Challengers want to make LaTourrette’s 6th term his last

Ben Breier

Republican incumbent Steven LaTourette has two opponents in what has turned into a triple-threat slugfest over the 14th district seat in the U.S. House of Representatives.

LaTourette’s first challenger, independent candidate Werner Lange, warned Kent State students — beware of the draft.

“When I was a young student, it was what we faced in Vietnam — and Iraq is Arabic for Vietnam,” said Lange, Ohio’s only registered independent candidate running for a seat in the House.

The reverend and former Kent State professor engaged in civil disobedience on Sept. 21, the date Lange tagged as the International Day of Peace, and the day Lange said the United States should’ve released a timetable detailing how the country was going to pull troops out of Iraq.

More than 500 Americans were arrested that week as a part of a nationwide campaign, Lange said. The protests were organized by a faith-based initiative called the Declaration of Peace.

“I was willing to accept a criminal record in order to try and bring war criminals to trial,” he said.

Two sides of the same coin?

On the surface, Democratic candidate Lewis Katz has a lot in common with Lange. Both candidates are dedicated to pursuing alternative energy, and both candidates believe Ohio’s health care system needs to be fixed.

“Middle class American families are spending too much of their money on health insurance premiums, deductibles and co-payments,” he said.

The first thing Katz plans to address if elected into the 14th District seat is increasing the minimum wage.

“We will implement an incremental raise over three years so that it reaches $7.80,” Katz said, adding that the minimum wage hasn’t been raised in nine years.

Katz said LaTourette has voted against raising the minimum wage eight times.

Bringing a balance

LaTourette said he differs fundamentally from his opponents when it comes to dealing with statewide spending issues.

“He (Katz) says we spend too much, but if you look at the amendments offered by the Democratic party, we would’ve added one trillion dollars to the deficit,” he said. “It’s a spending problem and not a tax raising problem.”

LaTourette said programs like JumpStart will keep jobs in the state and provide reasons for people to move to Ohio, rather than move out of it.

“JumpStart is currently canvassing for 200 great ideas and willing to invest capital in them to create 200 cutting-edge companies,” LaTourette said, adding that this program attracted the nation’s only fuel cell developer to Painesville.

“That is clearly cutting edge,” he said.

Contact public affairs reporter Ben Breier at [email protected].


Name: Steven LaTourette

Party: Republican

Age: 52

Residence: Concord Township

Political Experience: United States House of Representatives, 1995-present; Prosecutor, Lake County Prosecutor 1989-1995.

Quote: “There will be good jobs available in Northeastern Ohio.”

Name: Lewis Katz

Party: Democrat

Age: 58

Residence: Pepper Pike

Political Experience: Auditor, State of Ohio, 2002-present; Attorney General, State of Ohio, 1995-2002; Senator, Ohio State Senate, 1988-1994.

Quote: “I think Congress is a disgrace – the corruption and cover ups that have occurred over the last few years are outrageous. If people want to change Congress, they have to start by changing their own congressman.”

Name: Werner Lange

Party: Independent

Age: 59

Residence: Newton Falls

Political Experience: None.

Quote: “We should fight the war on poverty and abolish it in America.”