Former Governor Ted Strickland spoke yesterday before the Akron Press Club to talk about why he’s running for U.S. Senate: to keep good-paying jobs in Ohio, make college affordable for working families and secure programs seniors have earned, including Social Security and Medicare.
The Governor’s remarks drew a noticeable contrast to Senator Rob Portman, who has voted to protect tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas, against student loan reform and supported raising the retirement age and turning Medicare into a voucher program. Another difference: while the Governor actually stayed in Ohio, Portman jetted off to New Hampshire to play national politics.
“Senator Portman’s got a record and it puts Washington Republican interests ahead of Ohioans 92 percent of the time,” said Lauren Passalacqua, DSCC National Press Secretary. “So is anyone surprised that while Ted took an opportunity to talk about protecting Ohio’s working families, Senator Portman once again left them behind?”
In remarks to the Akron Press Club, the former Ohio governor faulted Portman for opposing the auto industry bailout, favoring foreign trade deals that cost U.S. jobs and unraveling overtime-wage protections.
“Rob Portman and I fundamentally disagree on how to protect Ohio jobs and America’s manufacturing industries,” Strickland said. “In the Senate, I will oppose giveaway trade deals and stand up for the working people of Ohio. But Rob Portman? He’s the best senator China ever had.”
Strickland promised to defend the nation’s safety net from proposed changes that include increasing the retirement age used to determine Social Security payouts and privatizing some or all of the Medicare program.
“The safety net this country provides is life saving, it is humanizing. It is our best impulses turned into policy,” Strickland said. “We need to protect Medicare and Social Security from those who want to transform them into something less.”
Portman voted to turn Medicare into a voucher program, Strickland said, and voted to raise the Social Security retirement age. The former governor promised not to do that.
Strickland touted his support of the auto-bailout and, despite his recognition that global warming poses a “serious threat,” Ohio coal miners.
At 74, the former minister used personal anecdotes to show how the cost of living has outstripped wages as the American dream has slipped further out of reach for a shrinking middle class.
Strickland’s father worked midnights at a steel mill. When the family house burned down, “board-by-board” they converted their barn into a home. His niece now lives there.
With eight siblings, it was college that separated the politician from his brothers, who toiled as concrete finishers. Strickland gained advanced degrees in divinity and counseling. While working at a children’s home, he studied for a doctorate degree at the University of Kentucky, where he met his wife.
Strickland was not silent on the issue, though, especially when he contrasted his record with his successor, John Kasich – saying he handed Kasich an economy in 2011 that was already outstripping the nation in recovery from the great recession.
“We protected our priorities. We did not renege on our commitment to resources for fire protection and police protection. We kept faith with that local government fund. We continued to support education even in the midst of this horrendous recession.”