By Rory Ryan, Owner of the Highland County Press
Republican voters in Ohio's Second Congressional District will have several choices in the March 6 primary election: including incumbent Rep. Jean Schmidt, Fred Kundrata, Tony Brush, Joe Green and Dr. Brad Wenstrup.
The Highland County Press endorses Dr. Wenstrup.
Last week, Family First and the Ohio Liberty Council added their respective endorsements of Dr. Wenstrup.
"It is the opinion of the Ohio Liberty Council that the citizens of the Second Congressional District would be well served if they voted to send Dr. Wenstrup to Washington to represent our conservative, constitutionally based values," said Tom Zawistowski, president of the OLC. "We urge all Republicans to vote for Dr. Wenstrup either by absentee ballot or in person on March 6."
As a practicing physician, Dr. Wenstrup, 53, brings 25 years of private-sector business experience to the district. In addition, he is a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Reserves. In 2005, he deployed for a year of active duty in Iraq where he served as a combat surgeon with the 344th Combat Support Hospital. For his service and actions in Iraq, Dr. Wenstrup was awarded the Bronze Star and Combat Action Badge. He continues to serve in the U.S. Armed Forces.
A resident of Hamilton County at the western edge of the Second District, Dr. Wenstrup also is familiar with the eastern section of the district, which now includes Highland County, parts of Hamilton, Ross and Scioto counties, and all of Adams, Brown, Clermont and Pike counties in southern Ohio.
Dr. Wenstrup has owned property in Highland County's Rocky Fork Lake State Park area since 1998.
"I bring a set of skills that very few in Congress have," Dr. Wenstrup told The Highland County Press during an interview at the newspaper office. "I have owned my own business. I have almost 25 years in health care and almost 14 years in the military. Everything I do in my adult life is about leadership. So few in Congress have real-world experience."
The officer also talked about the core values associated with leadership, saying, "The Army has an acronym for 'leadership:' Loyalty, Duty, Respect, Selfless service, Honor, Integrity and Personal Courage (LDRSHIP)."
To be sure, the Second District -- like most of the nation -- is rightfully concerned about job creation and the economy. Five of the district's eight counties remain above the state and national average in unemployment. Highland, Adams, Brown, Pike and Scioto counties all ended 2011 with more than 10.5 percent in unemployment rates.
"We need government to get out of the way and quit treating business like they're the problem," Dr. Wenstrup said. "It's similar to a comment by (former presidential candidate) Gov. Tim Pawlenty, when he said about President Obama, 'You can't be pro-job and anti-business. That's like being pro-egg and anti-chicken.'"
Dr. Wenstrup said he would work to ease onerous federal regulations and interference on private business, and repeated his dislike of the federal health insurance regulations.
"Politicians always like to talk about the number of uninsured, but we ought to talk about health care and treatment," he said. "I am in favor of ways to bring people up, rather than bring others down."
In discussing business and economic development, Dr. Wenstrup shared the story of former U.S. Senator and 1972 Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern, who wrote about his dismal private-sector business experiences after leaving Congress.
Sen. McGovern had purchased a hotel in Connecticut, only to watch the business sink into bankruptcy. Writing for The Wall Street Journal, the senator admitted he had felt the heavy hand of government -- put there by the very laws he had helped pass. "I wish that during the years I was in public office, I had had this firsthand experience about the difficulties businesspeople face every day," Sen. McGovern wrote. It "would have made me a better U.S. senator."
Dr. Wenstrup has that private-sector business experience. He has the experience, the education, the record of service to his country and the conservative commitment to bring jobs back to Ohio's Second District and work toward a balanced budget in Washington.
Moreover, on at least two recent congressional votes, Dr. Wenstrup said he would have gone against the GOP majority and his incumbent opponent. He said he would have joined Ohio Republican Congressmen Mike Turner and Jim Jordan and voted against increasing the federal debt ceiling by more than $2 trillion and he opposes the "indefinite detention" provision in the 2012 National Defense Authorization Act.
"I'm not looking for a job or going from one election to the next," Dr. Wenstrup said. "If I'm going to run, it's going to be something where I can make a difference.
"We rise to the level of our expectations. We need to have higher expectations. We need to remember our Constitution begins with 'We the people," not 'We the government.'"
Second District voters should give the candidate the opportunity to make good on these promises.
We endorse Dr. Brad Wenstrup for Congress.