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Government and Politics

Hearing from Ohio's largely silent congressional race
The 14th Congressional District race has no incumbent, but it's not drumming up much interest
Story by BILL RICE
This story is part of a special series.

Attendance at the 14th Congressional District debate was sparse.
Courtesy of BILL RICE
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In The Region:

For many political analysts, it’s a given that the Republicans will hold onto Ohio’s 14th Congressional District.

But there is a contest and the two contenders squared off today  at the City Club of Cleveland. For Ohio Public Radio, WCPN’s Bill Rice has more on the race to succeed Steve LaTourette, who abruptly decided this fall to retire from the district that includes Lake County and parts of Geauga and Cuyahoga.

RICE: 14th district debate

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A perennial Democratic contender, Dale Blanchard, who’s been running for Congress and losing for 16 years, has his work cut out for him against Republican David Joyce, the Geauga County prosecutor since 1988.  He got one of his best shots with City Club debate -- and even that drew only a few dozen people in the audience.

“ The problem with the economy is not that the government is too large.  The problem is we’ve got to get consumers to get out there and start spending.  We’ve got to spend our way out of this recession.”

And the Democratic candidate agrees with President Obama that taxes on the rich – incomes above $250,000 a year – should go up.

Joyce, Medicare and Social Security
Joyce told the audience he’d follow in the footsteps of LaTourette, a moderate Republican.  But the themes he hit were pretty much the usual entrées off  the GOP menu. 
He said the federal government is too big, it’s taxes are too high, and it’s regulations are too burdensome. 

“It should be states (that) should be able to set the pace at which they want to grow, and the federal government should be there to help on the bigger ticket issues like infrastructure.”

And Joyce seems aligned with GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan on entitlements.  He’d protect seniors from any changes in Medicare and Social Security, but younger baby boomers would have to work longer to collect.  And he wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act – Obamacare.

Other healthcare
“We need to allow for some of the good points.  We need to allow that those who are 26 can stay on their parents’ insurance, the fact that their pre-existing conditions get to stay on their insurance.  Those are important.” 

Democrat Blanchard said he would stand unequivocally with the AARP to oppose any changes to Medicare and Social Security.  He staunchly defended the health care bill.

Asked whether Ohio is better off than the rest of the nation, Joyce said yes and credited Republican Gov. John Kasich; Blanchard said yes, too, but and credited Democratic President Barack Obama.

And both said bipartisan compromise is a worthy goal.

 Here’s Joyce’s take: 

“It’s been childish what’s been taking place, and I am - just like you - frustrated with what’s been taking place in Congress.  What makes me think that I should get up off my duff at 55 years old and go to Washington D.C. to break that gridlock?  Because I care.” 

The debate did not touch at all on things like foreign trade and off-shoring of jobs, which have been prominent in other races this campaign season. 


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