But, after being handed a decisive 59 percent to 41 percent loss, McClelland, a
Now, McClelland, 41, says voters know her well enough that she can focus on sharing her solutions to the problems she insists still plague the wide-ranging district that includes
"This cycle has really been about the people of this district and how much so many of them are struggling," McClelland told The
Jobs are a chief concern, she said, but so is having a congressman who is disconnected from the district and simply uses his position in
"What you have now is someone who barely sets foot in the district," McClelland said.
McClelland called Rothfus, who is running for a third term, an "absentee" lawmaker who has not held a single town hall meeting. Rothfus has previously hosted local events deemed "Coffee with Keith" at shops across the district.
Rothfus' detached attitude was exemplified in his dealings with locked out ATI workers, McClelland said, when he thought they were on strike and then showed them little sympathy.
McClelland promised to be "very aggressive on trade policies," protect domestic manufacturing and oppose the
An addiction and behavioral health expert, McClelland said the opioid crisis facing the nation and
Avenues to address the spectrum of issues involved in the epidemic -- ranging from additional inpatient treatment programs to research into genetic precursors -- have been ignored and "grossly underfunded" by the federal government, McClelland said.
When it comes to the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, McClelland said there are several areas she would like to address, such as the "
Saying she ultimately wants universal healthcare, McClelland scoffed at Rothfus' many votes to repeal the healthcare reform law. "They do it to rabble rouse their base," she said of
On the Second Amendment, McClelland said she would need to look at gun-control legislation and its intended effectiveness while balancing it against gun owners' rights. "I'm certainly open to a discussion that makes sure that if we identify a terrorist we don't sell them a gun," she said.
McClelland zeroed in on Rothfus' vote against a continuing resolution last week to keep the government running into December, a bill that included funding to combat the Zika virus and opioid epidemic, and provide relief for flooding victims in
"The first time he did these things I was appalled," McClelland said, referring to Rothfus' votes against Hurricane Sandy relief and the Violence Against Women Act reauthorization in 2013. "It was stunning that he did it again."
Those votes by Rothfus, however, reflect "the only mentality that he brings; repeal it, defund it, shut it down," McClelland said.
"We need innovative people with ideas and solutions and a real passion for this country and moving it forward, and not shutting it down," she said.
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