Latta listens to citizens PDF Print E-mail
Written by ALEX ASPACHER Sentinel Staff Writer   
Saturday, 27 July 2013 07:29
Congressman Bob Latta, R-Bowling Green (right), listens to concerns brought up by Jeff Kernz of Perrysburg on the banking industry and practices which have affected his financial well-being Friday at the Wood County Courthouse. (Photo: Enoch Wu/Sentinel-Tribune)
A supporter of “open government,” U.S. Rep. Bob Latta held one-on-one meetings with constituents Friday morning at the Wood County Courthouse Complex.
People waited in the atrium for a turn to raise issues and concerns to the Republican congressman, who admitted there can be a disconnect between local citizens and the federal government that represents them.
Lee Hakel, a Bowling Green school board member, wanted to discuss the state budget and its implications for education funding, as well as Latta’s position on school testing.
Jeff Kernz, Perrysburg, sat nearby, waiting to ask Latta not to support bills that would support or fund a banking industry he perceives as “unethical.”
Kristina King, of Bowling Green, wanted to check on the status of a bill she’s previously discussed with Latta that would afford her and others with epilepsy better access to name-brand medication rather than generic drugs, which she said can lead to severe health problems.
Regardless of their cause or concern, many of those who came, likely wanted Latta to listen, and in some cases, take action. Some have personal problems related to health, social security or veteran affairs, while others want to weigh in on local issues or a national policy discussion.
“Every person who comes in here, it can be a completely different subject,” he said.
“I can’t do my job properly unless I know what’s on their minds.”
Once a year, Latta meets with constituents in each of the 14 counties he represents. He said he’s made more than 250 visits to area schools, farms, factories and businesses since last August, and encourages other legislators to maintain a similar presence within their own communities.
“I always tell all the new members when they’re elected, ‘Walk down the hallway; we all have the same first name on our door. It says Representative,’” he said. “We represent the people of our districts.
“Everyone’s problem is unique to them. If they want to come here and talk about it, that’s our job,” Latta added. “The number-one thing is that people want to be heard.”

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