There were questions about alleged IRS targeting of Tea Party groups, delays in processing veterans claims and the numbers of people receiving Social Security disability dollars at Thursday's town hall in Wilmington with U.S. Rep. Steve Stivers (R-15th district).
About 50 people attended the event at Kelly Center on the Wilmington College campus, described as a listening session or town hall by Stivers who became Clinton County's representative in the U.S. House in January following redistricting.
Several questions pertained to recent allegations the Internal Revenue Service applied added scrutiny to applications for tax-exempt status of conservative groups. Stivers said the story is still in the fact-gathering stage and the American public doesn't yet know what occurred.
The congressman said he favors a special prosecutor being named "to get to the bottom" of the IRS' alleged actions.
Asked about lengthy delays in the Veterans Administration processing military veterans' benefit claims, Stivers said spending money to address the delays is an untypical example of an area for which he's willing to increase federal spending because the nation owes that to its veterans.
In response to a question concerning an increase in people who get Social Security disability compensation, Stivers said the current number is a record. He added that being disabled from doing one type of work does not mean that person is necessarily disabled from every job.
Stivers indicated he supports helping those people get trained to get a job they can do.
Prior to the question-and-answer portion of the event, Stivers spoke about having voted for a bill that will reform workforce development programs. The legislation aims to get training dollars to people who need it such as those who are unemployed and need skills to go back to work, he said. The legislation also tries to enable companies that have jobs available to get access to training programs, he said.
Addressing an audience of Clinton Countians whose home county has ranked among the Ohio counties with the worst unemployment rate since 2008, Stivers said there's a need to fix the unemployment system so that it "creates an off-ramp to a job and that means tying workforce development into it."
He added, "But I think after a while unemployed people should be required to, for example, get the workforce development training that they need to have the skills so that they can get jobs."
Stivers continued, "After let's say three or four months of unemployment, it's probably fair to say that they don't have the skills for the jobs that are in that marketplace. So we need to tie some responsibilities to that unemployment after a while, [and] make sure that it does help people get back to work."