In their only event together this election cycle, the three candidates for Ohio’s 10th Congressional District joined News Center 7’s Jim Otte for a forum broadcast during a special Saturday afternoon airing of WHIO Reports.
Incumbent Republican Rep. Mike Turner, Democrat Theresa Gasper and Libertarian David Harlow participated in the forum. The 10th Congressional District includes all of Montgomery and Greene counties and a portion of Fayette County.
Topics of discussion included jobs, the economy, health care and other issues facing the district. The candidates also introduced themselves to voters.
“The community knows me,” Turner said. “They know my record, they know my work. They know my work as mayor of Dayton when we built together the Schuster Center, Riverscape and the baseball stadium. They know my work in Congress, both for the protection of Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and its growth.”
Gasper, of Beavercreek, formerly owned a secretarial service that served defense contractors. She has also worked on renovating houses in Dayton’s South Park neighborhood.
“I know the anguish of wondering if I’m going to make payroll in the morning, and also know the joy of being able to give back to the community,” Gasper said. “What I’m seeing, though, is too many people in this town are working hard, they’re playing by the rules, and they have nothing to show for it.
“The incumbent likes to talk about jobs gained. He doesn’t talk about jobs lost at GM or NCR or now Teradata. He talks about how he’s experienced, he’s been part of the system for 16 years. It’s the system that’s broken,” Gasper said. “What has he done to fix it? And he’s spending a lot of time talking to presidents of corporations. He’s not talking to the people. He is not present in this district unless there’s an election.”
Turner rebutted Gasper’s characterization of his time in office, adding, “The reality is people here know me and the fact that my opponent who no one knows says that I’m not here is also laughable.”
“We have been an area that has been growing, both in wages and jobs, you can feel it in the community that the community is back. But a lot of it is work that I’ve been part of,” Turner said. “Now the reason you don’t know Theresa Gasper is because she’s not been part of any of the accomplishments we’ve had in the community.”
As part of its new “Path Forward” project, the Dayton Daily News has explored the challenges facing the local economy.
The paper reported that while employment rates are high, census data show the median household income in the Dayton metro area declined by 3.8 percent to $52,745 between 2008 and 2017. The decline for Montgomery County alone was 6.7 percent.
Harlow, a former chemical engineer from Harrison Twp., said he is “just disgusted with the mess in Washington, that’s all.”
“Basically it’s a protest campaign. As far as experience goes, I don’t have that much in public service or anything like that,” Harlow said. “I’m not going to win. If you’re fed-up with the bunch, you might vote for me.”
As part of its election coverage, WHIO-TV Channel 7 hosted the three candidates to tape the one-hour special, which is available now on whio.com and on the station’s TV streaming app.
AM 1290 and News 95.7 WHIO Radio will re-broadcast the forum at 10 o’clock this morning.
“It’s the only opportunity I’m aware of that brings all three candidates together,” said Caryn Golden, WHIO-TV news director. This newspaper and WHIO-TV and radio share a parent company, Cox Media Group Ohio.
The regularly scheduled broadcast of WHIO Reports will air at 11:30 a.m. Sunday on WHIO-TV Channel 7 featuring gubernatorial candidates Republican Mike DeWine and Democrat Richard Cordray. An episode with Green candidate Constance Gadell Newton and Libertarian Travis Irvine will air Nov. 4.
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