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Guest column/Candidate looking forward to debate on issues

June 10, 2012
By CHARLIE WILSON , The Herald-Star

As a constituent of U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson, R-Marietta, I, too, was disappointed to hear the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics report that outlined only 69,000 additional jobs added last month nationally and that our nation's unemployment rate has increased to 8.2 percent. You don't have to be an economist to see the effects unemployment has had on our area. Drive north or south on state Route 7 and look at the abandoned steel factories that once represented a robust economic manufacturing hub - their only remaining value being sold for scrap.

For decades our area has represented the backbone of our nation's economy. We have served as a manufacturing center for a democracy founded on the principals of capitalism. Our sweat that fell upon our blue collars helped those wearing white collars build fortunes. In return we asked for the opportunity to make a livable wage that would allow us to support our families. But now, in your economy, we are being told that work was not enough.

Johnson only recently moved to this area, so let me explain this to him - offering tax breaks to millionaires in place of supporting local jobs is not the way to pull our district out of this recession. Pointing fingers, and passing the blame on to others is not a value that we share. He must be accountable for his own record.

Regrettably, the promises made on the political campaign trail in 2010 to bring new jobs to this area and support our local economy have simply not been met with action and success. Johnson voted to send jobs to South Korea, Panama and Columbia, but voted against the American Jobs Act that would have provided $25 billion in additional investments in our schools, and $50 billion in investments in roads and infrastructure growth.

That $75 billion represents jobs that were lost, and as a constituent, I hold him accountable. Taking marching orders from your party leaders and leveling partisan cheap shots across the aisle is not leadership. These actions do not embody the people you represent, a community Johnson is just beginning to know.

To conclude - I challenge Johnson to do something, anything. You hold an incredible amount of power because you are a member of Congress. But more important, he has a moral responsibility to those who he represents. Johnson's constituents are suffering from the failed policies of his party leaders on free trade that sell out our local businesses, on going soft on Wall Street profiteers, on giving tax breaks to multinational corporations who move jobs overseas. When I was privileged to serve this area, I exercised great care in being an independent voice for the people I represent, as the leaders in my party will attest after votes against a national energy tax and in defense of the Second Amendment. Can Johnson say the same? As he comes to know this area he will realize that we are independent. We speak our mind and we appreciate hard work. It is time to take responsibility for your actions, your positions and your votes. Its time to represent a district that continues to see staggering job loss on your watch. It is time to vote with your district in mind.

I look forward to an open debate during this campaign and even more so to returning to Washington to provide sound leadership to a district that needs leadership more than ever.

(Wilson, a resident of Bridgeport, is the Democratic nominee in the race for Ohio's 6th Congressional District.)

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