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Congressional candidate talks with voters

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    Democratic congressional candidate Ken Harbaugh of Avon speaks with area residents during a town hall meeting Sunday at Medina Library.


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    Medina County resident Robin Mannilla speaks with Democratic congressional candidate Ken Harbaugh of Avon after a town hall meeting Sunday at Medina Library.



MEDINA — With topics ranging from veterans benefits to women’s health care, area residents didn’t shy away from hot-button questions during a town hall meeting Sunday with Ken Harbaugh, a Democratic candidate running for the 7th Congressional District.

About 60 people gathered at Medina Library to speak with Harbaugh, 44, of Avon.

Harbaugh is one of five candidates campaigning for the seat held by Bob Gibbs, R-Lakeville. Other candidates looking to unseat Gibbs include fellow Democrat Patrick Pikus as well as Republicans Terry Robertson and Patrick Quinn.

On Sunday, the U.S. Navy veteran spent 90 minutes discussing his policies and positions.

“What do you hope to do to help the veterans,” Medina resident Ed Selega asked Harbaugh,

Harbaugh, 44, who flew reconnaissance missions in the Middle East and off North Korea, said the government simply isn’t doing enough to care for its veterans.

It is unacceptable for a veteran to go to a Veterans Affairs hospital and be told to come back later when there is room, Harbaugh said.

“When you are looking over the edge of that cliff, you don’t have six months. The answer to your question is we have not been doing right by our vets.”

Anne Cutlip, of Medina, talked about her frustration with the Trump administration, and what she believes to be a lack of action from Congress to act independently of the White House.

“Where is Congress saying, ‘What are you doing?’ It is just so disturbing to me,” she said.

Harbaugh said the 2016 election was disheartening because of the way both political parties tore into each other.

“I took it personally, as someone who put his life on the line for the country, I thought about the fact that we were not doing right by the memory of the buddies I left behind,” he said. “I think we are looking today at a 115th Congress that is not a separate branch of government.”

Lafayette Township resident Nancy Wagner asked Harbaugh about his stance on women’s health care, specifically abortion and family planning.

“The first thing I would say is it hurts me that in 2018 we are still talking about women’s health care like it is a separate thing,” he said. “As a guy, I don’t have to talk about men’s health care; it is just health care, and I don’t have to fight for anything extra.”

Harbaugh said it is a difficult subject politically and personally, because he and his wife lost a child during her 13th week of pregnancy.

“My final point is that (the) doctor’s office where we got that news was crowded enough with Annmarie and me and our doctor. We did not need the heavy hand of the federal government in there telling us how to have that conversation,” he said.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or

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