Politics

‘Die-in’ shows grave concerns about GOP health plan

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   A strip along North Main Street was turned into a makeshift “cemetery” Thursday as supporters of the Affordable Care Act laid on the ground and held up cardboard tombstones. “Last Thursday, the House passed a bill that will have this effect on people,” said Sara Jobin, one of the organizers of the “die-in.” One “tombstone” read “Beloved daughter chose college over health care.” Another stated, “Killed by heartless lies.” And another, “RIP Democracy.” The protest was held in front of the office of U.S. Rep. Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green. Latta was not present and the office closed shortly after the “die-in” began. Molly Tomaszewski, of Northwood, held signs protesting the projections that 24 million Americans will lose coverage under the American Health Care Act passed by the House GOP members, including Latta.  She believes the answer is a single payer system. “Universal health care is not a partisan issue. It’s a life issue,” she said. “We need health care.” Tomaszewski said her husband has good health insurance through his job. But she has 27 pre-existing conditions as listed in the new GOP plan. Without insurance, her prescriptions would cost $5,000 a month. “They could put lifetime caps on,” she said, worrying about how she would then afford her medications. Of the 30 people gathered for the protest, the majority were women. Anesa Miller, of Bowling Green, said her husband died last month after a long illness. She was insured through him, and is two years away from qualifying from Medicare. So she may have to pay six times as much for coverage…

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Voters want to see Latta and Trump’s tax returns

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Every Friday they show up with their signs – fueled by frustration and fear about the future of the nation. This week, constituents of Ohio’s Fifth Congressional District had two main questions for U.S. Rep. Bob Latta at his office in Bowling Green. But as usual, they had to settle for talking to the congressman’s staff. First question – why has Latta refused to meet with his constituents? “Where is Bob Latta. We really want to see him,” said Betsey Davis, of Indivisible Maumee River Progressives. And second, where are President Donald Trump’s tax returns, and why did Latta vote that the president shouldn’t have to make them public? “Where are his taxes? Let’s have some honesty,” Davis said. As some citizens stood out along North Main Street, others went into Latta’s office and voiced their concerns and questions to the congressman’s staff. Despite repeated requests, Latta has not responded to their efforts to meet with him. “We’ve invited him so many times,” said Kathy Bangle, of Fulton County Indivisible. “We want to talk to him. We want to hear what he has to say. We come every single Friday. His aides are wonderful. But it’s not the same as talking with him.” On Friday, the posters again revealed the thoughts of the constituents. “Latta is Lost,” “Wanted for Not Doing His Job,” “MIA.” They periodically broke out into chants of “Where is Bob?” “We need him to listen, and we need him to start protecting us,” Davis said. “It’s not good enough,” to talk with the congressman’s aides each week. “We’ve…


Guest Column from State Representative Theresa Gavarone

Improving Communication Between Law Enforcement and Disabled Ohioans   The most important part of being a state representative is to ensure a clear and effective channel of communication between myself and my constituents of Wood County. Oftentimes, with this assurance, great ideas for legislation can come directly from everyday Ohioans, truly influencing the day-to-day issues and struggles that can be addressed from the state level of government. Exactly this kind of exchange recently occurred and became the impetus behind House Bill 115, which I recently introduced with my colleague, Representative Scott Wiggam.   The idea for the “No Labels Initiative” was brought to my attention by Jenny Hughes, a constituent from Walbridge, who has two sons who have been diagnosed with autism. House Bill 115 would create a voluntary database of individuals with a communication disability to be utilized by law enforcement. Administered by the Ohio Department of Public Safety, the database would be available to law enforcement officers through the Law Enforcement Automated Data System (LEADS).   The designation would be used through LEADS in a similar manner as individuals who carry a concealed carry license. Before approaching a vehicle, an officer may run its registration and will be notified if a driver or passenger has registered as having a communication disability. This will help improve communication between the officer and the individual, preventing possible misunderstandings and improving the safety and security of both parties in such situations.   Additionally, House Bill 115 seeks to remove the stigma behind being labeled as a person with a disability by keeping the information private, rather than having a visible marker on…


‘All Politics is Local’ and some is pretty nasty right now

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   If you want to make your words count with politicians, forget the form letter. Face-to-face conversations are best. Personally written letters and phone calls also carry some weight. But email form letters are next to worthless – especially if you forget to put your name in the “insert your name here” slot – which oddly enough, many people do. “Personal contact is best, if you can,” State Senator Randy Gardner, R-Bowling Green, said Saturday during the second in the three part series on “Civics 101: Get Informed. Get Engaged. Get Results.” Gardner was joined in the “All Politics is Local” program by former State Rep. Tim Brown, Bowling Green City Council members Bob McOmber and Sandy Rowland, and Wood County Probate and Juvenile Court Judge David Woessner. The “Civics 101” project is the brainchild of local citizens who were moved by the last election to become more engaged in the workings of government. “I know people are cynical about politics,” Gardner told the crowd. But individuals can make a difference in government. And despite what many people think, it’s not about the money for many politicians, he said. “That’s not true for most,” Gardner said. It’s the chance meeting with a physician at a Kiwanis pancake breakfast about the need for children to carry their asthma inhalers at school, or an emotional plea from a mom about the need for children to have comprehensive eye exams. “Sometimes it’s just one person” who starts the ball rolling on new legislation, Gardner said. When he was just new as a county commissioner, Brown remembered…



Brush up on civics: Series explores how to influence public affairs

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News A period of political turmoil may be the time for citizens to brush up on their civics. A collection of civic and campus groups are offering residents that opportunity with a three-part series “Civics 101: Get Informed. Get Engaged. Get Results.” The sessions will be held Saturday mornings, April 1, 8, and 15 from 9:30 a.m.to 12:30 p.m. at the Maumee Valley Unitarian Universalist Congregation, 20189 N. Dixie Highway (Route 25) Bowling Green. “I’ve been talking to a lot of people about politics,” said Meghan Wilson, one of the organizers. Many expressed frustration that they don’t know more about how government works, from local council to the halls of Congress. As someone with a lifelong passion for politics, it was an issue she wanted to address. So she posted on social media asking if anyone else wanted to work on the project. That was in February. Since then Civics 101 has come together, as the organizers decided what topics to address and who to get to address them. Michelle Chronister was one of those who responded. She was already thinking about something along the same lines. She liked that it was initiated by individual citizens, “just a bunch of people who came together and said, ‘let’s do it.’” They did solicit sponsorship from a number of organizations – the League of Women Voters of Bowling Green; the BGSU Center for Community and Civic Engagement; the Women’s Club of Bowling Green; the American Association of University Women of BG; and the Common Good. Those groups, Chronister said, lend the series credibility. The series is a…


Local citizens fight to hang onto Affordable Care Act

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Minutes after news broke Thursday that the vote on a new health plan for the nation had been put on hold, local residents were celebrating the seventh birthday of the Affordable Care Act. Wearing birthday hats, holding balloons and blowing noise makers, the citizens presented birthday cards and decorated cupcakes to staff at U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office in Bowling Green. Others stood along North Main Street, bearing signs like the one stating, “Trump Care Doesn’t Care….it’s tax credits for the rich.” As cars drove, they sang “Happy Birthday,” with some following the last stanza with an optimistic “and many more.” One of the birthday party organizers, Sean Elliott of Bowling Green, said he was “relieved” that the Republican health care bill failed to advance on Thursday, though he realized the delay was likely to be brief. “It seems really unacceptable,” considering the millions of people it would leave uninsured. For Elloitt, it’s not just a matter of public policy. It’s personal. “It’s not just a statistic,” he said. Elliott’s 4-year-old son, Jacoby, has a rare chromosome disorder that has delayed his motor skills. He is unable to walk or to talk. The Affordable Care Act has helped with Jacoby’s medical bills – but the replacement bill could halt that coverage. “To see that program gutted would be devastating,” Elliott said. Inside Latta’s office, citizens asked Andy Lorenz, the representative’s district director, where Latta stands on the Republican health care bill.  Lorenz said his boss supported the bill when it came out of committee, but he wasn’t sure of his stance since…