmann is the pastor of Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in America in Riga, Mich. She is also a faculty member at Bowling Green State University, but is on leave for the campaign.
She has a three-point plan to bring jobs to the area. “There’s no reason why Northwest Ohio shouldn’t just be the golden area of manufacturing,” she said.
One step would be improving the district’s infrastructure. An example would be resolving flood plain issues in areas like Findlay.
“Businesses don’t locate somewhere where they run the risk of being flooded out and if the flood plain issues are resolved, they’re much more likely to locate there,” Zimmann said.
The second step would be looking at tax loopholes that incentivize moving jobs overseas and the third would be preparing a workforce for available jobs.
Some jobs in trades like welding go unfilled because there aren’t people trained to do the work, she said. Zimmann said partnering with community colleges and vocational education providers is one way to solve this issue.
Latta also advocated eliminating certain tax loopholes in addition to taking a look at Environmental Protection Agency regulations.
“Nobody’s against clear air and clean water but you have to common sense regulations that businesses can comply with,” he said, giving an example of a rule that did not allow children to work on their family’s farms.
Zimmann said, “There are good regulations and there are bad regulations. It’s a nuanced topic. And [Latta] just generally speaks about [how] regulations are bad.”
“It’s not mutually exclusive. We can grow the economy and protect the environment,” she added.
Zimmann also said she disagreed with Latta’s votes on women’s issues like equal pay and anti-domestic violence legislation.
“I’m a mom. I’m a foster mom. I’m a pastor. I believe that abortion is a tragic option of last resort. It should be safe and legal. I can’t make that decision for another women …
I pray every day that abortion will end, but I know that making it illegal is not the way to end abortion; it’s making a stronger economy where women don’t have to make that choice,” Zimmann said.
“The war on women is very real. And Rep. Latta has been at the forefront of that.”
In response, Latta said in a statement, “I am pro-life and will continue to work to protect the sanctity of life.”
Eberly, who trained as a chef, grew up in Maryland before moving to Bowling Green in junior high.
He said he believes that abortion is a “personal, private matter” that should be left to the woman, her doctor, her religious views and her family.
“I support equal pay for equal work. I believe that a person’s ability to make a salary should depend on their ability to do the job,” he also said.
Eberly, who is a first-time candidate, is also a proponent of eliminating the Internal Revenue Service and establishing a consumption-based tax known as the Fair Tax.
Small business owners who he’s spoken with have been supportive of the idea, Eberly said.
The candidate also said he was for legalizing online gambling and poker and industrial hemp.
“It’s a very good crop in that it’s drought resistant,” he said, adding that hemp is grown in Canada and used to be found in Ohio.
Eberly also had his qualms about the Affordable Care Act. He advocated opening up the state’s border for health insurance to also open up the market.
“When you look at Obamacare, it’s one of those good intentions, but poorly executed,” he said. “Unfortunately, I don’t think the Affordable Care Act is the best law in that it has 20 new taxes.”
Not being able to get a constitutional amendment passed to balance the budget has been his biggest disappointment while in Congress, Latta said.
“I look back to [that] as a point when Democrats said, ‘We don’t need a constitutional amendment. We can take care of ourselves.’ How do you explain that $16 trillion debt?” Latta said.
Latta has also voted to repeal the Affordable Care Act. He called tax-reporting provision 1099 “the most onerous thing ever imposed on small business.”