The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

Local News

February 6, 2010

Bill O’Neill announces another run against U.S. Rep. LaTourette

Democrat Bill O’Neill says his campaign against Republican U.S. Rep. Steven LaTourette won’t be polite, but he’s eager to take on the veteran lawmaker from Bainbridge Township.

O’Neill, who ran against LaTourette in 2008, plans to announce his candidacy 1 p.m. today at the eastern end of the Regional Transit Authority’s (RTA’s) line in Shaker Heights, outside the 14th District he wants to represent. He’s launching there to illustrate a key point of his campaign: For too many years, the economic development train has stopped short of LaTourette’s district.

“He’s a congressman who has said no to anything that relates to jobs in northeast Ohio,” O’Neill said in an interview earlier this week.

The South Russell, Geauga County resident, wants to change that. He says a passenger rail line linking Lake and Ashtabula counties to the job and recreational opportunities in greater Cleveland would be a good start to reviving those counties’ economies.

“It is absolute nonsense that those trains stop in Shaker Heights,” O’Neill says. “It should go east, where the workers are.”

He said extending the line to the east would make it more feasible for 14th District residents to work in the booming Cuyahoga County health care industry.

“It’s clearly a jobs issue,” O’Neill said of the rail line.

O’Neill criticizes LaTourette for failing obtain the federal money needed to extend the line.

The candidate also is blasting LaTourette for rejecting health care reform, which O’Neill feels is essential for American businesses to compete successfully against companies located in nations where health care is government-sponsored.

He also raises the issue of LaTourette’s involvement in the banking crisis; the congressman has been on the House Commerce Committee during the past decade.

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