LORAIN — U.S. Rep. Jim Jordan said Friday he has no plans to run for a leadership position in the House of Representatives following the surprising defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor earlier this week in his Republican primary in Virginia.
Jordan, R-Urbana, was considered a possible contender for a leadership role in part because he is former chairman of the Republican Study Committee, an influential group of conservative legislators.
“I like the role I have in Congress, being one of the conservative guys pushing conservative principles,” he said.
Jordan also said he enjoys his work on the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. He also was recently named to sit on a committee investigating the 2012 deaths of four Americans in Benghazi.
Cantor, who lost his primary to professor and tea party activist David Brat, announced this week that he will step down as majority leader at the end of July. The move opens up a leadership vacuum that has set Republicans scrambling to fill the void.
Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., who ranks just behind Cantor in the Republican leadership in the House, is among those seeking to replace Cantor, but Jordan said he hasn’t decided who he will support.
He said he’s waiting to see who else will decide to seek a leadership position before he votes later this month.
Jordan’s comments came during an interview with The Chronicle-Telegram following a meeting he had with the local chapter of the National Alliance on Mental Illness and the Lorain County Board of Mental Health at the Nord Center in Lorain.
Those attending the meeting briefed him on their concerns about cuts to mental health funding, a lack of public transportation in the county and other issues affecting those with mental illness.
William Richardson, the Nord Center’s chief financial officer, said his facility serves between 6,000 and 8,000 county residents with mental health issues every year.
He said the lack of transportation has led Nord to planning to open its own pharmacy so that patients can get their medication on-site rather than having to worry about how to get to another location.
Charlie Neff, the county’s mental health director, said that access to more beds in larger facilities would be another boon for those trying to treat mental illness.
He said funding cuts because of tough economic times are especially hard to deal with. “When times are bad, problems increase,” Neff said.
Jordan inquired about the heroin and prescription painkiller epidemic and what affect that has on mental health.
The experts said that between 40 percent and 50 percent of those who have mental illness also suffer from drug addiction.
Neff said that the best time to try to get addicts into recovery is immediately after an overdose, but often there aren’t facilities for those people to go to because there aren’t enough available beds in treatment centers.