Ohio Senate candidate Ryan visits Darke County

By Tammy Watts
DailyAdvocate.com

GREENVILLE — Ohio Senate candidate Congressman Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) visited Greenville on Friday, meeting with Darke County Democrats at Jack’s Cabin Restaurant to discuss his campaign, and key issues important to local voters. The Congressman was confident that his firm commitment to the American worker will resonate with people in this traditionally Republican stronghold.

“People think they have to agree with their representatives 100 percent of the time,” Ryan said. “Are any of you married?” he joked, before delving into more serious topics, such as China, reviving American manufacturing, and the recent passage of the $1 trillion Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act.

Ryan’s message was heavily focused making the U.S. more competitive with China. As the lead sponsor of the Chinese Currency Act of 2005, which addressed China’s manipulation and undervaluation of its currency, he has always been harshly critical of that government’s economic policies. Outsourcing manufacturing jobs to China and Mexico was cited as the reason for Tenneco’s recent closure in Kettering, resulting in the elimination of 648 positions. For Ryan, whose father and grandfather were both steelworkers, those losses hit close to home.

“[President Donald] Trump wasn’t wrong on China,” said Ryan, reiterating that the U.S. needs to start making its own products again. “Those ships out there in the ports, they’re not coming from Greenville, or Michigan,” he continued.

The congressman pointed out that China spends 7 to 9 percent of its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) on infrastructure, compared to a mere 1 percent in the US. Ryan touted the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act as a way to more strongly compete with Chinese strategies such as the Belt Road Initiative, by which 65 countries, from East Asia to Europe will be connected.

“Instead of rebuilding Afghanistan and Iraq, let’s rebuild America,” he stated, adding that not only will the act provide for repairing roads and bridges, but will also increase accessibility to clean water, broadband internet access, and alternative energy sources. Additionally, $7.5 billion was allocated for building electric vehicle (EV) charging stations.

“We want to dominate the EV market,” Ryan continued, adding that investment in the industry will create jobs. “China knows we’re in an economic war, and acts like it, and we’re over here talking about Big Bird,” he stated, referring to Sesame Street’s beloved character promoting COVID-19 vaccines for five- to 11-year-olds.

“What are you going to do to get people vaccinated?” asked Tom Hans, stressing that only 34 percent of Darke County citizens are fully vaccinated. “Then they don’t wear masks in WalMart, because they lie about being vaccinated.” he added. Currently, businesses in Ohio are not required to ask customers about vaccination status, nor for proof thereof. Ryan responded that he is opposed to vaccine mandates, although he did not rule out testing requirements in lieu of taking the COVID-19 vaccine.

The conversation turned back to clean energy, and the congressman was informed of citizen opposition to the proposed Painter Creek Solar Project in Darke County. He stated that local governments have the right to determine what will best benefit their communities.

Ryan went on to discuss the proposed Build Back Better Act, which will include universal preschool, as well as expansion of Medicare and Medicaid to cover dental, vision and hearing needs. Ryan elaborated on gaps within the system, relating the experience of one mother, whose son was receiving mental health counseling, covered by Medicaid. She started working, made too much money to qualify for assistance, and could no longer afford the $40 co-pays for her son’s counseling. Ryan is in favor of staggering benefits, gradually lowering them as people spend more time in the workforce, and “get on their feet,” rather than cutting them off all at once.

“We can win this thing,” Ryan concluded, encouraging those in attendance to continue their efforts on his behalf in Darke County.

To contact Daily Advocate Reporter Tammy Watts, email [email protected]