MT. ORAB — In the final week of his summer recess from Congress, U.S. Representative Brad Wenstrup took some time to meet with constituents in Brown County at an event called, “Coffee with your Congressman.”
The event, held at The Country Inn in Mt. Orab, attracted visitors from across the region, from Ripley up to Hillsboro and everywhere in between. Constituents discussed with Wenstrup various issues, including personal issues with disabilities and health insurance, the ongoing drug problem in the county, and the heated Planned Parenthood debate.
Wenstrup said he took away “a variety of things” on his visit to speak with the public in Mt. Orab.
“There are some people that have a personal issue, whether it’s with the (U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs) or something along those lines with a disability, and then you have other people who are angry at how things are in America today and want to see something change,” Wenstrup said. “They’re concerned about our national security, they’re concerned about whether we enforce our laws or don’t enforce our laws, and they feel really confused about the future of America.”
Wenstrup met with a number of locals, including Carol Stivers and Betty Campbell of Ripley, and Monica Sellers of Hillsboro. Stivers and Campbell discussed the ongoing push to place the John P. Parker House in Ripley within the National Parks Service, while Sellers discussed the ongoing Planned Parenthood sage that’s been a hot-rod topic amongst the Republican Presidential candidates.
With so many different and varying viewpoints not only from the visitors in Mt. Orab but also from other areas around Ohio’s second district, it’s a challenge Wenstrup welcomes every day as a congressional representative.
“It is the role of the congressperson to try and blend all these things together,” Wenstrup said. “I have urban areas and rural areas. There’s some frustration for me a lot of times when it comes to trying to make a difference in Washington on rural concerns, because there’s so much control in the executive branch, and the executive branch is elected by a few states and a few cities, typically not your rural areas. So it’s hard to get the executive branch engaged sometimes.”
“But we have a lot of things in common on both sides of the aisle. When we’re talking about drug addiction, that’s one of the topics we had today. So there’s a lot of common ground on both sides of the aisle for things that we need to work on in our district as well.”
With jobs one of the most discussed problems facing Americans today, Wenstrup agreed that it would do students well to learn soft skills before entering the work force, such as arriving to work on time, passing a drug test, and knowing how to balance a checkbook.
“I think it is important,” Wenstrup said. “Financial literacy, things that a lot of people were able to get in their home growing up, many people today aren’t getting those skills passed on to them. I can remember in my (medical) practice somebody who came to work for me and was getting a money order to pay an electric bill. My mom happened to be working that day and she said (to the worker), ‘I’m going to show you how to set up a checking account.’
“I know we’re doing a lot of that with veterans too. If people say ‘what are your skills?’, sniper isn’t really what the employer wants to hear. What they do want to hear is that you’re a leader of many people, you show up on time for work, etc. People do need help with that unfortunately and maybe we should have that as part of our curriculum in our schools, because the ultimate goal for everybody is to get a job, keep it, and provide for themselves.”
With Congress resuming their session this week, Wenstrup summed up his last month of traveling across the district, nation, and world as “very busy” and “very rewarding.”
“I gained a lot from all of these things,” Wenstrup said.” Going to Israel, especially at a time with this Iran treaty and hearing from our ally who this affects greatly, it’s good to get their perspective and be there, and of course it’s phenomenal to be in the holy land. As far as being in the military, I was teaching a class (in Fort Hood, Texas) talking about health readiness for our troops. We maintain our planes and our ships but we need to maintain ourselves as well. It doesn’t help us to have a lot of soldiers that aren’t ready to go. I’m on the Readiness Subcommittee as well so that’s a good parlay there.”
“Then of course time being at home like here today, talking to people, getting to know what’s on their mind, and also a great opportunity to spend time with my mom and dad, as well as my wife and son.”