The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Feb. 26, 2024

Dem House candidate visits county

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

Angela Zimmann, Democrat candidate for the 5th U.S. House District seat held by Republican Bob Latta, chats with Fair Board Director Ann Marshall while touring the fairgrounds on Thursday. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

Angela Zimmann is a Renaissance woman: Lutheran pastor, engineer, college professor, mother, foster parent, and school board member. She’s also challenging incumbent Bob Latta, a conservative Republican, for the Fifth District U.S. House of Representatives seat he has held for the past six years.

Zimmann, a self-proclaimed moderate Democrat, says she feels she has a chance to unseat Latta, one of the most conservative House members, with the redistricting of the Fifth District that brought in a number of new Democrats from the Toledo area who were formerly part of Democrat Congresswoman Marcy Kaptur’s district.

If elected, she would be an increasing rarity in Congress: someone who is willing to cross the aisle to work with Republicans on solutions to the nation’s problems, including health care and economic problems that continue to plague the U.S.

Zimmann, who was a supply pastor at Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Church in Convoy 15 years ago, was in Van Wert County on Thursday, visiting her old church in Convoy, as well as Vancrest of Convoy nursing home, Convoy and Van Wert downtown businesses and county government offices — while spending part of the afternoon at the Van Wert County Fair — said she sees the same thing in this county that she sees in other places she has been in Ohio and across the nation.

“What I see are people who care about each other, who care deeply about their communities, who are concerned for the state of Ohio, who are concerned about America and who really want folks in Washington to get along,” Zimmann said.

Noting that most people are moderates, in her estimation, who think of themselves as Americans first, and Republicans and Democrats second, the Bowling Green State University writing professor said the church she serves in the Toledo area is a microcosm for the problems many Americans face.

“In my church I have people who are Republican, people who are Tea Party, people who are Democrat and we all work together to accomplish we need and every one of them has said to me: ‘we support you, we think that what you are doing is great because we know you and know how much you are about people, and know you won’t just walk the party line, but the people’s line,” Zimmann said.

“I’m really comfortable with that,” Zimmann said, noting that her mother was a lifelong Republican, “cradle to grave.”

Angela Zimmann talks with Juli Hamilton of Something from the Garden during Thursday's Market on Main Street, while Hamilton's son, Kyle, looks on. (Dave Mosier/Van Wert independent)

“He calls himself a conservative; in many ways I’m conservative, too, I’m fiscally conservative, I believe in small government,” Zimmann said. “The difference between me and my opponent is that I’m not a radical, I’m a moderate, nuanced thinker and he’s a radical.”

Although Van Wert County is known as a conservative stronghold, Zimmann said she feels the Fifth District, as a whole, is a moderate district, rather than conservative or liberal. She also mourned the loss of several moderate Congress members, including Olympia Snow and Ohioan Steve LaTourette, noting her opinion that Congress needs more moderates in order to deal with the many problems Americans … and America … face.

For Ohio, Zimmann said she sees a “renewed emphasis” on manufacturing, not only traditional industries but “green manufacturing” as well.

“If we close tax loopholes, we won’t be sending so many of our jobs overseas,” she noted, adding that infrastructure projects would also benefit the state.  “A big part of this is keeping our jobs here, good jobs with good benefits, she noted.”

“From my background in engineering, one of my big emphases is also on infrastructure, and I feel that when we put federal dollars into infrastructure it stimulates the economy,” she said. “This has been shown to work mathematically and Republicans and Democrats agree on it.”

Zimmann also took a swipe at her opponent and Republicans, noting that Latta has voted twice against paycheck fairness legislation and said she feels there is “a war against women in the Republican Party.”

The Democrat also addressed the Obama health care legislation, noting that she feels there are good things in the legislation and bad things, but would work hard, if elected, to find ways to tweak the legislation to make it cost-effective and fair for all Americans.

“Like most legislation, there is good and there is bad, and I would not say repeal, I would say revise,” Zimmann said.

She also criticized Latta for only calling for repeal of the health care legislation, not in finding ways to amend it to be more acceptable to Republicans and Democrats.

“All I hear is him bashing Obama, bashing the Democrat party,” Zimmann said. “If I would hear him say ‘this is bad, let’s do this,’ but all I hear him say is ‘this is bad, this is bad, this is bad’. if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem and he’s part of the problem.”

“There is not a simple solution to the (health care) problem, it calls for nuanced thinking,” Zimmann said. “All I see is sound bites coming from my opponent; we don’t need sound bites, we need solutions.”

The Democrat also is disappointed that Latta has not agreed to debate her on the issues, with the Republican incumbent failing to show up for the only debate scheduled earlier in the campaign.

“The people of District 5 deserve to hear the two of us present our stances on the issues,” Zimmann noted, and added that Latta’s failure to do so “is not the American way.”

POSTED: 08/31/12 at 7:56 am. FILED UNDER: News