U.S. Rep. Charlie Wilson, D-Ohio, faces a trip of challengers in his run for re-election to Ohio's 6th Congressional District seat - Republican Bill Johnson, Libertarian Martin Elsass and Constitution Party nominee Richard Cadle.
"I want to continue to work on bringing jobs to the Ohio River communities by focusing on energy, both old and new, for example coal and gas as well as solar and wind, as a way to pull ourselves up in this economy," said Wilson, seeking a third term in the U.S. House of Representatives.
"I'm a strong believer in 'build it in America.' We need to stop tax breaks that are sending jobs out of America," he said. "I have voted as recently as two weeks ago to close such tax loopholes."
The congressman wants to further relationships with congressional Blue Dogs (fiscally conservative Democrats) and continue making sure Democratic leaders hear what moderates from across the country have to say. He also intends to keep working "across the aisle" with Republicans.
"I plan to continue working on financial regulatory reform as well as on health care reform and on our foreign trade policies," Wilson added.
Residence: St. Clairsville.
Occupation: U.S. Congressman from Ohio's 6th District.
Occupation: Chief information officer for Stoneridge Inc.
Occupation: Owner, Youngstown Tune Ups LLC and IndieMafia Records LLC.
Richard E. Cadle
Residence: North Jackson.
Occupation: Retired computer business owner.
"On immigration, the recent situation in Arizona makes the case for comprehensive immigration reform," he said. "I oppose amnesty and am committed to fighting anything that decreases jobs for hard-working American families."
He supports a criminal alien assistance program for local law enforcement agencies to deal with people who are in the U.S. illegally.
"This would also help reduce the burden criminals place on our communities," Wilson said.
"I oppose privatization of Social Security, and I'm on record as saying 'no' to raising the retirement age," he said.
Wilson said he supports small business and, in his opinion, 60 to 80 percent of new jobs will come from small businesses.
"I'm for removing the red tape from the Small Business Administration's lending programs to make it easier to obtain the capital needed for businesses to grow," he said, adding that he wants to provide more tax breaks to small business to encourage investment and employment of more people.
"We have to step up the fight on terrorism to make Americans safe," Wilson added. "We also need to strengthen America's security through use of more aerial drones in the battlefield. And we're working hard to get more countries like Pakistan to join our fight against terrorism."
He wants to increase benefits for American troops and provide higher pay raises, and he supports giving businesses a tax break for hiring veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.
"I also support and have voted for increased facility care for veterans and rehabilitation centers," Wilson said.
Wilson said he recently introduced Appalachian Veterans Outreach Improvement Act, with Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introducing similar legislation in the Senate. Wilson said the bill would establish cooperation agreements between the Veterans Administration and Appalachian Regional Commission.
"I'm pro-life, pro-gun, and for smaller government, lower taxes, less government intrusion, sticking to the Constitution, and I'm for God and family values - that's what I stand for," said Bill Johnson, Republican challenger for the 6th District House of Representatives seat.
"The biggest issue facing us is jobs," he said. "Wilson says he's a fiscal conservative, but he gives his votes to (U.S. House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi for all of her job-killing bills.
"More jobs were lost due to last year's federal stimulus program as $2.3 billion of that money came in the form of manufacturing tax credits for overseas companies in countries like China, Spain and Korea," Johnson said. "Eighty percent of the green energy money went overseas from the stimulus bill."
He noted Wilson voted for the federal health care bill which Johnson said will have disastrous effects. According to the Congressional Budget Office, he said, by 2016, insurance premiums across the country will increase by $2,016 a year.
"The Wall Street Journal said many insurance companies are already increasing rates by 20 percent just to cover costs this year," Johnson added.
"Wilson says this bill will not affect availability of health care services, but officials in the Obama administration have said up to 117 million people will lose their health care plan due to this legislation," he said.
"But the worst part is that it's bad for business," Johnson said. "It discourages companies from hiring and providing benefits for employees."
He said health care costs are expected to jump to over $300 billion a year, and it will cost an estimated $115 billion over the next 10 years just to implement the program.
"Government agencies in the Obama administration also say this will levy $570 billion in additional taxes on Americans, and the IRS can fine you $2,085 or 2.5 percent of your income, whichever is greater, if you don't comply," Johnson said.
"These are staggering numbers, but these are also policies that Pelosi and Wilson favor that are job killers. Businesses can't grow with these burdens," he said.
Johnson said he would repeal "Obamacare" and put common sense health reform in place, allowing for expansion of health savings accounts where some of that money could also be placed toward long-term health care.
"Malpractice insurance costs need to come down, and we have to make health care portable from job to job and state to state," he said.
Johnson said the government is spending 68 percent more than it's earning, a situation that cannot continue.
"We have to stop funding programs that are not working, like the National Endowment for the Arts and other pork and earmarks," he said.
"Wilson said he brought $280 million into the 6th District that created about 280 jobs. But that's $1 million per job," he said. "Clearly there's an issue with jobs and the economy. I think most Americans understand the spending issue, that's why there's so much outrage."
Libertarian candidate Martin Elsass said he decided to run for Congress because "I didn't see a candidate filing that I thought I could trust."
Elsass said he sees little difference between incumbent Charlie Wilson and Republican Bill Johnson.
"They're just one side or the other of the same coin," Elsass said.
On the issues, he supports a full repeal of the federal health care bill passed in March of this year.
"I would accept no substitute. Replacing one bad policy with another is not a good idea, either," he said. "That's why we need a representative who's not beholden to anyone and who will stand firm on a repeal of Obamacare."
Asked what he would do about jobs and the economy, Elsass said the government has to get out of the way.
"I've driven up and down this district, and it's extremely depressing driving through so many boarded-up towns," he said. "It looks like they were hit by a hurricane."
Elsass said it's important to bring jobs here, but the federal government often blocks the way by insisting on efficiencies and equality for everyone.
"People shouldn't be relying on a steady income from the federal government," he said. "And as long as the Democrats and Progressives are in power, more people will be getting those monthly checks."
As a kid, Elsass said he would mow lawns, shovel snow - whatever was required to earn money - and he learned skills along the way.
"I understand the idea of unemployment, but there should also be training for those who have lost jobs - not just paying them unemployment and hoping they'll look for jobs," he said. "We need an option for government to pay for training more than for extended unemployment."
Elsass said he's also for lowering corporate taxes and abolishing the federal income tax.
"I would also abolish the federal Department of Education - it just sucks up too much money," he said. "I favor locally run schools. States have rights above the federal government when it comes to education."
Competitiveness among schools is a good idea, Elsass said, adding that communities should decide what's taught in local school systems.
"And kids are more inclined to learn when their parents are involved in their schooling," he said. "But the less federal involvement, the better."
Elsass said while his top priority would be the complete repeal of the federal health care bill, his second priority would be to have legislation enacted that would limit the House of Representatives to considering one piece of proposed legislation at a time.
"I realize this is a two-year job," he said. "Others come with a laundry list of things they plan to accomplish, but most of those would take 10 to 15 years. I'm looking at two years and then maybe someone will come along I can believe in and support to take over the position."
"My top issue is to get government to sit back and stop interfering with private business," said Constitution Party candidate Richard E. Cadle. "I think Ohio businesses know how best to run their own companies."
Cadle said he's met a lot of under-employed college graduates in the district.
"Many are barely treading water," he said. "They've invested in college and planned careers to care for their families, but now they're working at (fast food establishments)."
The government has to become pro-business, Cadle said, adding that small businesses create needed jobs.
"Some people are retiring early and others are simply too scared to retire and hold on to their jobs," he said. "It creates a clog in the job market."
The passage of the federal health care bill was upsetting, Cadle said.
"The whole bill is flawed, and it was rammed through by (House Speaker Nancy) Pelosi and her party line," he said. "You can't force people into buying a product, including health care, but with this bill the IRS will be able to garnish your wages if you don't buy into it."
Cadle said he's chairman of his local committee supporting the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, a proposed state constitutional amendment that would insulate Ohioans from federal health care bill mandates.
"Judge a candidate by what he does, not just by what he says," Cadle said. "People need to stand up and pay attention, and it seems there's a lot more involvement in the political process now. I think people are feeling the tentacles of government reaching out and affecting their lives."
Cadle said the American people should have been given the chance to vote on the federal measure, which might have made it more acceptable.
"If elected, I would fight to repeal the bill, and if it is not repealed I would still fight against every intrusion from government," he said. "I'm for health care reform, but there are much better ways to do it."
As a Constitution Party member, Cadle considers himself a fiscal conservative.
"I'm for smaller government, less taxes and less spending," he said.
A Navy veteran, Cadle said in the service he vowed to preserve, protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.
"And members of Congress are sworn to do the same thing," he said.
Cadle said he hopes to appeal to all sides and parties, but especially to the burgeoning number of independents.
"This is the first time the Constitution and Libertarian parties have been included on the ballot," he said. "I do think the two-party system blocks people's choices.
"I'm not trying to split the ticket in any way, but I'm trying to give people a better choice," Cadle said. "We have to open up the political landscape in Ohio."