PDT Staff Writer
Flanked by Santa Claus, Mrs. Claus, and Frosty the Snowman, Rep. Jean Schmidt, R-Miami Township (2nd District in Ohio) welcomed area residents to her annual holiday open house Monday evening at the Ramada Inn in Portsmouth.
The festive event was attended by Republican Party faithful and government officials.
In an exclusive interview with the Portsmouth Daily Times Schmidt said she did not vote for last week’s house bill to bail out the auto industry.
“It’s in the president’s hands at the moment. On the house side a bill was passed last week,” Schmidt said. “I didn’t vote for the bill. It passed anyway, but the senate rejected the House’s bill, and in fact, in the Senate it was a disagreement on some of the changes they wanted to make to the bill.”
Schmidt said she thinks the auto industry has to reorganize before monies are made available to them.
“They need to make themselves 21st-century oriented,” Schmidt said. “They have to show that they can be profitable. To just give money without any change in the way they do business I don’t think is good for the industry or good for the country.”
Schmidt said she wants to help the auto industry, but said the industry needs to show they want to help themselves.
Schmidt was asked if she thinks President Bush will use TARP (Troubled Assets Relief Program) money to finance the auto industry.
“That’s really in the president’s hands. I know that when we voted for that bill — and that was the bill that I did vote for — the TARP money in my mind was never meant to go in an area like this,” Schmidt said. “ So I would not be comfortable with the president spending the money on the auto industry.”
Schmidt said the rejection of the auto industry by Washington has come down to one issue.
“The bottom line is the auto industry didn’t really come with a plan, that Congress felt comfortable with,” she said. “And you saw that in the House a majority did pass the bill that went to the Senate but the Senate rejected that plan.”
Schmidt talked about what she called “a difficult time” that Americans are going through in today’s economy.
“I know the American spirit. And I know that we’re the kind of country that when times get tough — we get tougher,” Schmidt said. “And I really believe that we’re going to pull out of this faster than most people think — because I know exactly what the people in Portsmouth; the folks in West Union; the folks in Mount Oreb; the folks in Batavia; the folks in Cincinnati; the folks in Lebanon; the folks up in Waverly — I know what they’re doing right now. They are pooling their resources together. If they’ve got a small business, they’re trying to think of ways to make it more profitable, maybe scaling back a little bit — maybe being adventuresome in going out a little bit more.”
Schmidt said she has confidence in the people in Ohio’s 2nd District.
“I know what folks are doing,” Schmidt said. “They’re trying to find ways to make this a better country. We always have and I believe we always will.”
FRANK LEWIS can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232.