OH-05: Weirauch (D) and Brown (D) Talk Gas Prices and Energy Policy; Latta (R) A Little Nervous?
Yesterday Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Avon), who carried the 5th Ohio Congressional District in his convincing U.S. Senate win last year, joined Robin Weirauch (D-Napoleon) for a press conference call about rising gas prices and U.S. energy policy. Weirauch continued her effort to focus her campaign on pocketbook issues for working families:
Anyone who traveled to see their families during the Thanksgiving weekend knows that the cost of gas is out of control. Right here in Northwest Ohio, hardworking middle class families are paying more than 70 cents a gallon more than we were last Christmas, while gas companies are making millions of dollars in profits and contributing thousands of dollars to politicians. In return they get huge tax breaks while Ohio families struggle to make ends meet. That’s not right.
Weirauch also talked about the need to promote alternative energy, and the potential for Ohio to benefit as a leader in producing alternative energy technology:
We need an energy policy that creates jobs and opportunities right here in Ohio,” said Weirauch. We can be a world leader in alternative energy production and that means good-paying jobs located right here in Ohio. Our current energy policy has made [us] less strategically safe and less economically secure. We need an energy policy that invests U.S. dollars in the Midwest, not the Middle East.
The potential that exists to create new advanced manufacturing capabilities right here in Tiffin, or Fremont or Defiance is too good an opportunity for us to pass up. As the Assistant Director of the Center for Regional Development at Bowling Green, I know what it means to bring the public and private sectors together to create jobs. As your next Member of Congress I will work with my good friend Senator Brown to help direct federal funds to projects that will build up this energy infrastructure and create the sort of opportunities that exist in our region.
Joshua Boak of the Toledo Blade reported on the call today. He questioned Weirauch's position by noting that some economists argue that higher petroleum prices will create a more profitable market for alternative energy. Although perhaps valid as a pont of economic theory, high gas prices are not an acceptable component of energy policy because they hurt consumers. As Brown commented to Boak, those economists "are not thinking about the basic needs of middle-class Americans, [who] are struggling to pay for gasoline." Alternative energy must be promoted through government policy and incentives and promoting public awareness of the need for energy independence, not sky-high gas prices.
Weirauch's hard-hitting campaign on pocketbook issues has not escaped the attention of opponent State Rep. Bob Latta (R-Bowling Green). He began his campaign by stating that he would not mention his Democratic opponent, but he has begun responding to her campaign strategy by turning his attention to jobs and the economy -- an issue nearly absent from the ideology-heavy GOP primary battle. Latta held a press conference this morning at the entrance of the Bass Pro Shops construction site, near the I-75/Ohio Turnpike at the intersection, to introduce a new TV ad and announce that Latta "is a firm believer that the next Member of Congress from the 5th District needs to make jobs and the economy a top priority."
UPDATE: Lisa Renee was on the conference call.