The Lima News sent questionnaires to every candidate in races in Allen, Auglaize, Hardin, Putnam and Van Wert counties for this election section. Candidates had the opportunity to give biographical information and discuss major issues in their races. Candidates also had an option to submit a photograph. Only names and residences identify candidates who did not return a questionnaire yet. We continue to receive more questionnaires every day, so check back here soon to see the latest submitted answers.
U.S. HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 5TH DISTRICT
[image#2, align=left, size=thumbnail]Caleb Finkenbiner
Residence: Holgate Avenue, Defiance
Residence: Mercer Road, Bowling Green
[image#1, align=left, size=thumbnail]Bob Latta (incumbent)
Residence: Muirfield Drive, Bowling Green
Campaign website: www.lattaforcongress.com
Education: Juris doctor from University of Toledo College of Law; bachelor’s degree from Bowling Green State University; graduated from Bowling Green Senior High School
Relevant experience: U.S. House of Representatives from 2007 to present, Ohio House of Representatives from 2001 to 2007, Ohio Senate from 1997 to 2000, Wood County commissioner from 1991-1996
Years living in area: 54
The top issues are jobs, the economy, health-care reform, cap and trade, taxes and the debt and the deficit. The 5th District is the largest manufacturing and agricultural district in Ohio. All of the above issues are cited time and again to me by businesses as to why they are not creating new jobs.
Americans agree that health care needs reformed, but not with Obamacare. This new law is imposing mandates on individuals and businesses alike. It greatly increases cost on businesses that will prevent them from expanding. The law contains a provision that businesses will have to generate 1099s on $600 or more transactions. This has been called the greatest federal imposition on business. We must repeal and replace Obamacare and have open hearings for Americans to attend and voice their opinions.
The House passed Cap and Trade, without my support. This bill would impose a tax on CO2 emissions. It would affect all businesses, farmers, seniors and families and be the largest energy tax ever imposed.
We must keep the Bush tax cuts for all Americans, eliminate the death tax and give businesses a 20 percent cut in their taxes.
The national debt stands at over $13 trillion. We have a deficit of around $1.4 trillion. We owe foreign governments over $4 trillion. This insanity must come to an end. By 2020, the Congressional Budget Office estimates that the debt will be over $20 trillion, and we will be paying around $2 billion a day in interest.
If you favor Bush-era tax cuts, what would change in the federal budget to accommodate them?
To jump-start the economy, Congress must renew the Bush tax cuts for all Americans. The last thing you do in a recession is raise taxes, as President Obama, Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid are advocating. Individuals and businesses alike face massive tax increases if Congress doesn’t act before the end of the year.
Farmers, families and small businesses face death taxes returning to their 2000 level, thereby causing upheavals on family farms and businesses. Even President Obama's recently departed Director of Office of Management and Budget said that the tax cuts need to be extended.
The Republicans in the House advocate for a return to the fiscal year 2008 budget levels for the federal government excepting defense, homeland security and mandatory spending. This alone is estimated to save $99 billion.
Next, Congress won't pass any more failed stimulus and bailout bills. Congress should recoup the appropriated money from the stimulus and TARP.
Congress must also pass a budget. Since 1974, the House has always passed a budget resolution. The Democrats failed to pass a budget this year because they were afraid of the voters’ wrath when the numbers of the mounting debt and deficit would be revealed. If you don't have a budget, you can't control spending.
American families, farmers, and businesses are suffering. Everyone else has cut back except for the federal government, which has kept expanding with more federal jobs. My constituents ask me, “When is the federal government cutting back?”
As the United States turns its attention to Afghanistan, what should be our strategy and goals there?
I believe President Obama made a strategic mistake when he announced to the world that the United States military would begin to draw down in July 2011. By taking this step, he has made it difficult and more dangerous for troops on the ground. Why would any of the local tribes want to cooperate with Americans? They have said that the Americans will be gone, but the Taliban and other terrorist groups will remain. Why would they want to endanger their own lives as well as their families?
President Bush brought in General Petraeus for the surge in Iraq. The surge succeeded. Why would other nations want to make commitments in Afghanistan if they know that America is drawing down?
Afghanistan is a complicated country. Central authority is not established. Tribal affiliations are extremely important. We need to gain their confidence. The world can't allow for the spread of terrorism into Pakistan, because that country has nuclear warheads. We have to have a measured strategy so that our troops can accomplish their mission.
How should trade policies change to improve Ohio's job outlook?
Ohio has many jobs that depend on trade. In northern Ohio, we have many companies whose employees rely on trade for their jobs. As I visit manufacturing facilities across the 5th District, it is incredible how many companies make products for the international market.
One of the first priorities for President Obama should be meeting with China and the rest of the world community in getting China to have its Yuan set with the rest of world's currencies. If the Yuan is held artificially low, China will be able to get its products into other markets cheaper than the rest of us.
The United States must also move on the South Korea, Panama and Columbian trade agreements. For example, Columbian products are coming into this country just about free, while American-made goods are heavily taxed. South Korea is negotiating with the European Union, while the United States has been on the sidelines. We have to be able to get into these markets. We can't consume all that we make.
What made America great was that after the Civil War, the Industrial Revolution began in full force, and we simply out-produced the rest of the world with good and affordable goods. We can't put up a fence because we need to sell American made goods around the world.
Candidates: U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District
Candidates: U.S. House of Representatives, 5th District