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Candidates For Ohio's 12th District Debate Pandemic Response, Health Care

Alaina Shearer, the Democratic nominee for Ohio's 12th Congressional district.
Nick Evans
Alaina Shearer, the Democratic nominee for Ohio's 12th Congressional district.

Candidates for Ohio’s 12th Congressional Districtmet Friday in a forum hosted by the Columbus Metropolitan Club. Democratic challenger Alaina Shearer and Libertarian nominee John Stewart joined incumbent Republican Rep. Troy Balderson for a debate in the waning days of the election. 

COVID-19 dominated the discussion, and while Balderson defended the federal government's response, he says stopping the spread is ultimately up to states and individuals.

“It is individual responsibility," Balderson said. "It is what I practice, it is what I push for, I want the state to control. Gov. DeWine has done a fantastic job, he has had to make some really tough decisions.”

Shearer said a national mask mandate would be a good idea even if it's almost impossible to enforce, while Stewart baselessly voiced doubts about the effectiveness of masks.

"I think the citizens should not be treated like subjects, they should be treated like citizens," Stewart said. "And I think they are responsible, especially if they feel they are getting the truth, and the whole truth."

Shearer also argued that popular health care provisions, like coverage for pre-existing conditions and keeping children on their parents plan until age 26, are in doubt if Balderson remains in office.

“All of those things are at risk because my opponent and Donald Trump want to tear apart the Affordable Care Act, and their plan is there is no plan," Shearer said. "There is no replacement plan”

Nick Evans was a reporter at WOSU's 89.7 NPR News. He spent four years in Tallahassee, Florida covering state government before joining the team at WOSU.