Are you satisfied with Congress?

EARLIER?THIS month, I was honored to win the Democratic primary and earn the right to challenge Congressman Bill Johnson in Ohio’s 6th Congressional District, which stretches from Scioto County in southcentral Ohio to the suburbs of Youngstown. Congressman Johnson and I have a fundamentally different view about the state of our federal government,

Congressman Johnson recently told this paper that he was “very satisfied with what we have done in Washington.”

I couldn’t disagree more with his assessment of this Congress. Most people I talk to think that Congress is a mess and that Washington is failing people in our part of Ohio.

The most irresponsible example of what this Congress did, with the full support of Congressman

Johnson, is voting to shut down the federal government. This reckless act cost taxpayers $3.1billion. Think about what that money would have meant to Ohio schools, or what it would have meant as a tax cut in your pocket. We have a federal prison in Elkton and because of the

shutdown, these workers were forced to continue their dangerous jobs without getting paid.

Even after most Republicans and Democrats recognized that the shutdown was a mistake,

Congressman Johnson voted against reopening the government.

Hundreds of steelworkers at the Ormet plant face the possibility of losing their homes or their


Apparently, Congressman Johnson is satisfied with what Washington is doing for them.

He opposes an extension of unemployment benefits, just like he refuses to support an increase in the minimum wage.

This stubborn refusal to seek solutions is even more shameful given that it only hurts the people our representatives are elected to serve. Taking extreme partisan positions may satisfy the party bosses and the political donors, but it hurts the seniors, the working families, and the schoolchildren whose lives are impacted by what happens in Washington. Consider, for example, the reckless Washington budget that Congressman Johnson supported. It would have cut $700 billion from Medicare and would cut education funding for all grades, from head start through college.

1 “Garrison to Battle Johnson in Congressional Race.” Times Leader. 7th May 2014.

Let’s be clear.this isn’t about party. I’m a Democrat, but I have not hesitated to criticize President Obama, even though we share the same party, for various things, such as his Administration’s inept rollout of the Obamacare website and his refusal to approve the Keystone XL pipeline, which will create jobs and make American more energy independent.

Both parties should seek opportunities to come together to reach commonsense solutions, rather than clinging to their most extreme partisan positions.

Unlike Congressman Johnson, I have a record of bringing people together to achieve results. As a state representative, I was able to bring Democrats and Republicans together to pass legislation that improved the school construction formula for rural areas, resulting in eight new schools in Monroe County. In the private sector, I have brought landowners and energy companies together to enter profitable mineral leases that protect the landowners’ land and water and that allow the energy companies to develop the mineral resources, resulting in new jobs and economic growth in the region.

We should demand this commonsense approach from our representatives. And, until things start getting better, no one should be satisfied.

Editor’s note: Jennifer Garrison is a Democratic Candidate for Ohio’s 6th Congressional District.