GREENVILLE – The Darke County Chamber of Commerce held their annual State of the Nation event on Wednesday, where guests were treated to a rousing address from U.S. House Speaker and Congressman John Boehner.
More than 200 guests filled Romer’s Catering on Wednesday morning to hear the Boehner’s remarks, signifying a deep interest for local business and community leaders.
With a contested primary election less than two weeks away, Boehner faces an unusually crowded primary field with three Republicans opposing him in the 8th District, which he first won in 1990.
But in his remarks, Boehner noted that making the rounds of his western Ohio district can often be much more desirable than being in D.C.
“It’s going to be a lot more fun getting around my district, and a lot more fun than any day in Washington,” he said.
During his remarks, Speaker Boehner addressed the national economic environment, the war on drugs, and the country’s historic role as a global leader.
“Leaders around the world want America to lead,” said Boehner. “They’re desperate for America to lead, and they don’t believe America is leading.
Boehner also made special mention of the United States National Health Care Act, known as Obamacare, which he described as economically crippling, especially for small businesses.
“A lot of small business owners are going to look up and say, ‘I just can’t do this anymore,” he said. “And the uncertainty of Obamacare is causing a lot of employers to sit on their hands.”
He then pointed to its effects on the overall economy’s sluggishness, stagnant wages, and middle class families being “squeezed.”
To address many of the nation’s problems, Boehner indicated his desires to address a convoluted tax system, reform Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to inhibit nuisance lawsuits, to prevent unnecessary regulations at the federal, local and state levels, and finally to improve our education system and apply it to a wider audience.
As his prepared remarks concluded, Speaker Boehner was asked by attendees about the status of the United States Highway Trust Fund, which is perceived as dwindling rapidly, the prospect of raising minimum wage, which Boehner openly denounced as bad policy, and to provide insight on the national college debt crisis.
The chamber hosted 24 Civics and Government Affairs high school students as part of April’s National County Government Month (NCGM). One student even had a chance to ask questions about the national heroin epidemic, to which Boehner discussed the majority of supply coming from foreign countries, and the effort to strengthen border control.
“I thought it was great, I enjoyed it a lot and was looking forward to hearing him speak,” said Greenville Junior High Schooler Matt Oiler. “I thought he addressed everything that he needed to. When I asked my question I heard what I wanted to hear.”
The Darke County Chamber has hosted the State of the Nation event for more than 70 years, where it has enjoyed a beneficial relationship hosting many prominent business people and political leaders.