LIMA — The candidates for Ohio’s 4th Congressional district have starkly contrasting views on the most important issues facing voters.
Incumbent U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Urbana, who has represented the 4th District since 2007, said his main focus is eliminating the “double standard” that exists among the political elite.
His Democratic opponent, retired school teacher Janet Garrett, said the most critical issues facing voters in this election are income inequality and climate change.
“In America, it’s supposed to be equal treatment under the law,” Jordan said. “Now you have a situation where there’s one standard for you and me, and there’s a different standard for the politically connected like (former IRS director) Lois Lerner, (IRS commissioner) John Koskinen and Hillary Clinton.”
Jordan focused on the IRS targeting controversy, where officials selected mostly conservative political groups applying for tax-exempt status for intensive scrutiny based on political themes. He also mentioned the 2012 Benghazi attack that killed four Americans and the Clinton email scandal as examples of what he perceives as a double standard.
Garrett said climate change “is coming at us like a locomotive” and rebuked her opponent for denying that it exists. She said addressing climate change would help the environment while also creating jobs.
“This is really a huge opportunity for economic growth,” Garrett said. “We have a need for good-paying jobs if we could put our energy into renewables instead of fossil fuels. We need to help bridge to a new economy which will be all based on electricity and clean, powerful energy from the sun.”
Although this is just her second time running for political office, Garrett is no stranger to Jordan, as the two ran against each other in the same race in 2014. Jordan defeated Garrett by more than 30 percentage points, receiving 67.7 percent of votes compared to Garrett’s 32.3 percent.
As a member of the Judiciary Committee, the Oversight and Government Reform Committee and the Select Committee on Benghazi, Jordan said he will continue to fight for justice if he is re-elected.
“When I talk with average, hardworking middle class families across the 4th District, they are so fed up with the double standard,” he said. “They appreciate the fact that I’m in here fighting for the values and principles that we care about.”
Jordan added that he also wants to repeal the Affordable Care Act, nicknamed Obamacare, because it is “way too expensive” for working-class families.
On income inequality, Garrett said the pay gap is not only unfair, it is “unsustainable.” She advocated for raising the minimum wage, saying that if individuals are provided a wage they can live on, they will no longer have to rely on government assistance.
“Everybody wins,” she said.
When asked how high the minimum wage should be raised in Ohio, Garrett said there needs to be a “nuanced approach.”
“Big companies like Walmart could certainly afford to immediately start paying their people the $15 an hour that Bernie Sanders suggested,” she said. “For small business owners, I think there needs to be some sort of bridge to get them to a place where they can pay workers better wages.
“If everybody is making more money, more money flows into the economy.”
Reach John Bush at 567-242-0456 or on Twitter @bush_lima