FACT CHECK: Portman Voted to Undermine Appalachian Coal and Hurt Ohio Coal Miners

COLUMBUS, OH -- The U.S. Chamber is out with a new, false advertisement attacking Ted Strickland –– but it’s no surprise they’re propping up an ultimate Washington insider like Sen. Portman: the Chamber and Portman are both unabashed supporters of unfair, job-killing trade policies that have outsourced hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs to places like China.

From Liz Margolis, Strickland for Senate campaign spokeswoman: “It’s no surprise that rich and powerful special interests who support job killing trade deals are propping up Senator Portman with another false ad, they want him in Washington to continue pushing their agenda at the expense of Ohio’s working people. Ted is from Appalachia, and he has a proven record of fighting and delivering for the people of this region – but Portman has no idea what life is like for an Appalachian coal miner: he’s voted to restrict access to black lung healthcare, slash funding for mine safety, and undermine Appalachian coal. While Portman is looking out for the wealthy and well-connected, Ted is fighting for Ohio’s coal workers – their health, the safety the mines they work in and their pensions – and he’ll never forgot where he came from.” 

The Strickland campaign recently launched a targeted Appalachian-regional digital ad “Lived It,” highlighting the differences between Ted and Senator Portman’s biographies: the son of a steelworker and the first in his family to go to college, Ted grew up in Appalachia and has fought and delivered for the working families of the region -- while Senator Portman is from the world of wealth, power and privilege, and in Washington he’s pushing the agenda of the wealthy and well-connected at the expense of Ohio’s working people. Strickland campaign’s has also launched www.RobsNotFromHere.com, a digital hub for Ohioans to learn and share the facts about Ted and Senator Portman’s record on issues that matter to Appalachian residents.

“LIVED IT”

livedit.png See the facts about the false ad for yourself:   

False claim: Ted Strickland has turned his back on Ohio coal miners
FACT: Ted Strickland has always fought for Ohio coal miners and always will – that’s why Appalachian leaders praised Strickland and said he “has stood by us time and again.”

  • Athens County Commissioner Charlie Adkins: “I know Ted Strickland and I’ve seen first-hand how hard he’s fought for people in our part of Ohio, especially Mineworkers.  They’ve had an uphill battle  – and Ted has been with them all the way.  We all know there’s a lot of game playing in Washington.  But in Southeast Ohio, we know who’s been on our side.”

  • Former Meigs County Commissioner Mick Davenport: “Ted Strickland has been a friend to Meigs County and the mineworkers who live here.  He’s always been there for us, and we’ll be with him no matter what. Here in Meigs County, we know it’s been Ted Strickland who has stood by us time and again.”

  • Athens Messenger Editorial: “Strickland Has A Proven Track Record – Both As A Governor And Former Congressman – Of Trying To Improve The Quality Of Life For Residents Of Southeast Ohio, And More Importantly, He Has Followed Up His Political Rhetoric With Meaningful investments That Will Make A Positive Impact On Our Region For Many Years To Come.” [Athens Messenger Editorial, 10/24/10]

  • Columbus Dispatch Editorial: Ney And Strickland “Have Been Outspoken On Issues Important To Their Constituents In Appalachia. And Both Have Been Willing To Work With Members Of The Other Party To Get The Job Done.” [Columbus Dispatch Editorial, 8/4/04]

  • Strickland Voted To Simplify The Process For Claiming Black Lung Benefits. In May 1994, Strickland voted for: “Passage of the bill to allow claimants found to be ineligible to keep black lung benefits already provided, to limit the submission of medical evidence in black lung benefit cases to make it easier for coal miners suffering from black lung disease to get benefits, to enable survivors to continue to receive benefits after the death of the miner, to establish a more timely process for the payment of legal fees and to provide benefits to operators of coke ovens.” The bill passed, 252-166. [CQ,5/19/94; H.R. 2108, Vote 186,5/19/94]

  • Strickland Voted To Allow Widows And Survivors From Continuing To Receive Black Lung Benefits After The Death Of The Miner. In May 1994, Strickland voted for: “Passage of the bill to allow claimants found to be ineligible to keep black lung benefits already provided, to limit the submission of medical evidence in black lung benefit cases to make it easier for coal miners suffering from black lung disease to get benefits, to enable survivors to continue to receive benefits after the death of the miner, to establish a more timely process for the payment of legal fees and to provide benefits to operators of coke ovens.” The bill passed, 252-166. [CQ, 5/19/94;H.R. 2108, Vote 186,5/19/94]

  • 2001: Strickland Worked With Sen. Mike DeWine (R-OH) To Help Secure A Total Of $7 Million In Federal Grants For Retraining For Meigs Mine Workers. “A federal grant to help the families of miners who will be out of work when the Meigs mine complex closes was touted as a truly bipartisan project Friday, by two of Ohio’s congressional representatives who came to Athens to announce the plan. U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, a Republican, told an audience at a press conference that though Ohio’s Sixth District U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland is a Democrat, he and Strickland have worked together closely to obtain the $1.9 million grant from the U.S. Department of Labor, and will continue to work together in the future to help the displaced miners. ‘We have a great partnership; that surprises some people,’ DeWine said, adding that ‘this program is not a Republican program or a Democrat program.’ Strickland, a Lucasville Democrat whose district includes Athens County and all or part of 13 others, echoed DeWine’s comments, describing himself as ‘very grateful for that kind of partnership’ with the GOP senator. The two legislators joined forces to help obtain a Department of Labor Demonstration Grant, to help more than 400 of the employees of Southern Ohio Coal Company’s coal mine complex based in Meigs County, which is expected to close by the end of this year. (Southern Ohio Coal is owned by American Electric Power.) The program also will benefit more than 100 employee spouses. […] With the help of the federal grant, which will be administered jointly by the community action agencies of Hocking-Athens-Perry and Gallia-Meigs counties, many of the mine employees will receive training and education to help them find new, well-paying jobs.” [Athens News,4/23/01; Athens News, 7/9/01] 

False claim: Portman has stood up for Eastern Ohio coal workers.
FACT: Portman has voted to slash funding for mine safety, jeopardized black lung healthcare, undermined Appalachian coal and took campaign donations from coal barons.

  • Morning Consult: Portman Voted To Undermine Appalachian Coal By Giving Western Coal An Unfair Advantage. On Tuesday, the Ohio Democratic Party – supporting Ted Strickland, the former governor and congressman – planned to unleash a new attack, hitting Portman over his opposition to 2003 legislation that sought to limit the amount of land that was eligible for federal coal leasing... The issue provides a clean point of contrast for Strickland, who supported the measure sponsored by Rep. Nick Rahall, a West Virginia Democrat. During the floor debate, Rahall said without his amendment, the bill would ‘give rise to a monopoly controlling Federal coal leases, primarily in Wyoming’s Powder River Basin.’ Rahall’s amendment, backed mainly by Democrats, failed 208-212, and the bill passed.” [Morning Consult, 6/7/16]

  • Portman took $1,000 From Don Blankenship, Former CEO Of Massey Energy, who was convicted of conspiring to violate federal mine safety standards. [Federal Election Commission, 6/18/09; New York Times, 12/3/15] 

  • Portman took $2,400 from Richard Whiting, CEO Of Patriot Coal, who fought to protect millions in bonuses to mining executives while cutting pensions for mine workers. [Federal Election Commission,1/22/10; Bloomberg, 5/16/13]

Learn more at www.RobsNotFromHere.com 

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