A pediatrician from Howland is the next Republican to attempt to unseat Democrat Timothy J. Ryan, who has never really been challenged for the U.S. House of Representative's seat he won in 2002.
GOP candidate Marisha Agana says she lives the frustrations of a small business owner; thinks changing the U.S. tax code will be the spark that's needed to improve the economy; the Affordable Care Act, aka ''Obamacare,'' needs to be repealed; and the development of natural gas in the area is a ''wonderful, potential success story.''
''I bring common sense ... being a citizen legislator, a true representative of the people,'' Agana said. ''I'm one of you guys, I'm immersed in the community.''
Ryan, who has had a tight grip on the district he won a decade ago, said he would continue to encourage natural gas and oil drilling and for federal tax incentives for companies, school districts and other transit providers to retrofit their vehicles for natural gas.
Those kinds of incentives are needed ''to really get this thing off the ground,'' Ryan said.
In addition, Ryan said he would continue to push for righting unfair Chinese trade practices, which includes a bill to crack down on Chinese currency manipulation. The bill is being stalled in the House Republican leadership, Ryan said.
The two are running in the newly drawn 13th U.S. Congressional District, which includes portions of Trumbull, Mahoning, Portage and Summit counties.
Agana said her background in economics and public health - she has a bachelor's degree in economics and a master's degree in public health - "lends a broader spectrum advantage with regards to knowledge of health issues in the country.''
She said Obamacare needs repealed and replaced with patient focused policy. She said she tried to read it, but "it's almost choking me because of the legalese and the fact that it alludes to already existing health and human service policies that I have to have another book for."
Agana said she's a "big proponent" of changing the tax structure in the U.S. and likes flat corporate and personal income tax rates.
The development of natural gas resources in the district is a "wonderful, potential success story," but there needs to be safeguards to protect human health and environmental risk, she said.
Agana said she would like to work with the automobile industry to make U.S.-made cars more market competitive.
"I don't have all the answers. I'm hoping I can rally the technical, economic, legal services of people in the community to help me with this.''
Agana, who has worked as a pediatrician in the Valley since 2000 and as a sole practitioner since 2003, said if she wins she intends to get a partner.
"I want to keep my practice," she said. "I love what I do."
Ryan said he will keep promoting the safe and responsible development of oil and natural gas drilling despite some pushback from people not wanting to see it prosper.
"I don't know how much longer they will be able to prevent it from happening because of the political weight on the other side,'' Ryan said.
Part of his natural gas agenda is to continue to encourage federal tax incentives for companies, school districts and other transportation providers to retrofit their vehicles with natural-gas-burning engines and pumps to natural gas.
A bill that would have offered those incentives was ready for a vote, but pressure forced Republican co-sponsors to drop off.
"I'm confident that this is safe. We have to monitor it, keep an eye on it, no one has an interest in poisoning anybody, but there is a huge opportunity if done properly," Ryan said.
Ryan said he would continue to work against unfair Chinese trade practices, which hurts U.S. business, including a bill to crack down of Chinese currency manipulation. The Senate passed a version and Democrats in the House passed a version in 2010, but Republican leadership now, Ryan said, is not bringing it to the floor.
Ryan said one of the biggest developments he helped influence was the $70 million National Additive Manufacturing Innovation Institute to be located in Youngstown.
It started with the creation of the Tech Belt, an idea of his in 2007 to make the areas between Cleveland and Pittsburgh a leader in technology.
Ryan also said he stands a good chance of being placed back on the powerful House Appropriations committee during the next Congress.