In new 13th District, Ryan, Agana differ on stimulus, auto rescue, Obamacare

By David Skolnick


Marisha Agana, the Republican challenging U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, opposes the $831 billion federal stimulus package, “Obamacare,” and the federal bailout of the American auto industry.

Ryan, a Democrat from Niles seeking his sixth two-year term, not only supports all three bills and voted for them, but says the stimulus package wasn’t “big enough,” and the federal government should borrow more money for another stimulus.

“A lot of that money was used to plug holes in state budgets,” said Ryan. “Money came back here for police and fire and roads. We need to do more.”

How much more?

Being able to borrow money at a low-interest rate of about 1 percent, Ryan contends borrowing $300 billion is “like free money,” and could be used for infrastructure improvements.

“You can’t dismiss what the stimulus package did,” he said. “You can say, ‘It didn’t do enough and didn’t drive down unemployment [enough.’ But] it stabilized the economy.”

Agana, a pediatrician from Howland, said, “There was an inequitable distribution of the stimulus package.” It would have been better, she said, for the government to give money directly to people rather than to projects.

Agana, who opposes abortions under any circumstances, said Obamacare would take the decision-making process on a person’s medical treatment out of the hands of doctors and patients.

She acknowledges a problem with the health-care system in the nation, but doctors should have more of a say in the changes needed to improve it.

Ryan, who voted for Obamacare, said the program is a success that “expands care for every American. Progress has been made. We’ve got to keep improving.”

While many Democrats, including President Barack Obama, are calling for those who make $250,000 annually in salary to pay more in taxes, Ryan said that move should be delayed for “at least a year” to allow the economy to better recover.

As for the federal auto bailout, Ryan said the American auto industry would no longer exist without it.

Agana said federal bailouts are “something I have a problem with,” adding that “I would have thought way before to avoid the problem.”

Because of redistricting, the current 17th Congressional District will be the new 13th District. The district largely remains the same though it adds more people in Mahoning [most notably Boardman], Summit and Stark counties and takes some away in Trumbull and Portage counties.

Meanwhile, the race for the 14th Congressional District seat got a jolt when nine-term incumbent Steven C. LaTourette, a Republican from Bainbridge, withdrew from seeking re-election in August.

Republican officials selected Geauga County Prosecutor David P. Joyce of Novelty to replace LaTourette on the ballot.

The 14th District includes 11 northern townships in Trumbull County.

Joyce said if elected, he would work to create jobs by getting the economy going through an investment in the American people and small business owners.

Others in the race are Democrat Dale Virgil Blanchard of Solon, a perennial congressional candidate; Elaine R. Mastromatteo, the Green Party candidate from Bristolville; and David Macko of Solon, the Libertarian Party candidate.

Mastromatteo criticized the government for policies that take “away the rights of the people and their communities to have dominion over themselves and their local resources.”

Macko said the nation needs people “in office, especially in Congress, who understand the Constitution and the proper limitations on government.”

Blanchard didn’t submit a candidate questionnaire listing his positions on issues to The Vindicator.

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