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OHIO LAWMAKERS Strickland, Sawyer, Brown rate high in children's issues



Published: Mon, July 22, 2002 @ 12:00 a.m.



U.S. Rep. James A. Traficant Jr. fared poorly in the children's issues survey.

By DAVID SKOLNICK

VINDICATOR POLITICS WRITER

YOUNGSTOWN -- Every chance they could, U.S. Reps. Ted Strickland, Thomas C. Sawyer and Sherrod Brown voted in favor of issues that favored children, according to a Democratic-leaning children's advocacy organization.

On the other hand, U.S. Reps. James A. Traficant Jr. and Steven C. LaTourette voted at nearly every opportunity against bills to help children, according to the Children's Defense Fund Action Council's survey of 2001 congressional votes.

The organization, based in Washington, D.C., researched how congressmen voted last year on 10 issues including funding for nondefense discretionary spending, estate tax relief, tax cuts, increase federally subsidized housing credits and an economic stimulus package. Also the survey took into account whether members of Congress co-sponsored the Act to Leave No Child Behind, a national policy for children.

The voting

Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat who is running in a congressional district that includes Columbiana County and a portion of Mahoning County, received a score of 91 percent from the group. He voted the way the Children's Defense Fund wanted on all 10 issues, but was not a co-sponsor of the Act to Leave No Child Behind.

Sawyer, an Akron Democrat who lost his party's primary for the 17th Congressional District seat, and Brown, a Lorain Democrat who represents western Trumbull County through the end of the year, also received scores of 91 percent from the organization for voting with it on the 10 issues, but not co-sponsoring the act.

Traficant, a Poland Democrat running in the 17th District as an independent, and LaTourette, a Madison Republican who is running in a congressional district that includes seven northern Trumbull County townships, voted with the organization only twice.

Both voted against an amendment to the education reauthorization bill to reduce the overall funding level by $2.3 billion, which was rejected by the House. Traficant was one of two Democrats to vote against the bill.

Also, both voted in favor of a bill, which the House passed, to spend $124.3 billion for the Labor, Health and Human Services, and Education departments that included $12.3 billion for the Title I program.

Voinovich's record

U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, an Ohio Republican, received the third worst score among all senators from the organization. He voted with the organization only once, supporting a bill, which the Senate passed, seeking to keep a child tax credit in the federal tax bill. Voinovich received a score of 9 percent, a 1 percent decrease from last year's survey. He also received the third worst score among senators in last year's survey.

U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, Ohio's other Republican senator, received a score of 36 percent from the organization.

Overall, Ohio's congressional delegation received an average score of 42 percent from the organization, placing it in 32nd place among the nation's 50 states on children's issues, according to the Children's Defense Fund. Ohio finished in 37th place last year.

Pennsylvania's score

As a congressional delegation, Pennsylvania fared better than Ohio, according to the survey. The Keystone State finished in 25th place, up from 32nd place last year. The state's congressional delegation received an average score of 47 percent.

But U.S. Reps. Phil English, an Erie Republican who represents Mercer County, and Melissa Hart, a Bradford Woods Republican who represents Lawrence County, didn't help the state's average. Both received scores of 18 percent for voting with the organization on only two issues; the same two issues that received the support of Traficant and LaTourette.

Pennsylvania's two senators, Arlen Specter and Rick Santorum, both Republicans, received scores of 55 percent and 18 percent, respectively.

skolnick@vindy.com




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