candidates forum

Candidates compete for voters’ support at forum

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   For two hours Sunday afternoon, 18 candidates on the November ballot talked about the lack of civility in Congress, arming teachers in schools, abortion, and judicial temperament. As far as candidate forums go, this one was not a snoozer. However, it was rather lengthy, so another story will follow about the seven State Board of Education candidates. The forum, hosted by both the Bowling Green and Perrysburg League of Women Voters groups, skipped the candidates’ opening statements and went straight into questions. The three candidates for the 5th District Congress seat were Democrat J. Michael Galbraith, who has taught finance and management at the college level; Libertarian Don Kissick, who is an autoworker and Navy veteran; and incumbent Republican Bob Latta, who previously served as state legislator and county commissioner. The first question was about the brutal discourse in Congress, and how that might be changed. Latta talked about the importance of establishing working relationships with people. “You just have to turn off the TV and sit back and talk,” he said. Latta was critical of the Democrats being unwilling to consider the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court, and instead stating from the beginning that they would oppose his advancement to the court. Galbraith saw the issue differently. “Congress is being run by a group of people with extremely narrow interests,” he said, noting tribalism on both sides. As for Kavanaugh, Galbraith said the nominee was “forced through.” “I personally didn’t feel this man has the temperament,” he said. Galbraith pointed out the partisanship that doomed Merrick Garland’s nomination to the Supreme Court. “They are simply not responsible to the people of the U.S.,” Galbraith said of Congress. Kissick suggested that more could be accomplished if Congress would stick to the issues rather than attacking each other. “We’ve lost that in Washington, D.C.,” he said. Career politicians are disconnected from the average person. He suggested citizens could change that situation by voting outside the two-party system. “You have to start voting differently,” Kissick said. “That’s how we ended up in this mess.” The congressional candidates were then asked about the contamination at the Luckey FUSRAP site and the harmful algae in Lake Erie. When would the studying end and the solutions begin? Galbraith said there is “too much finger pointing going on.” Farmers and people working on the environment and clean water issues need to “sit down together” to solve problems. “Farmers are interested in finding a solution” he said. “Water is a crucial resource and things are not getting better,” he said, adding that more regulations may be necessary. As a Libertarian, Kissick does not see a solution coming from government. “I’m a staunch free market advocate,” he said. Government solutions benefit politicians and their donors, Kissick said. The problem is best suited for the courts to handle, he added. “There needs to be a shake up,” he said. Congress has been “doing nothing or dragging its feet for years.” “I’m just not a fan of the federal government sticking its nose everywhere,” Kissick said. Once that starts, “they don’t like to leave.” Latta said the cleanup at the Luckey facility is the largest project in the Army Corps of Engineer’s Buffalo District. Latta also mentioned the…