Johnson seeks fourth term

LISBON — U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson is seeking re-election to the Ohio 6th District seat for a fourth term, but is facing opposition from Democrat Mike Lorentz, the current mayor of Belpre.

Lorentz did not return a call to his office requesting an interview.

Johnson, 61, a Republican, said he is not opposed to working with others in congress, no matter which party they come from as long as they are interested in putting America first, helping people find better jobs and higher paying jobs, protecting Social Security and the nation. Johnson said he is a part of a No Labels group, who are problem solvers from both parties, looking for solutions for many of the nation’s problems and concerned about restoring the authority of the legislative branch.

However, Johnson said he can also see working with Donald Trump if he is elected this November. Although Johnson said that as a husband, father and grandfather, he does not approve of some of the offensive things Trump has said, he also believes Hillary Clinton is not fit to be president. He cites Clinton’s failure to tell the truth to the Benghazi victims’ families, her mishandling of national secrets and the sale of the state department access for those who wanted to make donations to her charity.

“She has disqualified herself in my mind,” Johnson said.

While Johnson said he may find himself disagreeing at times with Trump, he has spoken with the candidate and found him listening attentively to what Johnson and his wife, LeeAnn had to say, and asking for their opinion.

When it comes to several issues, Johnson’s views are similar with Trump’s stances. One of Johnson’s main concerns is creation of jobs.

He has been concerned about the over regulations costing jobs in this district. He said the over reach of government regulations is strangling the economy, taking $2 trillion a year from the economy. Additionally, he is concerned about stopping the war on coal and making sure EPA regulations are not stopping the development of the oil and gas industry here. Johnson said energy jobs, including coal, not only provide a family with their income, but keep the price of energy lower for both the residents and manufacturers in this region.

Johnson, a retired Lt. Col. who served more than 26 years in the Air Force, is also concerned about the treatment of veterans. Johnson said he served on an oversight committee which began the investigations of the Veteran’s Administration, including their medical centers. He believes the whole system needs to be overhauled from the top down, because people are still dying while waiting for treatment from the VA hospitals. He cites problems such as disability claims to have been in the process for four years and 450,000 backlogged disability appeals claims.

“Our vets deserve better,” Johnson said. “They’ve earned it.”

Johnson also wants to work on issues like knowing who are crossing the U.S. borders and noted that part of the opioid addiction problems in this area can be traced back to drugs coming over the borders. Johnson also said he is concerned about “radical Islamic terrorism” and believes there needs to be “more stringent vetting” of those crossing the border.

“It makes no sense to me that we would bring young, fighting aged men (refugees) here, while we send our young men to fight their war for them,” Johnson said.

Johnson said it is important for the U.S. to stop “leading from behind” in the war on terror.

He also said he will not stand for the continual attack on the second amendment rights of gun owners. Pointing to the stringent gun laws in Chicago, which also has the highest murder rate, Johnson said the criminals are not going to follow the laws and that taking guns from lawful gun owners does not solve the problem.

Among the legislation Johnson was a part of passing recently was CARA, the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which works to identify drug addiction problems and focuses on treatment and recovery programs. He has also been involved in legislation to repeal Obamacare, assistance to allow burn centers to be included as trauma centers to apply for federal grants, and legislation for the leasing of public lands for oil and gas.

“I’m very proud of the level of service we provide for the people,” Johnson said of the work he and staff have done. He also said he does not care about the party affiliation of someone who needs assistance from his office from this district. “I work for them. It’s not the other way around.”