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U.S. Reps. Marcia Fudge and Dave Joyce Make Bids at Reelection this Fall

The 11th Congressional District connects the east side of the Cleveland area with the west side of Akron.

Democratic Congresswoman Marcia Fudge has represented it since 2008. Fudge is just finishing up a two-year term as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus.

"We believe we speak for those who no one else speaks for," Fudge said. "We speak for the poor, for minorities, for the sick. So we had had huge impact on Affordable Care Act, on education funding and spending, on Pell grants."

When Republicans pushed for nearly $40 billion in cuts to food stamps over 10 years, Fudge helped negotiate that number down to around $9 billion in cuts.

And as with many other Democrats in the House, she blamed Republicans for congressional inaction, and echoed the president in saying she’d fight for more domestic investment.

"Every other industrialized nation in the world is doubling down on education, on infrastructure, and we’re not doing it," she said. "And there will come a time in the near future we won’t be the leading country in the world if we don’t start to do the things that made us great."

Still, she says much of the agenda she would push for -- such as raising the minimum wage -- won’t go very far if Democrats lose control of the Senate, which is up for grabs this November.

Republican candidate Mark Zetzer is a libertarian who wants a flat rate income tax, private ownership of waterways and an end to the Affordable Care Act.

“I am a punk rock candidate, because I am a DIY candidate...I’m a one-man show," Zetzer said, adding that he has raised little money for the race. "I’m well under the FEC’s reporting radar, which is fine with me. I don't want to have to file with the FEC...But I think it’s important to run. It’s a democracy, people need choices.”

He said he knows he’s in a highly Democratic district and doesn’t have much of a chance of winning, but he said at least wants to offer an alternative.

In the 14th Congressional District, covering Geauga and Ashtabula Counties, Republican Congressman Dave Joyce is in his first fight for reelection. He defeated a Tea Party primary challenger in May.

And like many Republicans, Joyce said he opposes Obamacare – although there are parts he's OK with.

"The fact that you can keep your kids on your healthcare until they’re 26, that’s a good part of the law, I don’t have an issue with that," Joyce said. "The idea that people with preexisting conditions – they shouldn’t get thrown off their healthcare because they have an issue. They should be taken care of. I get that.”

Asked about the immigration reform in a debate at the City Club of Cleveland, Joyce said he wanted more funding for border guards.

"The first thing we need to do, obviously, is secure our border. There's no two ways around it," he said. "And that's something where we need to...allow those states, if they need to employ the National Guard to protect them, then so be it. And we need to fund them appropriately."

Joyce's chief opponent is Michael Wager, a Democrat who promises to be a vote for immigration reform, which the GOP-controlled house shelved after its passage in the Senate.

"It’s time to stop pretending. We have over 11 million people, perhaps more, living in the shadows of our economy," Wager said. "Many of them have had children or raised families here, want to have a more normalized life on a path to citizenship."

Wager said he supports lowering the corporate tax rate as part of a reform of the entire code.

"Our corporate taxation rate…is too high," he said. "I’ve been an advocate now for quite a while of reducing it to 10 percent. But at the same time, engage in the kind of tax reform that eliminates this long list of preferences that apply only to large enterprise and wealthy Americans."

Also keeping things lively in the race for the 14th District is Libertarian David Macko, who’s made several attempts at the seat.

Nick Castele was a senior reporter covering politics and government for Ideastream Public Media. He worked as a reporter for Ideastream from 2012-2022.