Today's special feature: Rob Thornton, Republican candidate for Ohio's 33rd District seat
Incumbent Tyrone Yates missing in action?
Last Saturday, we announced that both Democrat incumbent Representative Tyrone Yates' and his Republican challenger Rob Thornton's answers to three questions we posed would appear here today. Mr. Yates personally accepted our invitation to blog, as did Mr. Thornton. Despite our having submitted the questions to him twice at several email addresses, we never heard either from Mr. Yates or his campaign again. So, folks, we are pleased to present Mr. Thornton’s responses and thank him for participating; and we are displeased, very displeased, not to have Mr. Yates' replies. Rob Thornton's campaign website is http://www.robthornton.com/.
Next Saturday, October 14, Commissioner Phil Heimlich and David Pepper will be featured as the last pair of candidates in our series.
Issue 2 on this November’s ballot proposes amending the Ohio constitution to raise the minimum wage from $5.15 to $6.85 per hour starting January 1, 2007, and includes an annual cost of living inflationary adjustment. Please tell us 1.) why you either support or do not support raising Ohio’s minimum wage and 2.) whether or not raising the minimum wage should be done by amending the state constitution.
Rob Thornton: On the surface, this appears to be a very good thing for Americans working legally in the United States trying to earn a living. I think most would agree that it’s extremely difficult to make ends meet on $5.15/hour. However, the question over-simplifies the Issue on the ballot. The authors of the bill have included a clause that would make every worker in the State of Ohio wages, benefits, address, phone numbers and social security numbers PUBLIC information under the mask of “compliance and enforcement”. In addition, I would ask people to consider the big picture of global competition. More and more companies are forced to cut costs to compete against an overseas workforce that works for a fraction of our hourly wage. I’m certainly not saying it’s fair, simply stating a fact. By increasing the minimum wage, we run the risk of INCREASING unemployment by forcing the hands of those businesses already under pressure to reduce costs.
1.) While I fundamentally agree that it is time for an increase in the minimum wage, it is for the aforementioned reasons that I believe this is the wrong way to go about it.
2.) I agree that raising the minimum wage should be left up the states.
Health care costs are skyrocketing, and small businesses struggle to offer health insurance to their employees. While many people do have insurance, co-pays and deductibles are increasing. Some estimates put the number of Ohioans without health insurance as high as 1.2 million. What would you specifically do as a state representative to help all Ohioans have access to affordable health care?
Rob Thornton: My wife and I struggle with this ourselves and I will say it’s no fun. I whole-heartedly agree that Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney's Universal Health Care Legislation to provide insurance for all residents of his state deserves consideration. Ken Blackwell has endorsed this legislation as something he plans to implement upon his election to Governor of Ohio.
On 9/27/06 federal judge Susan Dlott ruled the Ohio law restricting the use of the abortion pill UR-486 is unconstitutional because it is vague, could jeopardize the health of women because it provides no exception for using the pill after the 7th week of pregnancy, and fails to set clear, reasonable guidelines for doctors to follow. What legislative provisions would you support in the future with regard to the availability and use of this abortion pill?
Rob Thornton: No legislative provisions are needed. The ruling needs to be appealed to a high court as the law simply requires the state to follow the rules outlined by the FDA.
10/12/06 UPDATE: We are pleased to now have Representative Tyrone Yates' responses to our questions, complete with an apology for being...well, tardy. We accept his apology and welcome him aboard. He posted his answers in the "comments" below. His is the 5th entry. Thank you, Representative Yates.