Manchester, Monbeck debate

Staff Writer

On Tuesday Morning, the New Bremen New Knoxville Rotary Club hosted the second of three debates concerning the upcoming election on Nov. 6.
Tuesdays debate was between 84th House District candidates Susan Manchester (R-Waynesfield) and Joe Monbeck (D-Celina).
Monbeck grew up with a single mother and has two brothers who serve in the armed forces. He comes from a working class background and was raised on the notion that if he wanted anything, he had to work for it.
Manchester is an Auglaize County native who spent time working under Congressman Jim Jordan in Washington D.C. before moving back to Ohio after seeing a disconnect between politicians in Washington and the people of Ohio.
Do you favor or oppose Issue 1 and why?
Both candidates agree that Issue 1 is not the proper way Ohio should handle the opioid epidemic.
What, if any, is the largest policy change that you would support if voted into office?
Monbeck: This is one that I have thought long and hard about. Currently, there is a bill in the state house that I fully support and I feel like it needs to go a little bit further and that expands broadband internet access to the entire state of Ohio.
We, on a state level, have access to be able to do that in the same manner that the federal government did the telephone lines in the 1920s. And that would make sure that country kids aren’t going to McDonald’s to do their homework, first of all. And secondly, if we had access to broadband internet in smaller communities, then places like New Knoxville or Waynesfield can have those high tech, manufacturing, high paying jobs and we don’t have to brain drain for people … that go to other places for the opportunity; we can have that opportunity back here.
So I fully support that and I feel that in order to be in the 21st century Ohio needs to expand their broadband internet access.
Manchester: We’re in a very fortunate position in this area to have the lowest unemployment rates in the state of Ohio and thousands of jobs available right now but the problem is most employers are having a tough time finding workers to fill those positions.
And I believe far too often employers are competing with the government for able bodied workers. Our government assistance programs have become so generous they trap people in the system, rather than on the path to self sufficiency. Something that I really want to work toward is finding a way to level off assistance so that people are in a position where they can move up the ladder, economically, in their jobs rather than continuing to depend on government assistance for help.
Right now, a single mom who is raising several kids could be in a position where she has a great job, gets an opportunity for a 30-cent raise, refuses that raise because she knows that she’ll lose her medicaid benefits. I think that’s absolutely ridiculous that we would set things up that way so that we’re not encouraging people to not get on the path to work. That is something that I hope to address at the state house.
Do you think the prohibition against computerizing the National Gun Registry should be reversed, thus allowing law enforcement agencies to effectively track criminal gun activity?
Monbeck: Honestly, I don’t believe that is the way that we need to go, by making sure that every gun owner registers their guns. That being said, I feel like it should be mandatory for all law enforcement to use the NCIC [National Crime Information Center] database, it’s there for us and it’s kind of an unfunded mandate. [Police are] expected to do it now but there’s no incentive to do it. But if it was demanded to do it, it would make it safer for communities all across Ohio.
And that means if a person was in a violent crime, or a firearm was used in a violent crime, that would be registered in the NCIC database, which is nation wide.
Manchester: I am 100 percent pro second amendment and I believe that the second amendment was put in place by the founding fathers so that we could be protected from an unruly government.
If the government has a database where they know where all of the guns are, I think that’s going against the intent of the second amendment, and frankly when it comes to criminal activity I do believe that there is unutilized resources out there that we need to take better advantage of.
The reality is, a lot of folks that we know around here use guns for their safety, for their protect and for sport, and I think it’s important to continue that trend. As far as criminal gun activity goes, I believe we need to utilize the resources already available to us.
Do you feel Ohio’s minimum wage is too high, too low, or fine where it’s at?
Manchester: I think we are in a very good position to allow the free market to determine what is a competitive reasonable wage, and again when it comes to allowing people to move up the ladder and increase their wages, we’re competing with government assistance programs to make that happen.
I think that minimum wage should be set by employers. They should determine what they want to pay their employees and what’s going to be fair. The free market is the best determinate and again we are in a good position economically for wages to increase and for employers to compete to get the workers with the best wages.
Monbeck: I agree with Susan, something needs to be done to the Medicaid program, because like she said I have been an employer and I offered raises to people and they refused them. How crazy is that to think that someone is refusing money because they will lose their benefits. And that 30 cents that they are offered is not going to make up for the benefits that they lose.
That being said, a single mom has to work — a minimum wage job — almost 100 hours a week to not be eligible for any government assistance whatsoever.
Here’s the problem with that. I don’t think that regulating a minimum wage across the state of Ohio is the way to do it because as we know St. Marys is way different than Cleveland. It’s way more expensive to live in different parts of the state. That being said, I feel the state of Ohio should have their hands off to allow different municipalities to have different minimum wages if necessary.
The Supreme Court has ruled that the Federal Government does not have to withhold union dues for Federal Government Employees Union. In light of this, is a right to work rule still needed in Ohio? Why?
Monbeck: Absolutely not. Some might argue that Ohio should be right to work because all the states around us are right to work states. I don’t believe that a race to the bottom is the way to go.
We see that in a right to work state, workers earn a least 20 percent less then they do in a state where unions are available. We see that unions have better benefits, they have better pay, and not just for union employees but everybody benefits from that because jobs are competing with union good paying jobs and so I don’t believe — along with millions of other Ohioans that defeated Senate Bill 5 — we do not need right to work in Ohio.
Manchester: I fully support right to work in Ohio. When I was working at Big Brothers Big Sisters I worked with a program that helped adults get on the path to self sufficiency, and one woman that I worked with was recently homeless, had a child in foster care and we helped her find a job, find housing and get her kid back.
When she got her job though, she was immediately told that she had to be part of the union and, ‘oh by the way we understand that you probably don’t have the $150 to pay your union dues right off the bat, so we’re just going to take $25 out of your paycheck each round until you pay off your union dues.’
That to me is so frustrating and that is exactly why I want right to work because she is never going to see the benefits of that $150 in union dues paid off. Twenty-five dollars a paycheck might not seem like much but to a woman who was just recently coming out of homelessness, who has two kids, that’s a lot of money and it would be much better off in her pocket then somewhere else.
I really believe that it is important for people to know their options, and even though the Supreme Court has ruled that you don’t have to pay the union dues, it’s not always a reality that people understand their rights. I think right to work is the next step in that direction so people know their options.
Farmers of the Grand Lake watershed know that they are a critical part of the water quality of substantially limiting phosphate nutrients that cause algae blooms into Grand Lake. Most farmers are committed to staying fully engaged in the process to solving the problem, but realize most of the regulations affect only agriculture. Do you feel any other areas of the watershed should be more carefully regulated and if so, what areas would those be?
Both parties agreed the government should listen to community members and producers in Grand Lake before making legislation that affects those individuals. Manchester acknowledge the recent distressed watershed proposal changes, and how the biggest issue she’s heard of was the fact that community members working to improve the lake were not reached out to before the proposal was released.
Monbeck added that as someone who remembers seeing the lake in its prime, the government should follow the science that is working to improve the lake.
“One big problem of government is they make the rules and then expect everybody to follow but the government is really of the people, by the people, for the people,” he said. “We need to be talking to those people who are actually affected, making the decisions.”
The next set of debates for Rotary is set for Oct. 30 at 6:30 p.m. at the American Legion in New Bremen.