Crossland, Donenwirth contending to unseat Renacci in 16th Congressional District

By Kyle McDonald | Staff Writer Published:

Ohio's 16th Congressional District in the House of Representatives has two Democrats -- James Donenwirth and Pete Crossland -- contending to take on Republican incumbent Jim Renacci in November, and will appear on the Tuesday's primary ballot.

The district encompasses western suburbs of Cuyahoga County, portions of Medina, Stark and Wayne counties and the southern part of Portage County.

Crossland, 76, a retired Kent State University political science professor, spent 20 years on Summit County Council and 10 years in the Ohio House of Representatives. He said he is running to unseat Renacci because Renacci "has proven himself to be a Tea Party extremist" through votes to close the government voting to not extend the debt limit.

"I'm what you'd call a practical Democrat ... You can go on a holy crusade and stake yourself out on a lot of positions that are not going to go anywhere, or you can go there with the idea that you're going to roll up your sleeves and make things work, and that's what I think is lacking in the Congress right now," Crossland said.

Crossland said he'd be in favor of raising the minimum wage to help middle class workers.

On fracking, Crossland said the practice makes him nervous as its been linked to earthquakes and has the potential for environmental hazards, but it can be safe if it's properly managed.

"It itself is a great boon to the economy and helps our energy supply, so I'm not against fracking, but I'm saying better frack carefully and make sure we have the technology to do that and make sure we don't cause environmental damage," he said.

When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, Crossland said it's not perfect and issues should be addressed one by one, rather than attempting to repeal the act entirely.

"The House has voted 50-some times now to repeal Obamacare altogether, and that's just right-wing theater instead of addressing problems. There are certainly a lot of imperfections with Obamacare, but there are also many benefits," he said. "There are practical problems that have to be addressed one by one with a lot of information and analysis and compromise."

Crossland said he's also worried about the future of the country after the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision that opened the floodgates on campaign funding.

Donenwirth was unavailable for comment.

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