Congressman Warren Davidson speaks in Preble County


EATON — On Friday, May 5, U.S. Congressman Warren Davidson visited the Preble County Council on Aging Senior Center to speak at the PC Chamber of Commerce’s Legislative Breakfast event.

PC Chamber members, Preble County Commissioners, are school superintendents, local politicians, business owners and members of the public were in attendance.

The Chamber of Commerce and Preble County Council on Aging (PCCOA) hosted a breakfast for those attending, after which Davidson spoke briefly about the state of the nation and held a questions-and-answers segment with attendees.

Preble County Development Partnership Director of Economic Development Justin Sommer began by welcoming those in attendance before opening the floor to Davidson, and also spoke briefly on the state of economic development in the county.

“As many of you know, the Development Partnership is a public-private non-profit economic development organization that serves all of Preble County. I answer to a board of directors made up of private sector folks and public sector folks, and we kind of set the mission for economic activity in the county,” Sommer said.

“We are at over 13,000 employed in the county, which is the largest number it’s been in 15 years. And wages are up by 40 percent over the last 5 years, so that normal wage is pushing $50,000 a year now. I think that means the activity we’ve been engaged in over the last 10 years at the Development Partnership is working, and we are doing good things in the county.”

Sommer added there are “headwinds” to the future of economic growth for Preble, naming specifically a lack of available building sites and existing employers expanding their businesses.

“Even if we had those available sites, it is difficult for business employers to pull the trigger on those construction projects. As interest rates continue to climb and the construction costs continue to escalate, and have escalated over previous years, it is difficult for businesses to put buildings on those sites. Even if you were able to build the buildings, it is difficult to fill them with people,” said Sommer.

Despite the aforementioned issues, Sommer expressed his belief Preble County economics will steadily improve and find new levels of success in the far and near future with the right amount of support from the community. “Solutions to those challenges we face will come from both the local level and the federal level. So, we need the support of everybody in this room and our federal partners,” he said.

Sommer praised Davidson for his willingness to connect with those attending to answer their questions on how his office and colleagues in Washington are addressing both economic and political issues abroad.

Davidson began by thanking the Council on Aging for hosting both breakfast and the event. “I always get good food when I come to Preble County,” he remarked. “I think a lot of people don’t realize what a treasure we have in our communities with these councils on aging, but this one in particular is such a core part of the community, so thank you.”

Davidson reflected briefly on his time in Congress, noting his 7 years of service in said office.

“If fiction writers came up with all the things that have gone on in the past 7 years, the plots would have been rejected. It’s a little too crazy. But what’s going to happen in the future? I don’t know, but I’ll give you my take on it,” Davidson said.

“The main thing in the news right now is the deficit fight, and the country has a lot of debt. People always say, ‘I wish there was more bipartisanship in Congress,’ but that reflects the bipartisanship. So, be careful what you wish for because the most bipartisan thing for a long time has been spending the money we have.

“We didn’t get here because one party is great on this issue and the other isn’t, but right now one party is hot on just raising the debt ceiling and continuing on with the status quo, and Republicans have come up with this radical position that math is real, and we can’t continue on the path we’re on. We have to correct course, that’s why Congress, years ago, put a debt limit in place. So that instead of taking credit on it, we would say, ‘oh wow, we should not go deeper into debt.’”

Davidson noted the last time America was so immersed in debt was after the second World War, in the wake of mass war machine manufacturing and a lingering depression.

“We had a 125 percent debt to GP ratio in World War 2, and everyone knew we had to pay down our debt. The war had really stretched us to the max, and we couldn’t continue at war-time spending. We had to turn course,” Davidson said. “Right now, there is no real resolve to do that in an aggressive way.”

Davidson expressed his opinion his colleagues are not showing a commitment to “cutting” unnecessary expenditures from the budget and have furthermore locked-up bills which would help alleviate national debt in seemingly endless rounds of litigation on behalf of political party loyalties.

He added, the “wars and rumors of wars” should be concerning to Americans who may not realize the impact such global events have on domestic budgeting.

“When you look at inflation, which everybody is getting hit with, we started spending more money due to Covid and closing the economy so there would be inflation. The experts said there wouldn’t be inflation. We said, ‘we need to create this sound money caucus, because there’s going to be inflation.’ They said, ‘okay there’s going to be inflation, but it won’t hit consumers’ — no, it was going to hit consumers. Then they said, ‘it’s going to be transitory,’ well — it was not transitory.”

Those attending asked a variety of questions, such as Davidson’s opinion on smaller banks being absorbed by larger corporations and if locals should be concerned, his opinion on President Joe Biden’s cabinet nominations, expenditures which could be cut from budgets, and “breaking the senate” to allow bills to pass between the branches of government.

In closing, Davidson thanked the PCCOA and the PC Chamber of Commerce for hosting the event.

Reach Nathan Hoskins at 937-683-4057.

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