By Wayne Gates –
Second Congressional District Representative Brad Wenstrup is running for a fourth term.
He was first elected in 2012, taking office in January of 2013.
In an exclusive interview with The Brown County Press, Wenstrup talked about why he is running again and some of the issues facing Congress.
“I feel that there are a lot of things that I am engaged in here as a member representing the second district of Ohio that I want to continue to see through,” said Wenstrup.
“I’ve said the work is never done, but I feel that I still have a lot to contribute to so many of the issues facing our country today.”
Wenstrup said that he feels his effectiveness in Congress is enhanced by his life experience.
“The background that I have as a business owner, doctor, veteran and just someone who cares and loves this country, I want to steer in the best direction that I can. My energy is still very high to do that,” he said.
Wenstrup said that he feels like he is being given more responsibility is Congress as he continues to serve.
“I feel like I get called on to do more things and I’m complemented by that. For example, I serve on the intelligence committee, which is a select committee. That is one where you have to show a willingness to work and to try to do the right thing and what’s best for the country,” he said.
“There are a lot of things that I’m asked to do when it comes to, for example, military health care and serving on (the) armed services (committee). I get tasked with taking on a lot of those issues. These aren’t things that necessarily make the paper or become well known, but you do feel like you get called on more, the longer you’ve been here and proving that you are willing to work hard and hopefully bring some expertise on some issues as well.”
Wenstrup also talked about the partisan environment that seems to be coming from Washington, D.C. these days.
“It’s a concern, but I think a lot of that is played out in front of the cameras. Day to day, I don’t think it’s quite as much as people might imagine. We saw a lot of comradery after the (baseball field) shooting and subsequent baseball game,” Wenstrup said.
“On the VA committee, for example, there are a lot of things that we have accomplished and we want to continue to improve the VA healthcare system. We’ve also increased accountability within the VA as far as the employees, and we’ve done that in a bipartisan fashion.”
But when comes to larger issues, Wenstrup said that the battle lines are easier to see.
“With the tougher issues and the bigger issues, I certainly see more posturing in front of the cameras than you do on most of the issues that we face here…It seems to that when you do get things done, that doesn’t make the press and the public isn’t really aware of a lot of those things,” he said.
He also talked about the Republican tax bill, one of the biggest issues to get media attention these days.
“It’s moving along. Like any other thing that’s big, there will things you will like and don’t like about it. I think that overall, the bill is very positive for the American people in many, many ways. There are some areas of concern that maybe I won’t get into the bill, but will continue to fight for down the road. I think that’s pretty common when you are dealing with something this big,” Wenstrup said.
As far as what is next on the agenda for Congress, Wenstrup said, “It’s very clear that we are going to have to continue to act on health care, as many people are continuing to struggle with the Affordable Care Act. While it has helped some, it has created a lot of hardship for many Americans and we hear from them every day.”
He also talked about an ongoing effort to make sure that people who are trying to work their way out of poverty don’t end up paying a price for success.
“As they start to move up the ladder, they end up being punished and they find that they are better off not working. They don’t like it, nor should they. We will be working towards changing our system, not to get rid of our safety nets, but to improve upon them so when people actually start to progress, get a job, make advancements, that they don’t end up worse off. That’s something that you will see us working on next year.”