LISBON - With his opponent absent, Charlie Wilson, former U.S. congressman, made his case why he should be returned to the Ohio 6th District post before about 150 voters at the Candidate Forum sponsored by the Morning Journal, a sister paper of the Salem News and Ogden newspaper group, and WKBN FirstNews/Fox 17/62.
Wilson said the two main differences between himself and Bill Johnson come down to jobs and Medicare. He said he believes in bringing manufacturing back to the Ohio River region, while his opponent believes people should make money in other ways. Wilson said his opponent supports trade agreements which send jobs to Panama, Columbia and South Korea, while Wilson wants to close the loopholes which pay companies which ship jobs overseas.
"What's wrong with making it in America?" Wilson questioned.
Wilson criticized the company Johnson used to work for, Stoneridge, which he claims bought a company, laid off people and moved the manufacturing to Mexico where they had access to cheap labor.
"We have the fox guarding the hen house," Wilson said. "He's really not one of us."
Additionally, Wilson spoke about his feelings on Medicare. Throughout the campaign both men have accused the other of trying to kill Medicare. However, Wilson said currently the life of Medicare has been extended by eight years and he does not believe it should be turned into a voucher service.
As to Wilson's vote on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, Wilson called it the most difficult vote he has ever taken during his years in public office. While not perfect, Wilson said there are things he likes about the bill, including 31,000 children in the 6th District with pre-existing conditions who will be ensured health care. He also remarked 116,000 seniors in the district now receive free screenings such as colonoscopies and mammograms. Finally, he likes that young adults up to 26 years old can now remain on their parent's insurance.
Others in the Lisbon high school auditorium obviously agreed with those points, which received applause following each of them.
"I think there are a lot of good things," Wilson said, "and I believe it is a work in progress. I believe it will evolve."