Freshman U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson faces a familiar challenger in 2012 as former Democrat representative Charles Wilson wants to return to Washington representing Ohio's 6th District.
- Johnson, 57, is completing his first two-year term in the U.S. House. He served 26 years in U.S. Air Force before retiring with the rank of lieutenant colonel in 1999.
"We must focus on jobs and how to improve our economy," Johnson said.
"Some progress has been made, but many challenges remain as we work to get this economy rolling again and put people back to work. I've fought to give business owners the tools they need to create jobs. In fact, I've voted for 40 jobs bills that the Democrat Senate has failed to act upon. The Senate's inaction on this critical issue is inexcusable."
He believes the nation should focus on energy production.
"In my view, making America energy independent is the key to boosting our economy, creating jobs and rekindling the kind of American exceptionalism that has made our economy the envy of the world. Energy prices are simply too high right now," he said. "America can and should be energy independent. ... But the federal government must get out of the way of the responsible development of our resources. And our government must stop picking winners and losers.
"In fact, here in Ohio we are on the precipice of a great energy boom, if the government stays out of the way," he said. "The natural gas industry is poised to bring direct and indirect jobs to Ohio. This boom will bring with it improved infrastructure as well as education and job training for our workforce"
- Wilson, 69, of St. Clairsville served two terms in the House before being defeated by Johnson in 2010. He was elected to the House in 2006 while serving in his first term in the Ohio Senate. He also served four terms in the Ohio House.
He operates both Wilson Funeral Home and Wilson Furniture in Bridgeport. Wilson is clear on what he believes is the most important issue facing the nation,
"It's jobs, and jobs all the way around," he said. "I think if they would have worked together in Washington, they could pass the Jobs Bill. It puts $450 billion into this economy."
He believes his experience and relationships in Washington could make a difference in getting legislation passed.
"The Stop the War on Coal bill that Bill Johnson did ... I would have gone to the Senate and asked what I could do in that bill to get them to approve it," Wilson said. "I probably would have gone to (U.S. senator from Ohio) Sherrod Brown to help us pass this bill.
And Wilson said the nation's future does look promising.
"This is America, and it is unique," he commented. "It has been tested before, and it will be tested again. We'll rise to the occasion. We'll do what has to be done."