PERRYSBURG — The candidates vying for to the Democratic nomination of the 5th Ohio Congressional District, James Neu Jr. and Michael Galbraith, may be similar in that they have never held political office, but they differ when it comes to expertise.
James Neu, Jr., who ran against Latta in 2016 and gained 29 percent of the vote, is a union factory worker. The experience of waking up and working everyday, he said, allows him to better connect with the constituents of the district.
As for political newcomer Michael Galbraith, he spent more than 30 years working in the international financial markets in Europe before moving back to the area in 2003 and starting his own investment firm.
James Neu, Jr.
“I hope to bring the average working voice back to Congress — the average people who work, like me and you.” Neu said. “I want to bring the people back into Washington. My philosophy is people before party and politics.”
As a member of the middle class, Neu said he knows middle class problems well and he can use that experience to let other members of Congress know what it’s like for middle class families in the Midwest.
He’s also held position as a union steward for United Auto Workers 1435, he said, which gives him the experience of working with a broad group of people.
Neu said the biggest issues facing the 5th district is the lack of jobs for skilled work. Although the unemployment rate is low, individuals are leaving the district for job opportunities elsewhere. He said funding large infrastructure projects could change the trend.
“We can always have more jobs in the district, but the thing we’re lacking is retaining that workforce. Once they get an education, they’re leaving because those jobs aren’t here anymore. One of the things I want to do is have the jobs here available for them. You hear the politicians talk about infrastructure — you need skilled labor to do that,” Neu said.
“When making investment decisions, one has to reach a consensus so negotiating and making everyone satisfied with the outcome is a very important part of the job,” Galbraith said. “Doing that in Washington will be interesting and difficult, but I feel I’m up to the job.”
Galbraith said incumbent Rep. Bob Latta has lost touch with his constituency because he doesn’t take the effort to meet and talk with those he represents.
As for his primary opponent, Galbraith said Neu lacks the breadth of knowledge and experience needed to deal with individuals with varying backgrounds.
Galbraith mentioned environmental problems such as algae bloom caused by nutrient runoff and the need for cheaper healthcare as two of the issues he hopes to address while in Congress.
“I think there’s a need for accessible healthcare, a need to change how we fund public education, a need for common sense gun laws. I would look to be a part of a caucus that looks for common sense solutions and not extreme legislation,” Galbraith said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.