Werner Lange challenges congressmen for 6th district

LISBON — The Democrat from Newton Falls challenging Republican Congressman Bill Johnson for the 6th Congressional District wants to ban fracking and decrease student debt through tuition-free public universities.

Werner Lange spent most of the day campaigning in Columbiana County on Tuesday, beginning in Salem and ending in East Liverpool.

By the time he reached his second stop — East Palestine — he had accumulated more than 150 signatures, surpassing the 50 needed to file as a party candidate.

Lange said he has dedicated his entire adult life to social movements for justice and peace, and was especially excited when Bernie Sanders ran for president. In fact, Lange served as a Sanders delegate to the Democratic National Convention in 2016.

Lange said his campaign platform is aligned with Sanders’ on many levels.

Lange adamantly opposes fracking, especially in all state parks, and was sure to include a stop at the Beaver Creek State Park in Columbiana County on his tour.

He noted that Johnson is in favor of fracking.

“Johnson is a puppet of the 1 percent and a political prostitute of the fracking industry,” he said.

He said that environmentalists will have a vote if he is elected over Johnson.

Johnson was not immediately available for comment Tuesday night.

As for education, Lange believes that money is available at the federal level to create tuition-free universities. The money should some from the “bloated” military budget, he said.

“We have the least bang for our buck in job creation in the military,” he said, adding that the same amount of money invested in education would create hundreds of thousands of jobs.

He also said that citizens need to shift their priorities to have tax dollars working for them.

“Citizens need to ask, what are we getting from our government?” he said.

He pointed out that there is no free college or health care, and a lack of investment of public funds in job-creating infrastructure development.

He supports a single-payer universal health care system and opposes cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security.

He also wants to see a pull-away from what he believes is a dependency on fossil fuels through the utilization of wind, solar and geothermal power.

Another change he would like to see is better boundaries for the district.

“This is a very gerrymandered community. It is time that it becomes redefined and actually represents the communities,” he said.

The 6th District covers 13 full counties and parts of five others and runs from the southern part of Mahoning Court south down along the Ohio River to Lawrence County.

He added that one common denominator between those communities, however, is that people are hurting economically.

He said that as a member of congress he will echo the needs of working families.

Lange has lived and worked in Ohio for 70 years and is a graduate of Ohio State University and Ashland Theological Seminary.

He was a pastor at St. Paul’s United Church of Christ in Tuscawaras County in 2004 and was a professor at Muskingum College and at regional campuses of Kent State University.

He also served as a U.S. Peace Corps volunteer in the malaria eradication program in Thailand in 1968.

He has five children and six grandchildren.

Lange has ran for Congress three times previously and also ran for the House 65th District in 2002.

More information about his campaign can be found online at www.lange4congress.com.

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