The Van Wert County Courthouse

Monday, Aug. 8, 2022

Latta works with those seeking fed help

DAVE MOSIER/independent editor

U.S. Representative Bob Latta learned constituent service from a master: his father, retired Congressman Delbert Latta. It’s also probably an understatement to say the current Fifth District congressman learned the lesson well.

U.S. Representative Bob Latta talks to a local constituent during an earlier Courthouse Conference in Van Wert. (VW independent file photo)
U.S. Representative Bob Latta talks to a local constituent during an earlier session in Van Wert. (VW independent file photo)

Latta, who was in Van Wert on Wednesday for one-on-one sessions with constituents, talked about the importance of meeting face to face with Fifth District residents.

“I’ve found that people want to talk face to face,” Latta noted. “Some people don’t like to write, some people don’t like to call, (and) some people don’t have computers.”

The U.S. representative said he feels constituent work is crucial to his job as a congressman.

“It’s really the most important part because you’re the person between them and the total federal bureaucracy,” Latta added.

The representative keeps a close watch on the constituent work in his district, personally signing constituent letters during weekend sessions in the office, while also receiving monthly status updates on pending cases.

While constituent concerns run the gamut from excessive regulation to concerns about how the country is being run, Latta said two issues arise more frequently than any other during constituent sessions: Veterans Administration and Social Security problems.

Latta noted that, at any given time, his office has more than 100 open cases just dealing with either VA or Social Security issues.

Furthermore, while the number of cases on each of those subject areas can vary, Latta said that VA issues have been cropping up more frequently the past few years.

Noting that VA appeals can take up to 10 years to resolve, Latta said one older veteran’s comment pretty much summed up the problem Vietnam and other veterans face.

“He said ‘By the time (resolving his claim) happens, I could be dead!’” the congressman commented.

Latta also talked about legislative issues, noting that one of the most important pieces of legislation on the congressional docket currently is a bill to revamp and simplify the tax code. The legislation would also change, in some respects, how the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) works.

The congressman said the bill, currently in the Ways and Means Committee, is: “One of the most important issues I’ve heard for years.”

In addition to those constituents with issues that need to be resolved, other people just want to talk about their concerns with how the country is being run.

Latta said he feels his constituents often have a pretty good handle on how the federal government operates — and they want some to see some changes.

“Some folks in Washington think that people back home aren’t paying attention,” he said. “I can guarantee they’re paying attention.”

POSTED: 06/30/16 at 7:57 am. FILED UNDER: News