3 vying for 14th Congressional seat
By GUY VOGRIN
The 14th Congressional District takes in the upper tier of townships in Trumbull County, and voters here will decide representation in Congress from among incumbent Republican David Joyce, Democratic challenger Michael Wager or write-in Green party candidate Andrew Jarvi.
Wager, 65, senior partner for the Taft law firm in Cleveland, is also a member of the adjunct faculty of the political science department at Case Western Reserve University.
Wager lost to Joyce in the 2014 general election. He said integrity, consistency and clarity are virtues that we should expect from our congressman.
Wager said his opponent has refused to debate him at public forums in the district.
“I’ve been to 18 forums, most put on by the League of Women voters, and David Joyce has not shown up,” Wager said. “I think it is the arrogance of incumbency.”
In fact, none of the three candidates chose to attend candidate interviews scheduled with the editorial board of the Tribune Chronicle.
“If elected, my top priority is improving campaign finance reform,” Wager said. “We have to put an end to dark money. It is corroding electoral choice.”
Wager also wants to improve economic growth through tax reform and broad-based investment in infrastructure.
“This is necessary in a national security perspective,” Wager said about infrastructure improvement. “We need to get back to rebuilding America, which will create jobs and improve wages.”
Joyce agreed there is a lot of angst in the electorate. He cited the North American Free Trade Agreement in the 1990s that was supposed to make it better for free trade.
“Thank goodness we still have Lordstown (General Motors plant),” said Joyce, who was first elected in 2012, succeeding Republican Steve LaTourette.
Joyce, 59, of Painesville is the former Geauga County prosecutor. He said that if re-elected, he will focus on creating good jobs, preserving and protecting the Great Lakes, ensuring the military and intelligence communities are properly supported, and strengthening the economy.
The key to economic recovery, Joyce said, may lie in energy independence.
“The Saudis are now playing games with the price of oil,” he said. “And it looks like our economy has a long way to come back.”
Joyce also touted the value of buying American.
“If we are going to spend our taxpayer dollars, we should be spending them on American-made products,” he said. “The world is getting smaller with our enemies getting closer.”
The congressman looks at himself in the “Reagan mold,” a man who looks to get things done.
Joyce took nearly twice as many votes as Wager in 2014 — 135,000 to 70,000, according to results from the Boards of Elections in the counties covered by the district.
The Green Party write-in candidate, Jarvi, moved back to Ashtabula County from the Columbus area in 2013 to take care of his ailing mother.
“In moving back to Ashtabula County, I have felt the struggles that many of you have experienced because of the lack of jobs paying a livable wage,” Jarvi said.
The candidate himself was an emergency management professional and former firefighter / EMT whose career was cut short because of a traumatic back injury.
After his injury, Jarvi returned to college, earning a host of degrees. He works as emergency management coordinator in Girard, Pa.
“I am a Christian, and I am not ashamed of my faith. I know there are people that identify as Christians that are hateful, bigoted, greedy or have dark hearts, and I am sorry if you have been hurt by those people because I serve and worship a loving and faithful God,” according to Jarvi’s statement on his social media page.
Jarvi said he feels a calling to run for office and always will put people and the planet before profits. He said his three priorities if elected would be to work toward the repeal or renegotiation of the NAFTA and CAFTA treaties, transitioning to green energy and a single-payer health system.
Both Joyce and Wager won party primary contests in March.
POLITICAL PARTY: Green Party (Write-in)
PREVIOUSLY ELECTED OFFICE: none (emergency management coordinator in Erie County, Pa.)
NOTABLE QUOTE: “I am a Christian, and I am not ashamed of my faith.”
David P. Joyce
POLITICAL PARTY: Republican
PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE: Geauga County prosecutor, 1988-2012
QUOTE: “If we are going to spend our taxpayer dollars, we should be spending them on American-made products.”
POLITICAL PARTY: Democrat
PREVIOUSLY PUBLIC OFFICE: Former chairman of the Cuyahoga County Port Authority.
NOTABLE QUOTE: “If elected, my top priority is improving campaign finance reform. We have to put an end to dark money. It is corroding electoral choice.”