I’m the son of a steelworker – born and raised in Appalachia – and I’ve never forgotten where I came from.
Growing up, we had some challenges. My brothers quit high school and went to work because money was always tight, and I was the first one in my family to go to college. Before I was born, we lost our first house to a flood in Portsmouth. We lost our second house to the bank. And when I was five, I woke up to find our house engulfed in flames. My dad returned from the steel mill to find his third home burned to the ground, his family standing outside, without a penny of insurance.
We had to start all over again, but we didn’t give up. Board by board, we converted our barn into a house. And now my niece – a concrete finisher – lives in that home on Duck Run today. The values I learned in Southern Ohio have guided me throughout my life -- and they are the same principles I will bring to fighting for Ohio’s working people in the U.S. Senate.
Whether it was standing up for local companies like the steel plant V&M Star in Youngstown, helping to build infrastructure projects like the Nelsonville Bypass in Athens, or cracking down on drug abuse by starting the Ohio Prescription Drug Taskforce, I’ve fought for this community at every turn, and that’s what I’ll keep doing in the Senate.
But Rob Portman doesn’t understand what life is like for Appalachia’s working families – he’s from the world of wealth, power and privilege, and in Washington he’s pushing the agenda of the wealthy and well-connected at our expense.