The Columbus Dispatch
With this year’s midterm elections as important as any in memory, Franklin County voters will help determine the balance of power in Washington D.C. when they vote for congressional representatives this fall. For reasons to follow, The Dispatch endorses re-election for Reps. Joyce Beatty and Steve Stivers and calls for the election of Danny O’Connor.
Beatty, 68, a Democrat from Blacklick, is seeking her fourth term representing the 3rd District. Her opponent, Jim Burgess, 52, a Republican who lives in Westerville, is a political novice running for his first elective office, and he’s not running very hard.
Burgess did not respond to multiple requests to meet with the Dispatch editorial board; we can’t risk such a nonresponsive approach to Congress.
Beatty’s accomplishments include over $2.5 million in government funds recovered for constituents. She has also helped secure more than $317 million in federal grants for central Ohio work on smart transportation, infant mortality and affordable housing.
We commend Beatty also for creation of a congressional civility caucus earlier this year with Stivers. Beatty served five terms as a state representative.
Stivers, 53, a Republican of Upper Arlington, is seeking his fifth term in Congress, representing the 15th District. He is opposed by Democrat Rick Neal, 52, of Columbus’ German Village.
Stivers was in the Ohio Senate from 2003 to 2008 and has served in the Ohio Army National Guard since 1985, now as brigadier general. Besides promoting civility with Beatty, Stivers prides himself on scoring highest of any Ohio representative in the Lugar Center ranking of most bipartisan members; he is 37th nationally. He also chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee to help maintain the House majority.
Neal is a longtime activist for organizations including the Peace Corps, the International Rescue Committee and Refugees International. He is seeking his first public office but likens campaigning to working on issues including marriage equality.
While Neal could provide a needed sympathetic voice for refugee resettlement and immigration reform, Stivers’ many years of representing central Ohio have earned him credibility and connections that should serve constituents well. With his avowed devotion to civility and bipartisanship, we encourage him to clearly reflect those views when others behave poorly.
The Dispatch carefully considered the merits this summer of O’Connor versus Troy Balderson in a special election for the remaining few months of a seat long held by Republican Pat Tiberi, who left Congress for the private sector. We continue to view O’Connor, the Democrat, as the better choice, and we would like to see these two agree to debate so that 12th District voters can come to the same conclusion.
To reiterate, The Dispatch endorses Rep. Joyce Beatty for the 3rd District, Rep. Steve Stivers for the 15th District and Danny O’Connor for the 12th District.