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Halleck looking to win Republican nomination for Congress

When Mike Halleck came to Ironton Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District, it was like a homecoming.

Thursday, March 07, 2002

When Mike Halleck came to Ironton Wednesday to announce his candidacy for the 6th Congressional District, it was like a homecoming.

Halleck, 49, of Salem, grew up just across the river in Westwood, Ky.

"One of my first jobs was at Gablers Department Store (in Ironton)," he said. "I still have a lot of friends and family here, so it’s great to be home."

The Republican hopeful has been making his rounds in the over 300-mile long district, even though he waited until the 11th hour to file for the seat. Halleck said he had planned on running again for county commissioner in his home county of Columbiana. When the state’s remapping of the congressional districts came out, however, he set his sights a little higher.

He will face former Rep. Lyle Williams of Warren in the GOP primary. The winner of that race will face one of three Democrats, incumbent Ted Strickland of Lucasville, Lou D’Apolito of Boardman or Charles Brown of Belmont County, in November’s General Election.

The journey north for Halleck, a former Columbiana County commissioner, began when he was working in the retail business. He was manager of Gablers when Abraham’s Bros. bought the store in the mid 1970s and went to work for that company as vice president and general manager of operations. With that promotion came relocation to the Canton area.

His political career began in 1987 when he was elected a trustee of Perry Township in Columbiana County, a position he held until 1994 when he became commissioner. He held that post until 1999.

Halleck’s agenda is quite simple, he says, because it centers around two issues – jobs and working with President Bush and Gov. Taft to make sure the 6th District is taken care of.

"You can only help people so much, but you help them the most by giving them a job," he said. "The greatest welfare check you can give someone is a job."

Halleck said he wants to help the coal miners, calling coal "a great source of energy" that needs to be preserved. He added he supports the tariffs on imported steel announced Tuesday by President Bush – ranging from 8 to 30 percent – even though he was hoping for a 40-percent tariff. He also added that drilling for oil in the United States is necessary to cut down on the nation’s reliability on foreign-produced products.

"When you compromise the coal, oil and steel industries, you compromise security," he said. "We have natural resources here, and we have to use them."

On other issues, Halleck said that he does not mind free trade "as long as it is fair trade" and that he has always been pro-gun.

"They’ve always said ‘there are a lot of roads to Rome,’ but I think I have the ideas that will get us there the quickest," he said. "I’m in this to win."

Halleck and his wife, Chris, have one daughter, Mariah, 9.