Six Republicans vie for Democrat’s seat
Six candidates — James Brihan of Avon Lake, Tom Ganley of Brecksville, Bill Haney of Brunswick, Jim Hrubik of Norton, Jason Meade of Barberton and Todd Sharkey of Akron—will square off in the May 4 Republican primary for the 13th Congressional District, which includes northern Medina County. The winner will face Democrats Betty Sutton, the incumbent, or Justin Wooden in November.
What is your position on health care reform?
Brihan: “Reform” was attached to health care by liberals. Our system is the best in the world, so it’s not possible that it needs to be “reformed.” “Tweaked” is a better term. We all deserve health care, but none of us is entitled to it or anything else.
Ganley: There are many choices about how to proceed in regards to health care. To me, the following principles must be adhered to: The overall cost of health care must be reduced; the government must not become the single payer; insurance must remain in the private sector; insurance must be portable so it is no longer tied to employment; benefits must remain tax deductible; the system should incentivize health, not just the treatment of illness.
Haney: Not everything was appalling about the health care bill, but the overall package and the method used to get it passed were just another example of how our current representatives are failing us. We cannot allow a government takeover of our medical industry. We need to overturn the existing plan and come up with nongovernment-controlled, bipartisan solutions that can be phased in over time. Congress should start with legislation that has insurance companies fairly cover medical alternatives—for example, covering pharmaceutical alternatives to chemotherapy, which saves more lives and is more financially viable for all parties. Congress also should eliminate the excuse not to cover pre-existing conditions, and allow for cross-state competition for insurance companies. We should also move toward preventative wellness solutions, have tort reform and develop an electronic data system for medical history, which would lower costs and decrease any medical errors.
Hrubik: Health care is a matter between a physician and a patient. The power to regulate contracts is a state right. Insurance is a matter of contract law and is outside the constitutional jurisdiction of the federal government.
Meade: I would support reforms that withdraw the federal government’s interference with the medical industry. Our federal government has been meddling with our health care over the last several decades. The result has been to create the situation that so many today claim they are displeased with. More government interference is not the solution. The medical industry needs to be allowed to operate in the free market. Free market conditions will drive down the costs of hospital and pharmaceutical expenses. This will, in turn, produce an environment where health care will be more financially available to all. For those that are still in need, our citizenry is a caring one and will provide through other means (charity, church, family). I am overwhelmingly in favor of assisting those in need. What I object to, however, is in driving this “assistance” through Washington. These needs are best handled locally.
Sharkey: On the health care reform that was just passed and signed into law, I would have voted “no.” The bill does not address the underlying issues that are raising the cost of health care. I would support a bill that would actually bring down cost through the following initiatives: increase insurance competitiveness, remove state mandates, encourage health savings accounts, implement tort reform and prevent policy cancellation.
What is your strategy to bring jobs to Northeast Ohio?
Brihan: Eliminate corporate income tax. You are more likely to get a raise if your employer is paying fewer income taxes. Eliminate all foreign aid and redirect money to replacing our own infrastructure and energy grids, roads, bridges, etc.
Ganley: Businesses are successful when their employees are more productive than their competitors. The fact is that the world is catching up to us and in some cases racing past us. Their workers are better educated and more productive. So, you can be sure that we will lose jobs to them in the future unless necessary actions are taken now. We must improve the education of our children. We must change tax laws to ensure that we are not outsourcing knowledge-based jobs that are the early career steps for our college graduates. We must incentivize our businesses, especially small businesses to grow and to hire more employees.
Haney: We need America First trade policies, not NAFTA or GATT. Outsourcing American jobs and manufacturing capabilities is not “free trade.” I believe we need a combination of tariffs on goods manufactured outside the United States, including American and non-American-based companies, and business tax cuts for companies producing goods within our borders in order to make it advantageous to use American workers. We should reduce the business tax rate to 12.5 percent, matching the rate used in Ireland. In Ohio alone, we have had doubledigit unemployment for 10 straight months. In the past year, Ohio has lost an additional 126,000 jobs, bringing our official unemployment numbers to 641,000 folks. That is unacceptable. Part of the problem is the most recent numbers show the U.S. had a trade deficit of over $37 billion in January alone. Staying at that level would give us an annual trade imbalance of $447.5 billion, over 18 percent above 2009 numbers. We can fix that by eliminating any impediments to producing here in the states. This includes the elimination of excess regulations and taxes that make it difficult to make a profit, and allows the private sector to provide jobs for citizens of the United States. I also believe we should limit or eliminate trade with any country promoting or allowing the trade of slavery and servitude of women, especially those having the “legal” practice of slave concubines. Hrubik: Employer confidence in Northeast Ohio can best be improved by ending the constant change in government rules and regulations, and by stabilizing our currency.
Meade: The real solution to our economic woes in northern Ohio is to relieve our businesses and manufacturers of the crushing burden of over-taxation and overregulation. Regulations only weigh down the businesses that wish to operate responsibly. Those that wish to operate unscrupulously will do so regardless of regulations and should be held legally accountable.
Sharkey: First, we need to begin cultivating an environment that is pro-business. As a representative in Congress, I will work to cut the corporate tax rates as well as cut the capital gains tax to promote business investment and growth. Second, we need to reduce the burden that over-regulation has placed upon our businesses. I will work to develop a relationship between business and labor. In addition, we cannot grow the economy when the cost of energy continues to rise. We need to begin utilizing the natural resources in Northeast Ohio. We can start drilling for oil and natural gas right here. Lastly, I will work with the leadership in Columbus and Northeast Ohio to investigate what other states are doing that is encouraging investment and business growth.
What are the biggest challenges facing Northeast Ohio?
Brihan:Welfare State has created more poverty, not less. Taxes to pay a woman who chooses to have eight children by different live-in boyfriends cannot go on forever. Those in poverty must embrace education as the healthiest way out of poverty. Funding to non-performing schools should be cut. Let’s not reward failure.
Ganley:We need to reduce the size of the federal government and limit its impact on our daily lives. We need to create budgets we can afford and have the discipline to stay within those budgets.We need to create an environment that incentivizes job growth.
Haney: The lack of ethics in government is the biggest issue that encompasses our primary concerns nationally and regionally.We need to support life from conception to natural death; offer a $10,000 tax credit incentive for married mothers (or fathers) to stay home with their children; lower the tax burden on individuals from the principle rate of 25 percent down to 15 percent (helping 90 percent of Americans); stop government overspending with a constitutional amendment to balance the budget; give more control back to the states; put federal termlimits in place to stop corruption; support American manufacturing; save Social Security; have Congress spend 75 percent of their time in their home districts; audit the Federal Reserve; and obey the Constitution.
Hrubik: The biggest challenge facing Northeast Ohio is the widespread belief that government exists to solve peoples’ problems.
Meade: Our biggest challenges in Northeast Ohio involve manufacturing and education. I have described in my answer to the second question how to deal with the challenges to manufacturing. As for education, the Department of Education should be eliminated. Control of our schools and our children’s education should be returned fully to the local communities and parents. This is the level of oversight and control that can best reflect the needs of our children and the performance of our schools. Local control gives the necessary flexibility needed to optimize the school system.
Sharkey: Here are the four biggest challenges facing Northeast Ohio: unemployment, health care, education and leadership. One of the greatest freedoms in America is the right to send your kids to the school of your choice: public, private or home school. As a result of the way schools are funded, however, not everyone has the financial ability to make these choices. As a representative, I will work to give educational freedom back to the parents. What has made the United States of America great is its Constitution and its rule of law. It is not the government of the United States, but it is the limit of government by the Constitution that provides for the freedom of the people to go and utilize their God-given talents to pursue their dreams. We need strong leadership inWashington, and as a leader, I will serve the people by upholding the U.S. Constitution.