Accountability a focus of Senate candidate's campaign
Written by: Loren Genson
CHILLICOTHE -- Eric LaMont Gregory hopes he can be the candidate to take down fundraising powerhouse Josh Mandel in the Republican primaryfor U.S. Senate.
Gregory announced he would run for office in February 2011 during a visit to Chillicothe. During a return visit Wednesday,he saidhe was disappointed with whathe sees as a lack of accountability in Congress.
While in Great Britain in 2004,for example,he recalled reading in the British press that DHL in Ohio was planning to relocate jobs overseas. Stateside, however, the Ohio congressional delegation was telling people the state was working to prevent that from happening,Gregory said. He also said that the British press was reporting on the impending housing collapse years before it happenedhere.
"I thought, we have Congressmen, Senators sitting in the same meetings the British press is covering, and I see nothing about it in the United States,"Gregory said. "Why didn't (Sens. George) Voinovich or (Sherrod) Brown come out and tell us these things?"
Part of the problem,Gregory said, is the way major campaigns are financed, with elected officials beholden to special interests. Gregory's primary opponent, Josh Mandel, already has raised $3.8 millionfor his campaign to become the party's nominee to face Democratic incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown in the November election. Mandel has served as Ohio treasurer for the past year and has faced criticism about his absenteeism from certain job functions while maintaining a steady focus on his Senate campaign.
Gregory said althoughhe lacks the capital might, his experience working internationally to solve problems should set him apart. He saidhe would be vigilant and responsive when it comes to foreign policy and saidhe thinks declarations of war should be made formally by the president with the consent of Congress with a game plan in place before troops are deployed.
"Without a game plan, and without objectives, we don't know when to stop fighting,"Gregory said.
He has experience in the medical field and working internationally. He earned his Master's Degree from Oxford University in 1988 and served as a lead researcher for the World Health Organization's global effort to reduce neonatal death rates in developing countries.
He continued his work with Oxford University until 2006, whenhe decided to return to his hometown of Middletown and seek a seat in the U.S. Senate.
In addition to his work in the medical field while at Oxford, Gregory has experience with post-war and post-disaster reconstruction initiatives. He worked to combat the Rwandan genocide crisis and was involved in the delivery of humanitarian assistance during the Bosnia war. He also was a part of a 2002 mission to Afghanistan in the early days of the conflict while working with the political section of the American Embassy in London.
"I think part of the role of a U.S. Senator is to be a representative of the United States overseas,"he said.
Gregory also promised he would be responsive to his constituents on both foreign and domestic issues.
"(Senators and Congressmen) should be accountable to their constituents,"he said.
US Senate candidate Gregory listening to local people's concerns at the 2011 Ross County fair.