CLEVELAND - Betty Sutton currently serves in the U.S. House of Representatives representing Ohio's 13th district. But, last year the congressional districts were redrawn and two seats were eliminated. It leaves two incumbents now battling for one seat in the 16th Congressional district: Sutton, a Democrat, is up against Republican Jim Renacci.
Sutton is a labor attorney and former state lawmaker. She graduated from Kent State University and earned a law degree from the University of Akron. Sutton first won election to the U.S. House of Representatives in 2006, when a Congressional seat was vacated by now U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Sutton was born and raised in Barberton and is the youngest of six children. Her mother worked at the local library, her father was a boilermaker. Sutton said she's never forgotten her blue collar roots.
"Here I am, just a generation later, this daughter, this proud daughter of a boilermaker in the House of Representatives with a chance to fight for families just like mine."
The three-term Democrat said jobs and the economy are her focus. That's why in 2009, Sutton authored the Consumer Assistance to Recycle and Save, CARS, also known as the Cash for Clunkers program.
"We saw locally people go back to work and not only at the auto plants," said Sutton.
The one thing that Sutton and Renacci can agree on is that they are polar opposites. Sutton said she's a champion of the middle class.
"(Renacci) has continued to protect tax cuts of those at the very top of the spectrum, while putting more of a burden on the middle class," Sutton claimed.
She also talked about how proud she is of her work with veterans and the military, as her father was a WWII veteran.
During her time in Congress, Sutton has joined her colleagues to strengthen quality health care for millions of veterans through an increase in veterans' health care and other services. Sutton co-sponsored and voted for a bill which restores full, four-year college scholarships for Iraq and Afghanistan veterans—on par with the educational benefits available after WWII, among others.
"We have a saying, that if you're not at the table then you are on the menu and I need to be at the table so the middle class is not on the menu," said Sutton.