U.S. Rep. Marcy Kaptur offered up her first progress report to a Cleveland audience since capturing the newly redrawn 9th District seat last November. ideastream’s Nick Castele was there for her appearance at the City Club of Cleveland, and has this report.
Kaptur is in her 31st year in Congress, but her district has been concentrated in western Ohio. Then in 2011 Republicans drew new district boundaries that stretched from Toledo along the Lake Erie shoreline all the way to Cleveland’s west side -- Dennis Kucinich territory. She defeated Kucinich in a primary race, and won the seat last November.
At the City Club, Kaptur joked that her district contains more water than it does land. But on a more serious note, she said Lake Erie faces many threats.
"That includes invasive species and toxic algae," she said. "It also includes a Republican majority in the current Congress, in the House, that wants to cut over 80 percent of the funding for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative."
The Great Lakes Initiative is a multi-state effort to restore and protect the Great Lakes, using federal funding. A bill in the House would have cut that funding from $285 million down to $60 million. That amount has since been bumped back up to $210 million -- still shy of what Kaptur and other democrats want.
Kaptur dedicated much of her talk to the region’s economic health. She said her district is still climbing out of the recession, with many homeowners still underwater and poverty on the rise in some suburbs.
"If we want to compete in the global economy, we need to make unprecedented investments in our transportation, energy, water and -- yes -- our human infrastructure."
Kaptur says she will do everything she can to bring more federal resources to the district.