Strickland makes strong case to represent new 6th District
In the May primary election, we endorsed Ted Strickland of Lucasville, a four-term member of the U.S. House of Representatives, for the Democratic nomination for the new 6th Congressional District seat, and Mike Halleck, a former Columbiana County commissioner, for the Republican nomination. They both won and now are competing for the grand prize in the Nov. 5 general election.
Thus we are faced with the difficult choice of having to select one for our support. Difficult because Halleck is a hometown candidate who, by virtue of having served as a county commissioner, knows this region well. Strickland, on the other hand, has a command of the job of congressman and has established ties on Capitol Hill that would benefit the 6th District.
The district stretches 300 miles from Boardman in Mahoning County to Salem in Columbiana County all the way down to Lawrence County, and though only about 35 percent of Strickland's current congressional district is part of the new 6th, the congressman has worked hard to introduce himself to the people in the counties that he has not represented in the past, especially the southwest portion of Mahoning and all of Columbiana, Jefferson and Belmont.
With two-thirds of the district's population concentrated within those counties, both candidates have spent a lot time in the area.
In the end, however, the choice comes down to this: Who can hit the ground running in January when the new term begins.
We believe that Strickland, with his legislative background and Washington experience, will be well positioned to be an advocate for the district on such important issues as job creation, health care, with emphasis on prescription drug benefits for the elderly, education and a national energy policy.
Though Halleck, who is on a leave of absence from his job as an administrator for the Ohio Department of Transportation, is able to talk about these and other issues of local and national import, many of his positions reflect the thinking of the Republican National Committee. Some partisanship is to be expected, but we believe that the individual who represents the 6th District in Congress must be capable of ideological flexibility.
Strickland has demonstrated an ability to work with the Republican majority in the House and has found a way to get important bills passed -- by recruiting Republicans to sponsor the measures.
Strickland defines himself as a "progressive pragmatist," which is what the 6th District needs for its congressman.
We urge the voters to return him to Washington.