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Voinovich tackles hot topics



Published: Wed, October 18, 2006 @ 12:00 a.m.



The senator said he opposes Issue 3, which would legalize slot machines.

YOUNGSTOWN -- U.S. Sen. George Voinovich, R-Ohio, was in town Tuesday to talk about Medicare, but he also offered his point of view on several other subjects:

Issue 3 -- The proposed constitutional amendment to allow up to 31,500 slot machines at seven horse race tracks and two downtown Cleveland locations. Voinovich called it an assault on Ohio families and urged voters to oppose it. People need to get all the facts, he said, noting television ads promoting passage don't give a full picture. Sixty-one percent of the revenue will go directly to the track and slot parlor operators and only 30 percent will go for higher education, he said. No higher education group has endorse the plan, Voinovich added. Counties such as Mahoning will realize only between 350,000 and 650,000 a year in revenue, not even enough to treat the predicted growth in the number of gambling addicts the slot machines are expected to create, he said.

New anti-terrorist legislation to be signed by President Bush -- The compromise on the Patriot Act is "very responsible," Voinovich said. It's very difficult to balance the rights of citizens and the rights of suspected terrorist detainees with the job of protecting national security, he said. Voinovich believes that, without the Patriot Act, the United States would have suffered another terrorist attack, although perhaps not as devastating as the events of Sept. 11.

North Korean nuclear tests -- "It's in the hands of the Chinese, South Koreans and Japanese," Voinovich said, agreeing with the U.S. stance that those countries in the region should take the lead on opposing the test. The issue now is just how hard China will lean on North Korea to end its nuclear ambitions. Voinovich worries that North Korea's actions could lead to a nuclear arms race in Asia.

Reports of the GOP's cutting off funds for Sen. Michael DeWine's re-election bid -- The GOP Senatorial Committee already has spent about 5 million in Ohio and will spend that much more, Voinovich said. The GOP has called the report of reduced funding inaccurate. Even if it were true, it would only mean that DeWine's campaign is already fully funded and doesn't need the federal assistance, Voinovich added.




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