An email from students led to a face-to-face discussion with U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs on Oct. 16 at Wellington High School.
Gibbs (R-Lakeville) was elected in 2010 to the U.S. House of Representatives for Ohio’s District 7. He is attempting to hold off a challenge from Ken Harbaugh (D-Avon), who stopped at WHS Oct. 1.
Government teacher Kerry Trefz said students asked permission to request a talk with Gibbs following Harbaugh’s visit, hoping to give their peers a view from both sides of a hotly contested race.
“A lot of my Republican students wanted to hear from Bob Gibbs, especially one student in particular, Michael Kidd,” she said. “I suggested an email. Michael asked, ‘Can I do that?’ I said, ‘Of course. He’s your representative, so go ahead and see what happens.’ Michael got a committee of students together to draw up the email so it sounded perfect. We received a response within days. The kids led everything from decorating to research and inviting reporters.”
Juniors Adam Tummel and Gabe Gayhart shared their thoughts on the talk with Gibbs, which touched on subjects like immigration, trade, abortion rights, opioid epidemic response, and the congressman’s experiences meeting with President Donald Trump.
“I like how he talked about trade and workforce development,” said Gayhart. “A lot of things in America tie back to those two things. I agreed with his pro-life statements and a lot of his views. It felt like we talked about a lot of things today that have to do with real issues affecting the country.”
“In AP government, we’ll definitely talk about this and do some papers about it,” Tummel said. “Overall, it was really interesting to have (Gibbs) come in here.”
Gibbs’ adamant pro-life views drew opposing reactions from two other juniors.
“He seems to have good reasons for his beliefs,” said Courtney Kroll. “He seems like an all-around great guy for Congress whether it’s his politics or him as a person. Even if a pregnancy is a rape situation, you can still give birth to the child and put them up for adoption. That child can still have a great life and build a good path for themselves.”
“I agree with trying to get rid of the huge national debt, which (Gibbs) is on board with,” said Nick Mascari. “I don’t really agree with lowering taxes. I think they need raised a little bit while decreasing government spending. I’m also pro-choice because of the ways a pregnancy can affect the lives of the parent in a negative way. Someone’s situation can change quickly when it comes to a job and other things that can take away the ability to care for a baby.”
When asked by students about personal interactions with the 45th president, Gibbs remembered a limousine ride from Cleveland Hopkins Airport with Trump, U.S. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, and Ohio District 16 Rep. Jim Renacci.
“It was a lively conversation,” Gibbs said. “I sincerely believe President Trump is trying to make life better for every American in this country. I know a lot of people don’t believe that. One of the reasons I believe that is because he didn’t have to do this. We can argue about how many billions he’s worth but no matter what it’s enough money where he didn’t have to do this. It’s hard to comprehend the threats and all of the negative things he and his family are experiencing.”
Jonathan Delozier can be reached at 440-775-1611 or @DelozierNews on Twitter.