By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News U.S. Rep. Bob Latta (R-Ohio) is standing behind President Trump’s demand for $5.7 billion to fund border security. That money, Latta contends, isn’t just for a wall. Latta, in an interview Thursday, called the proposal multi-layered, and said Trump “is willing to negotiate.” It’s the Democratic leadership that’s not putting a counter proposal on the table, and that’s what’s needed to move toward an end to the stalemate that has idled some federal workers, while others are working without pay. National parks, if open, are filling with trash while assistance to farmers and those eligible for SNAP benefits are endangered as the partial federal government shutdown drags on. Latta said he has not collected his pay since the beginning of the shutdown. Latta described the $5.7 million as “a multilayered approach,” not “just a contiguous wall.” He said the plan would construct about 250 miles of barriers. It would also pay to construct all-weather roads and purchase technology, including sensors and cameras. “It’s not just for one thing.” Most importantly, he said, it would pay for the personnel needed to guard the border. Latta praised those federal agents working on the border. Based on a trip to the border last July, he was impressed how they handled those coming over. He described a former big box store that has been transformed to house immigrants. Conditions on the border, he said, need to be addressed. A funding bill passed by the House, once the Democrats took control, did not have adequate funding, so he voted against it. The bill went nowhere because Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell refused to take it up, saying Trump would veto it. It was “a show piece,” Latta said. The Bowling Green Republican said that in the past prominent Democrats such as then Senator Barack Obama, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, and current Minority Leader Sen. Charles Schumer backed a wall. That’s a reference to 2006 legislation that called for fencing along the border, which Schumer and Obama did support, though Pelosi did not. Those barriers were built. As Latta noted in an interview before the November election, he believes there’s a lot of bipartisan cooperation that doesn’t get attention. On Dec. 31 a bill that he sponsored intended to find ways to combat vehicular terrorism was signed by Trump after bipartisan support in the House and Senate. He also cited legislation on providing more broadband service to rural areas to support precision agriculture, cyber security, and the recently passed farm bill as examples of legislators working across the aisle. Currently he’s working with U.S. Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-Michigan) on self-driving vehicle legislation. It’s important that the United States develop this technology and not let China become the dominant player. Ohio has a facility for testing autonomous vehicles. “We want that technology developed here in the state of Ohio,” Latta said. “These are not partisan issues.” Latta said he’s an optimist and believes the partial shutdown could be ended if the two sides did sit down to negotiate. “We’re not seeing that happen right now. … You have to come up with something to put on the table,” he said. “We’re just going to keep working.”
U.S. Rep. Bob Latta
An Informed Voter’s Choice I am a Democrat who doesn’t mean to bash Bob Latta. I simply want to draw comparison’s between the two candidates. My biggest concern is that Mr. Latta does not engage with his constituency. I talked to a Northwest Ohio woman visiting her children in Florida who was angry because she had gone to a Latta Town Hall and he did not show up to take questions. In a democracy, that is not right. Our government is of the people, by the people, and for the people. It is a citizen’s right to hear and to question a candidate in order to have informed opinions. Michael Galbraith has been speaking all over the 5th district that spans from the Indiana line to beyond Oak Harbor and the Michigan line to beyond Fort Recovery. He is and has been speaking and taking questions and challenges all over this gerrymandered district to favor Latta. Galbraith will talk to anyone who wants to listen or question him. Since meeting with constituents is a main concern for me, the better choice is clear. Secondly, I am so tired of the gridlock in congress whose 15% approval rating is so dismal. Galbraith’s position is to find common ground and compromise with the Republicans and Independents in order to pass much needed legislation that currently sets in gridlock. Our congressman simply votes with President. I just wish he would meet with people to explain his position on issues and his vision for solving the gridlock and the legislation on which he would seek compromise. I have listened to Michael Galbraith’s position on our natural resources especially our rivers, the Great Lakes, and our aquifers. I have not had the chance to listen to or to question Latta’s positions. Is Mr. Latta’s position on the Affordable Care Act to do away with what remains of ACA? The Congressional Budget Office had estimated that repeal of the Affordable Care Act would have left 23 million more Americans uninsured. If congress is concerned about healthcare, insuring people with pre-existing conditions, and cost then they must find an alternative that both sides can support. What is Latta’s alternative? These are the issues that concern me in the 5th district. Compare the two candidates’ positions on congressional gridlock, access to our representatives, bipartisanship, 5th district natural resources, and healthcare. An informed voter’s choice is clear. Gary Jones Bowling Green
By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News Two months ago, Beatriz Maya sat in U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office waiting for answers on where the congressman stands on deporting “dreamers.” She is still waiting. Maya, executive director of La Conexion, was back in Latta’s Bowling Green office on Monday, this time asking to show the congressman the economic and human side of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.) She and eight others delivered a letter encouraging Latta to talk to local employers who can’t find enough workers to fill jobs, and to families who are at risk of being torn apart. “If he hears their personal stories, we are confident that he will get a different story than what he is hearing in Washington,” she said. Maya wants Latta to meet the local young man who grew up in Wood County, learned carpentry at Penta Career Center, and now works for Rudolph-Libbe. He has no criminal record, yet he is at risk of being deported. “There is nothing you can find in him that would warrant deportation,” she said. Earlier this fall, President Donald Trump announced he would end the DACA program in six months if Congress doesn’t find a more permanent solution. Since it was enacted under President Barack Obama, about 800,000 immigrants who were children when they arrived in the U.S. illegally have received protections from the program. DACA allows young people brought to this country illegally by their parents to get a temporary reprieve from deportation and to receive permission to work, study and obtain driver’s licenses. Many of the “dreamers” have been here since they were babies, and America is the only country they know. Those signing up for DACA must show that they have clean criminal records. Their status is renewable every two years. Bowling Green’s city administration has voiced its support of DACA, and has proclaimed the city as a welcoming place for immigrants. But when asked about his stance in September, the local citizens were told that Latta was waiting to make a decision until Speaker Paul Ryan’s task force had studied the issue. When the question was repeated on Monday, Latta’s aide Tim Bosserman said he had not discussed it with the congressman. “But nothing has happened. We are running out of time. We have thousands of dreamers waiting for a solution,” Maya said. Maya fears that Congress will do nothing. “So they are basically waiting for the time to pass, so it expires.” Maya offered to help acquaint Latta with the local effect of DACA, so he doesn’t have to wait on the congressional task force. “We can facilitate that if he’s willing to do that,” she said. “We cannot tolerate this inaction. He’s our representative.” Yvette Llanas, a lifelong Bowling Green resident, agreed that Latta needs to be responsive to his constituents. “He should have some interaction with us,” Llanas said. Ohio Gov. John Kasich has publicly said he doesn’t want the U.S. to deport DACA residents. “But we’re not getting any help from this office,” Llanas told Latta’s aide. The congressman has not even issued a statement about his stand on the issue, she added. Llanas has a personal interest in the future of “dreamers.” Her son is married to an undocumented woman who was brought to the U.S. when she was just 1 year old. “She and my son have children,” Llanas said. Her daughter-in-law owns the couple’s company, pays taxes and provides a service to the community. “Yet she is being told she will have to leave.” “This is the only home she knows,” Llanas said….
From FIGHT FOR THE FUTURE Today (Tuesday, Aug. 29) digital rights organization Fight for the Future unveiled 3 more crowdfunded billboards targeting Representatives Cathy McMorris Rodgers, Bob Latta, and Greg Walden, members of Congress who have publicly supported the FCC’s efforts to gut net neutrality protections that keep the web free from censorship, throttling, and extra fees. The three new billboards are the latest in an ongoing campaign focused on lawmakers who oppose Internet freedom. Earlier this month the group launched an initial round of net neutrality billboards targeting six different lawmakers in states across the country. The move comes just hours before the FCC’s final deadline for public input on their controversial plan to repeal net neutrality. With lawmakers still in their home districts, the billboards – paid for by hundreds of small donations – appear in three different states. Since the massive July 12th day of action, millions have contacted their representatives – who have oversight over the FCC – to ensure these key protections are not changed or removed. The billboards send a strong message to any Members of Congress contemplating support for the FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality, which is currently being tracked through a “congressional scorecard” on BattleForTheNet.com. So far very few lawmakers have been willing to publicly support Ajit Pai’s plan, likely in light of polling that shows voters — including Republicans — overwhelmingly oppose it. The billboards encourage constituents to contact their elected representatives; for example, Committee on Energy and Commerce Chairman Rep. Greg Walden’s (R-OR) billboard in Medford, Oregon asks, “Want slower, more expensive Internet? Rep. Walden supports CenturyLink’s plan to destroy net neutrality. Ask him why: (541) 776-4646.” The outdoor ads feature some of the few members of Congress who came out with early support for FCC’s plan to repeal net neutrality rules, including: Spokane, WA – Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (N. Monroe Street at W. Broadway Ave) Findlay, OH – Rep. Bob Latta (corner of E Main Cross St and East St.) Medford, OR – Rep. Greg Walden (N. Pacific Hwy at Elm Ave) “It doesn’t matter which party you’re in, or how charming you are on TV — if you attack net neutrality and Internet freedom we will make sure everyone knows that you’re corrupt to the core” said Evan Greer, campaign director of Fight for the Future (pronouns: she/hers), “every member of Congress should take note: supporting the FCC’s plan to allow censorship, throttling, and price gouging may get you a few extra campaign donations from big telecom companies, but it will infuriate your constituents, and will come with a serious political cost.” The billboards highlight the increasing scrutiny on Congress – who have important oversight authority over the FCC. With no viable legislation on the table, net neutrality supporters remain opposed to any attempt at legislation that would undermine the strong rules at the FCC, which were fought for by millions of Americans, and are calling on lawmakers to publicly oppose Ajit Pai’s plan, and require the FCC to act with transparency and address serious irregularities in its rulemaking process. Fight for the Future was also one of the leading organizations behind the historic Internet-Wide Day of Action for Net Neutrality on July 12, which drove a record breaking 2 million+ comments to the FCC and Congress in a single day. Learn more at fightforthefuture.org
Members of Concerned Ohioans will rally Friday, June 2, at noon at U.S. Rep. Bob Latta’s office, 1045 N. Main St., Bowling Green, to oppose the American Health Care Act, the House Republicans’ inntnded replacement for the Affordable Care Act. Concerned Oioans contend the bill would take health coverage away from 23 million Americans and have a disastrous impact the AHCA would have on Ohio families and communities . Following the speeches, participants will visit Latta’s office and deliver letters, articles and fact sheets. Friday’s event is part of a week of action during the Congressional Memorial Day recess holding Republican Members of Congress accountable for their actions on health care. The attendees will send a clear message: Ohioans won’t let Rep. Latta get away with taking health coverage away from millions, gutting Medicaid, or cutting protections for those with pre-existing conditions.
From DEBORAH SCHWARTZ The article “Latta’s Health Care Vote Leaves Some Constituents Feeling Sick,” published May 5, 2017, did an excellent job covering both sides of the political healthcare story in District 5: Bob Latta ‘s oft-repeated Republican poppycock about the failures of “Obamacare” and his constituents’ concerns about the deleterious effects “Trumpcare” will have on their health. But thankfully, it went one step further in reporting on Latta’s lack of communication with his constituents. As someone who has emailed him, called him, gone to his Bowling Green office, and worked on planning town halls to which he was invited but did not attend, I can attest to the fact that his communication with his constituents is sub-par: · He does not hold or attend town halls. · His telephone town halls are one-sided, with no notice of when they are scheduled, screening of questions, and no time for follow-up questions. · His District Director and office staffers respond blandly to questions about Mr. Latta’s votes and opinions, as in “Mr. Latta hasn’t communicated with us about that yet.” · His schedule is not posted in advance of events – anywhere – although a BG office staffer said that press releases on his website told where he would be. · He doesn’t respond to comments on his posts on Facebook. · His email newsletter is full of superficial reports on legislation and his letters are form letters that do not respond to constituents’ questions or concerns. Last Friday, while two Wood County residents braved the rainstorm to stand on Main St. with signs about having a pre-existing condition and needing healthcare and one simply stating “Shame on Latta,” five of us from Sylvania Township, Perrysburg, and Swanton braved the coolness of Latta’s Bowling Green office to express our deep concern about the effects the American Health Care Act will have on those of us who live in Northwest Ohio. We questioned the office staff person who’s paid to listen to us on how Mr. Latta knows what his constituents (not just those who contributed to his campaign) really think about anything; we asked where Mr. Latta might be going in his district during the current recess; and we wondered aloud why Mr. Latta doesn’t show up in his Bowling Green office once in a while when constituents are there, since he happens to live in Bowling Green. All to no avail. I seriously don’t think the citizens of District 5 will put up with this blatant disregard of our right to be heard – our right to be represented in Congress – much longer. Certainly not past 2018. Deborah Schwartz Toledo
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 so many changes had been made to the legislation. “He’s currently reviewing it,” Lorenz told the citizens. The citizens crammed into Latta’s office were not happy with all the expected changes to their health care coverage – and they weren’t shy about sharing their feelings. “If you take away the Affordable Care Act, you’re just going to be making America sicker again,” one said. “You’re supposed to be replacing it with something better,” another said. “I feel like Republicans have abandoned the American people,” said another. Outside Latta’s office, Nancy Myerholtz and Rori Mason, of Waterville, put on their party hats. “I’m here to support staying with the Affordable Care Act – working with what we have,” Mason said. “It’s not perfect, no one ever said that it was,” Myerholtz said. Another one of the birthday party organizers, Meghan Wilson of Bowling Green, arrived shortly after hearing that the vote had been postponed on the health care bill. “I just heard the news,” Wilson said. “I feel like any delay means there is more chance they will come up with a more common sense plan. I don’t think the current plan is going to fix our problems.” Jennifer Harvey, holding a birthday poster, said she found it “terrifying” that Congress was preparing to vote on a health care bill that would leave so many people behind. “I want to have our Congress modify the Affordable Care Act so it works for all Americans,” Harvey said. Some worried what Congress was giving away in the effort to woo the most conservative Freedom Caucus members. “It will result in deaths,” Harvey said, adding that the bill may have to undergo more cuts before it goes up for a vote. “It’s frustrating that it’s because the conservatives who want to really gut it are opposed to it.” Melanie Stretchbery, of Bowling Green, agrees that every day the vote is delayed is another day when reason may prevail. But she is troubled that so…
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Two Republican lawmakers are condemning a Trump Administration proposal to drain funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. Ohio Senator Randy Gardner (R-Bowling Green), the Ohio Senate Majority Floor Leader, in a statement Tuesday (March 7) stated: “If federal officials have new ideas to make sure our healthy Lake Erie efforts are more efficient and effective, then let’s get together and have that discussion. But a reduction of this magnitude is just not explainable and defensible unless it is replaced with a new strategy that can truly make a difference. Lake Erie is one of America’s great natural assets. I join many members of Ohio’s bipartisan congressional delegation in support of restoring these funds.” The president’s proposed budget cuts funding for the initiative from $300 million to $10 million. The initiative, which first received funding in 2010, supports projects aimed at reducing runoff from cities and farms, clean up toxic pollution in the lakes and combating invasive species, including the Asian carp The reduction in funding for the initiative goes along with dramatic decreases in appropriations for the Environmental Protection Agency and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. U.S. Rep. Bob Latta issued a statement: “Protecting our Great Lakes is not only critical to the region, it’s important to the entire country. That’s why I authored the Drinking Water Protection Act, which was signed into law last Congress. It’s also why I’m also continuing to work on legislation to improve water infrastructure. “While Congress still hasn’t received the President’s official budget, it’s important to note that the document is the start to the Congressional budget process, not the end,” the statement continued. “Over the previous years, Congress has restored funding in its budget for the GLRI that the Obama Administration had proposed cutting.” The Obama Administration had proposed a $50 million reduction in funding to the initiative. Bowling Green State University political scientist Russell Mills said that a president’s budget proposal never gets through the congressional appropriations process intact. “What people really need to watch is what’s going on in the (House) Appropriations Committee,” he said. “That’s where the cuts will be made.” Mills said he expected the “draconian cuts” to the EPA and NOAA. Those, he said, are tied to those agencies efforts to combat global warming. The attack on the Great Lakes initiative, though, was surprising since it has had since its founding bipartisan support. The issue of Lake Erie water quality became critically urgent in August, 2014, when toxic algae made the water in much of the Toledo area undrinkable. The president’s budget proposal is more a statement of the administration’s positions and priorities, but in the House committees should get to work this spring with the aim of starting to write the actual bills in April and May. Mills, who worked on the budget at the Federal Aviation Administration, questioned whether those in administration even know what the initiative is. While this may be seen as a low-ball opening in a negotiation, Mills said, such a drastic proposal can undermine the credibility of the administration with Congress. The Great Lakes Restoration Initiative is good for politicians, he said. It’s a way for them to claim credit for being serious about water quality.
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News U.S. Rep. Robert Latta (R-Bowling Green) is throwing his support behind the House proposal aimed at repealing the Affordable Care Act, and replacing it with a new plan. Latta, who has voted numerous times to repeal what is known as Obamacare, issued a statement Tuesday. “Obamacare has failed and it keeps getting worse as insurance marketplaces collapse and costs continue to rise. It’s time to repeal its broken promises and replace it with patient-centered health care. The plan proposed in the House will give Americans more choices, lower costs, and provides states with more flexibility to help repair markets damaged by Obamacare.” His spokesman Drew Griffin said the congressman was not available for an interview. A Bowling Green State University political science professor, however, questions the feasibility of the proposal and its political future. When Russell Mills saw the proposal that was released last night, he wondered: “How are they going to pay for it?” Transforming subsidies into tax credits, he said, is a wash. “What they did was keep the most expensive parts of Obamacare but didn’t provide a way to pay for them,” Mills said. The proposal will allow young people to stay on their parents’ plans until they are 26. And it continues to stop insurance companies from refusing to insure people because of pre-existing medical conditions. And it maintains, at least for a few years, the expansion of Medicaid to help people with low incomes. But the funding to the states to support that Medicaid funding will get less generous after a few years. “I think they believe they’ll realize the savings by trimming the Medicaid portion of the ACA,” Mills said. The changes to the Medicaid expansion has already prompted four Republican senators from states that accepted that money to question the bill. That includes Ohio Sen. Rob Portman who came out “pretty immediately and said he had concerns about the House proposal.” Mills questions some of the assumptions. The bill would remove the penalty for people and businesses not having health insurance. The proposal would instead provide a tax incentive to encourage people to buy insurance. If that doesn’t work, and the pool of those getting insured is less healthy, that would drive up rates for everyone. While the plan has attracted the expected opposition from Democrats, and some from moderate Republicans, it has also generated opposition from more libertarian Republicans who have dubbed the proposal “Obamacare-lite.” “This is really not much of a big alteration,” Mills said. The political calculations surrounding the bill are tricky, he said. Some estimates have 15 million people losing coverage because of it. Many of those are in states that voted for Trump. The president’s enthusiasm will play a big part in how well the plan fares, he said. “In the House, they’ll have enough vote to get it passed,” Mills said. Still representatives are going to face a difficult choice. Many have come back from their districts where they held town hall meetings – something Latta refused to do – and “90 percent of what they heard about was health insurance.” In a year and half they will have to face those voters again with some of them having lost their insurance coverage. “This will be a tough sell,” Mills said. “Once people start framing the different aspects of the bill, there’ll more angst and confusion and that will drive outrage.” The Senate is a tougher sell with the Republicans having a much narrower margin. Already those four senators have expressed reservations. “That’s going to stop the bill in its tracks,”…
Toledo/Sylvania Interfaith Friends, a community group devoted to ensuring that a diversity of voices is heard in District 5, will hold a town hall to hear citizens’ concerns about transparency, immigration, increasing marginalization of minority groups and women, healthcare, and Russian interference in the election, Tuesday, Feb. 21 from 7 to 8:30p.m. at at the Toledo Muslim Community Center, 5045 W. Sylvania Ave. in Toledo. The group invited T.S. Rep. Bob Latta to attend and received a response that he is unavailable, and none of his staff offered to attend. The town hall, which will take place without Latta as a way to elevate constituents’ concerns, comes during the weeklong congressional recess, when many members of Congress are taking the time to meet directly with their constituents.