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Watched Race

One reason the nation is watching the race for Congress in Southeast and Eastern Ohio is that it, once again, pits now-Congressman Bill Johnson against Charlie Wilson, whom Republican Johnson defeated to win the seat two years ago.

And, again, a major issue is the affordable health care bill passed in 2010, which Democrat Wilson supported.

"Many, many businesses along the river still complain today," Johnson says, that the health care law is the most onerous regulation of them all, and that's the reason they can't grow and hire and expand their companies."

Johnson has been charging that, by voting for the bill, Wilson also supported major medicare cuts. Wilson says his action assures medicare will continue for another decade.

"It was a retooling of Medicare advantage, which actually extended the life of Medicare for eight years," says Wilson. "It used to be 2016 we were going to have problems, now it's 2024 that the life of Medicare is extended."

Washington County sits in the center of the 6th Congressional District, one of the most diverse in the state of Ohio. It begins in southwest Ohio, stretching all the way up the Ohio River, to the northern part of the state.

And, in many ways, it's ground zero for the expanding oil and gas industry. Wilson says the Republican-led House blocked a bill meant to provide infrastructure improvements for vehicles hauling what comes from the ground.

"What we need to handle the trucks from this newfound oil and gas industry, which I'm very happy with, is to have that oil and gas be transported. If we don't, we'll find people leaving that oil and gas in the ground."

Johnson says what's slowing down the industry is the Obama administration's refusal to quickly grant permits for drilling companies.

"We have to get the permits, and the drilling has to take place. We can have all the oil we want, but if the administration isn't going to grant permits, and not let the drillers drill on the land, it's not going to do a whole lot of good."

Redistricting eliminated part of Athens County from the 6th district.


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