MEDINA — U.S. Rep. John Boccieri, D-Alliance, made his way through Medina County on Thursday to talk with local business leaders.
He started off the day at EBO Group in Sharon Township, where representatives from local government and businesses participated in a roundtable discussion with the congressman. Boccieri then toured manufacturer Rico Equipment’s Medina facility. He also met with Greater Medina Chamber of Commerce members at Medina Steakhouse.
“I’m here today because I want you to know that your congressman wants to hear from you and your congressman wants you to be successful,” he told those gathered at the restaurant.
Boccieri’s talk with chamber members focused on the economy, energy and health care.
The congressman said he came into office last year amid a devastating economic situation.
“Obviously these conditions that we’re facing economically … required Congress to act and to act boldly and to bring us off the edge of utter catastrophe,” he said.
He said the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, the Obama stimulus plan, was an important key to relieving the country’s fiscal situation.
“That is very, very important that we make those kinds of investments,” he said.
He said the economy seems to be on the upswing.
“Manufacturers are starting to increase. Home sales are starting to increase,” Boccieri said. “But make no question about it: We cannot have a jobless recovery. We cannot have a recovery (with) high unemployment.
The congressman said he supports a “robust energy policy” that moves away from foreign oil dependency and includes the use of renewable forms of energy and traditional ones like oil.
He said 66 percent of the oil the United States receives comes from overseas.
“We need to be the producers of energy so we can rely on domestic resources, create jobs and solidify the national security,” he said.
However, he noted any system used should be market-based and encourage energy diversity.
“There is no way we should take a one-size-fits-all approach to do this,” he said.
Boccieri voted against the Affordable Healthcare for America Act in the House in November. However, he said he supports health care reform.
“I felt the House bill needs to go further than it did … to reduce cost and expand coverage,” he said.
The congressman said the United States spends more than any industrialized country on health care and it could encompass more than half of the gross national product in 20 years.
He said he prefers the bill the Senate passed over the House measure because it puts more effort into reducing health care costs.
Boccieri, who represents the 16th Congressional District, is up for re-election in November. Republicans Matt Miller of Ashland and H. Doyle Smith of Canton have filed to run in the May 4 primary, according to the Stark County Board of Elections.
Four other Republicans — including former Wadsworth mayor Jim Renacci — have taken out petitions. The filing deadline for the primary is Feb. 18.
The 16th District includes most of Medina County, parts of Ashland County and all of Wayne and Stark counties.
Contact Maria Kacik at (330) 721-4049 or firstname.lastname@example.org.