(WKBN) — A poll released this month from USA Today shows candidates for Ohio’s open Senate seat are very close — JD Vance is polling at 41% while Tim Ryan trails just behind at 39%. We spoke with both candidates one on one Wednesday to learn more about their opinions on more of our country’s most controversial topics.
Ryan and Vance answered a series of questions, ranging from inflation to the Jan. 6 hearings, starting with what each candidate thinks is the biggest issue affecting the Valley and how they would fix it.
“We’ve become a dependant country on China and other countries as well. We don’t make enough of our stuff here…If they want to rely on slave labor instead of good middle-class Ohio workers then we have to be willing to punish them, and this is frankly one issue my own party has been a little bit behind the curve. It is not appropriate to replace an American worker with a Chinese slave,” said Vance.
“Inflation is killing people. It’s real. I know it’s pounding people, working-class people. I think we need a tax cut. A straight working-class tax cut that’s going to put money into people’s pockets and allow them to ride out the storm,” said Ryan.
When it comes to gas prices, both say the gas tax holiday is a good idea in theory but doesn’t go far enough.
“Gas tax holiday is OK. It’s not going to be enough of what people need,” said Ryan.
“It doesn’t really fix the underlying problem which is that we’ve made it very hard to produce American energy,” said Vance.
Next question: the Jan. 6 Capitol insurrection hearing. Vance is endorsed by former President Trump. Ryan was in his office across from the Capitol during the attack.
“To whitewash a bunch of Capitol police officers getting beat up and then later with the trauma, committing suicide, all of these things it’s wrong…If you’re beating up cops you should pay the price,” said Ryan.
“I think most people recognize that of course Jan. 6 was not a good day in our country’s history but it was a year and a half ago. It doesn’t affect much of our politics today,” said Vance.
Next: Do candidates support a term limit? Poll data suggests 82% of American support term limits for Congress.
“I think people should be able to vote for who they want. There should be few restrictions,” said Ryan.
“Definitely support term limits and I’m a signer of the term limits pledge. People get in there and it turns into a career instead of an act of public service,” said Vance.
Ryan and Vance also gave their responses to abortion, the proposed gun control legislation and why they feel they’re the best man for the job.
Vance does not support allowing abortion for rape or incest.
“I’m 100% pro-life. I’ve always been 100% pro-life…As much as people focus on the rape and incest exceptions…it’s incredibly rare. Most abortions do not come from that situation as horrific and tragic as it is. Most abortions come out of convenience,” said Vance.
“I think this is the largest governmental overreach in my lifetime. This is a country built on freedom. That means that a woman who might be raped and in a very difficult circumstance should not have JD Vance tell that woman or possibly girl that they have to carry that pregnancy,” said Ryan.
Vance and Ryan also gave insight into their views on gun control.
“Way too many people who are suffering severe mental health problems have no access to the treatment they need,” said Vance. “The background check system does need a lot of work but with the laws that are already in place and with their enforcement not with additional laws…they had multiple felonies and passed a background check. That suggests the problem is not the background system needs to be enhanced, but the background check system needs to be fixed.”
“You know, how do we prevent 18-year-olds from getting who don’t need it getting a semiautomatic rifle and 1600 rounds when someone who’s going into war serving in our military only gets 300 rounds? What are we talking about? This is crazy. And these are you know, these school shootings have been done by 18-year-old kids who get semiautomatic rifles and, you know, kill our kids in their schools, and we don’t want our schools to be battlegrounds, and I’m proud of that. Rob Portman and other Republicans who have joined with some commonsense Democrats to make some basic steps to try to prevent this if we just prevent one. But we’ve saved the lives of our little babies,” said Ryan.
“I come from a community that has been affected by bad policies. I grew up in a working-class family. I was raised by my grandparents because my mom struggled with opioid addiction. I think we ought to send people to Washington who actually know what it feels like when groceries get a little more expensive, they know it hurts…We really need people who are solving the big problems. We’ve had way too much time of politicians trying to tinker around the edges just trying to fix the superficial,” said Vance.
“Well, Ohioans vote for someone who’s most Ohio. You know, I think the last thing that the United States Senate needs is another millionaire who got funded by a billionaire to the tune of $15 million or who comes out of Silicon Valley. I just don’t think that’s what the Senate needs right now. We need someone who wants to reach across the aisle. I’ve been ranked the most bipartisan member of the Ohio delegation and in the top 10% of the entire Congress for working with Republicans. I want to get things done. I want to solve problems, and I think, JD, with these extreme positions, he has no interest in reaching across the aisle and trying to make government work for people,” said Ryan.
Both candidates also said they would support raising the federal poverty guidelines in light of recent inflation.