The jobs and the economy, coronavirus response and technology are the focus for Republican incumbent Rep. Bob Latta. He has held the Fifth Congressional District seat since 2007.
“With jobs and the economy, before (COVID-19) struck, we had a national unemployment rate at 3.5%. Minority unemployment was at record lows. Women’s unemployment was at its lowest rate in 60 years. Poverty rate was at its lowest in 20 years. We saw people’s pay going up,” Latta said. “You only have to go back a couple years, when we passed the tax bill, which really made the economy in this country explode, and also with the president dealing on the regulatory side.”
Deregulation for business is something that Latta said benefited the economy.
“I’ve never met a business that said they were against regulations, just that ‘we want regulations we can live with,’” Latta said.
He also stressed bills passed in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Number one is that we get these jobs restored and get people employed,” Latta said.
He cited figures from the National Federation of Independent Business that said 5% of small businesses would have closed without the various economic support packages passed by Congress. He defined a small business with the Small Business Administration standard of under 500 employees.
The manufacturing supply chain is also a concern for Latta.
“It’s important, on the telecommunication side, with our manufacturing, that there’s too much into China,” Latta said.
He is said that health care professionals can’t get personal protection equipment that is manufactured overseas.
“We have to bring trade into the 21st century,” Latta said.
Latta pointed to an estimated 176,000 new potential jobs to be created by the replacement of the North American Free Trade Agreement by the United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement trade deal. Some new jobs, he said, will emerge from new markets for farmers in Mexico and Canada.
“We passed four pieces of legislation and the first was $8.3 billion. That was to make sure testing and diagnostics was out there and to get it moving on a vaccine development. The second piece was over $100 billion, again for testing, unemployment insurance and to help small businesses. The big one was the coronavirus relief bill, which was a $2.2 trillion package, which again had the paycheck protection plan, helping our hospitals out and also with the unemployment benefits for folks with $75,000 and up to $150,000 before it started phasing out,” said Latta.
He is also a proponent of technology support, in the communications sector. He serves as the ranking Republican on the Energy and Commerce Committee’s Communications and Technology Subcommittee.
He has advocated for the expansion of broadband technology into rural areas, for it’s effect on education, uses in telehealth and for precision agriculture.
Latta has also served in the Ohio Senate and House. He is a graduate of the University of Toledo College of Law and Bowling Green State University. He is married to Marcia and they have two daughters, Elizabeth and Maria.