On the Issues

As the wealth gap widens, families struggle to hold on to the American Dream. A strong economy relies on people working and companies producing, yet generations of dreams could turn into nightmares if legislators continue applying yesterday’s solutions to tomorrow’s problems. Putting people to work requires forward-thinking solutions. As your congresswoman, I will support job creation that makes sense for our future. Replacing fossil fuel jobs with green energy jobs makes good sense. I will support creating jobs to build and restore to safety our crumbling roads and bridges.

Many farmers in the 8th Congressional district are in jeopardy of losing their farms and livelihoods. In four years, the number of dairy farms in Ohio has dropped from 2600 to 2000, one quarter of the industry. Also, corn and soybean crops are at the lowest harvest in four years. A record number of small farmers are seeking economic relief by applying for government loans and filing for bankruptcy. Local farmers and ranchers have made it clear that they aren’t interested in government handouts to offset the damage done from bad trade policy. In the long-run, farmers need access to new markets, so that they are less reliant on China, Canada and Mexico. Until effective policy is implemented, however, there remains a need for subsidies.

Under the current administration, US trade policies have harmed our agricultural industry. I don’t disagree with the use of tariffs and effective trade policies; I simply believe that all policy needs to be well thought out. Unfortunately, policy makers are doubling down by making it difficult for struggling families to access food through programs such as the Child Nutrition Programs and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) that feed hungry children and families. My opponent insisted on adding stringent work requirements for SNAP recipients to the Farm Bill before agreeing to vote for it. So essentially, what he is saying is that if you can’t find a job, you deserve to starve. The global pandemic, which has put nearly 40 million Americans out of work demonstrates why such policy decisions are a bad idea.

The US must urgently expand trade with current trade partners and identify new markets where farmers can sell their products going forward. There is also a need to support the diversification of crops.  Earlier this year, I attended the Farmers Union Convention in Lima, OH. It was enlightening to learn more about the benefits of hemp and CBD oil, and the importance of industrial hemp production to Ohio’s agricultural future. The federal government can play a major role in expanding this market and allowing the participation of federally-regulated banks to make loans and handle deposits from this industry.

I certainly don’t know all of the answers, but my goal is to give farmers and all constituents a direct link to help develop policy, by introducing bi-partisan Policy Advisor Circles, in each of the counties in the 8th congressional district (Butler, Clark, Darke, Mercer, Miami and Preble Counties) to discuss their issues and concerns, and to give them the opportunity to make recommendations for policy solutions.

You can watch our Family Farms Virtual Town Hall Meeting here.

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