By Wayne Gates –
Ohio Second District Congressman Brad Wenstrup sat down October 20 for an exclusive interview with The News Democrat.
When asked what was happening in Washington, D.C. this year, Wenstrup said that congress was working on a program through Speaker of the House Paul Ryan’s office to propose changes in six different areas of concern.
“We felt that there were serious issues facing America that all Americans would agree need to be addressed,” Wenstrup said.
“Any member of congress can be on the task forces regardless of committee.”
The six task forces are focused on poverty, national security, the economy, health care, tax reform and the constitution.
“If there was one thing I had to pick that has had the biggest impact that I have seen in Washington is how we have drifted away from the constitution,” Wenstrup said.
He said that administrative regulatory agencies in the capitol have amassed too much power.
“We started with three, state treasury and war. Now we have 15 agencies that have rule of law,” Wenstrup said.
“Regulations, which many see as laws, are being made by regulators who people never voted for, and we have to try to pass a law to stop them.”
Wenstrup said that when people have to change their lives and businesses based on decisions made at agencies like the EPA and the IRS, things are not operating as the founding fathers intended.
“I don’t care what side of the aisle you’re on. You should be upset that you are no longer represented (when that happens),” Wenstrup said.
He also addressed the issue of poverty.
“We’ve got to quit punishing people who do want to go to work. The way the system is set up now, they suffer and their children suffer if they take a job and lose healthcare and other benefits,” Wenstrup said.
“I just left a business here in Brown County where the owner told me that he wanted to give an employee a raise and she came back and said ‘I can’t take it. If I take that raise, I lose too much.’ That makes absolutely no sense, and I have bipartisan support to work on this problem in congress with me.”
Wenstrup said the answer to a lot of problems lies in employment opportunities.
“There’s no greater social reform than a job. We want to address the opportunities for Americans to be independent and be able to thrive,” he said.
Wenstrup also addressed what is arguably the biggest social problem in his district.
“The drug problem is so multifaceted. We have four good reasons to provide good border security in our country. National security is one of those, the drug flow is another. A third reason is being able to maintain a legal immigration system and the fourth reason is prevention of epidemics,” Wenstrup said.
He also discussed the necessity and value of drug prevention education.
“I like what Sheriff Kimmy Rogers in Adams County. He started a program with junior high kids to have them write an essay about the danger of opiates. There is a $500 dollar winner and local doctors read the essays. They are the generation that can solve this problem by not starting.”
Wenstrup also said that even after successful treatment, many addicts still face difficulty.
“The big problem people have is getting back into the work force after a drug arrest. We have to give people options to be able to do that,” Wenstrup said.
“Just time in jail going cold turkey and/or medically assisted treatment sometimes is not enough. There has to be something at the end of that or many addicts will fall back into addiction.”
Wenstrup said that if he is elected to a third term in congress, he will keep moving forward.
“I’m just going to stay as optimistic as I can, keep pushing for the things that I think are best for this country. I know we have a country that could just take off if we raise the level of expectations from all of us.”