Monday, June 21, 2004

Locals make appearances at Capitol


Inside Washington

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WASHINGTON - Last Tuesday was Tristate day at the Capitol.

In the morning, Rhonda Ramsey-Molina, president of the Coalition for a Drug Free Greater Cincinnati, told her story to a Senate subcommittee.

Later that afternoon, a House subcommittee heard from Robert D. Sommers, chief executive of Butler County Technology and Career Development Schools.

To get invited to testify, it helps to have senior members of Congress in your delegation. Ohio Sen. Mike DeWine, who chairs the Senate subcommittee that oversees drug abuse and mental health issues, invited Ramsey-Molina. Rep. John Boehner, who chairs the House education committee, called Sommers.

Ramsey-Molina gave the committee background on her group and told them their approach was working.

"With such strong coalitions working to convene the community to work collaboratively, Southwest Ohio boasts adolescent (drug) use rates that are significantly lower than state and national averages, which are also declining," she said.

Sommers gave Boehner and the committee tips on rewriting the law that governs vocational education - including getting rid of the word "vocational."

"The word 'vocational' refers to specialized skill training related to a trade. Although career-technical education does provide such training, it does much more," he said.

Meetin' Keaton: One perk of being a congressman is getting to meet celebrities. Rep. Mike Turner, who represents northern Warren County, got to meet - and introduce - actress Diane Keaton on Tuesday.

Turner, a Dayton Republican, had a news conference to announce he and a Democrat had started a Historic Preservation Caucus in the House.

To attract other members, and the media, the 81-member caucus invited Keaton, in town to receive an award for her work on historic preservation. Keaton wore her trademark black hat pulled down over her forehead.

Turner said he was a big fan and even brought his two daughters to the news conference.

And yes, he got her autograph.

But Turner said he had met plenty of celebrities in his eight years as Dayton mayor.

"Dayton is like the Midwest Hollywood," he said. Or maybe Hollywood is the Dayton of the West.

Can we be Frank?: Dan Mongiardo's financial disclosure form, filed at the U.S. Senate, contains a shocking revelation: His name is really Frank.

His whole campaign is based on Dan as his first name. He goes by the alliterative "Dr. Dan." His Web site is www.drdan2004.com. His slogan is basically "Dan."

Mongiardo spokesman Eric Niloff explained that Frank Dan Mongiardo was named after his grandfather, Frank. But his mom always called him Dan.

"Daniel always says that he goes by what his mother calls him," Niloff said.

The form, required of candidates, showed the Hazard physician earned only about $37,000 as his doctor's salary last year, though his stock portfolio is worth at least $635,000.

An oversight: Sen. Mike DeWine also was in Washington when Ronald Reagan was president. In fact, he was in the U.S. House from 1983 to 1991. Last week's column missed him in listing Tristate pols in the Capitol during the Reagan years.

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E-mail cweiser@gannett.com or call (202) 906-8134.




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