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District 14 Rep. David Joyce spoke before an audience of about 160 members of the Aurora, Twinsburg and Solon chambers of commerce Aug. 31 at the Bertram Inn in Aurora.
During his presentation, which included a brief speech followed by a question and answer segment, Joyce said he's in favor of the missile defense system proposed for Camp Ravenna.
"I think it's a good thing for northeast Ohio, and I think it's a good thing for our country," he said. "Whether we want to admit it or not, we're at war on four different continents. War is what we've seen at the Boston Marathon, at theaters and other placses."
The project has been estimated at $3.16 billion and could support 2,300 jobs during construction and employ up to 850 full-time people once the system is operational.
Earlier this summer, Joyce was among 16 members of the Ohio Congressional delegation, which also included District 13 Rep. Tim Ryan, who represents much of Portage County, to sign a letter urging Vice Admiral James D. Syring, director of the Missile Defense Agency (MDA), to select Camp Ravenna Joint Military Training Center as the preferred site for the East Coast Missile Defense System.
Joyce also discussed immigration, saying the country needs to enforce the laws it has on the books to control illegal immigrants, as well as the Affordable Care Act, which he predicted will fail.
During the luncheon, Joyce discussed the health of the Great Lakes, which he said are in worse shape than many people realize.
In satellite photographs, "it's green over in the western end of (Lake Erie)," he said.
He said the process of working to fix the Great Lakes with him with trying to educate other Congress members with districts located on the Great Lakes about the dangers posed by phosphorus and other pollutants.
"In our offices, we've designated a number of people just to handle those issues," he told the audience. "If you don't have adequate water supply, you can't build or do anything."
From that core of Great Lakes representatives, Joyce said he and others have worked their way through the House of Representatives, explaining the challenges in nation's largest store of fresh water.
Educating farmers is another piece of the puzzle, he added. Farmers have become much more sophisticated in recent years.
Joyce said he's met some who run their farm equipment from iPads, which can drop "just enough fertilizer to make (crops) grow."
"The farmers are learning they can use less fertilizer and get higher yields," he said.
The problem with fertilizer, he explained, is that it contains phosphorus, which runs off, with rains, into creeks, rivers and eventually to larger lakes, including Lake Erie and other Great Lakes.
Phosphates were responsible for the 2015 blue algae bloom which left many around Toledo without drinking water for a period of time last year.
"I'm continuing to put things in place to preserve our lakes, preserve our wetlands and stop phosphorus from getting into the lake," said Joyce.
Protecting the environment also has benefits for the state in the form of tourism. Every year, millions obtain hunting and fishing licenses in Ohio, and last year 20 million came to the state to watch birds, said Joyce.
"With that and the RNC -- we had such a good showing -- I think we're one of the best kept secrets in northeast Ohio," he said.
The Aurora, Solon and Twinsburg chamber of commerce annually invite the District 14 Congressional representative to speak before their members.
FB: Bob Gaetjens