Ted Strickland: Ohio Is Not For Sale

Today, former Governor Ted Strickland released the following column on Medium.com: “Ohio Is Not For Sale.”

Ohio Is Not For Sale
Ted Strickland, Medium.com
October 4, 2016
https://medium.com/@ted_strickland/ohio-is-not-for-sale-3ec94f12e139#.lngbp7ysz

There’s a reason Senator Portman always has so much money in his campaign account: he has something very, very valuable to sell.

But the problem is, what Senator Portman has been hawking doesn’t really to belong to him, because what he’s been selling out is Ohio.   

The scheme goes something like this: Senator Portman’s rich and powerful friends want something that’s only good for them. It’s something that’s not quite fair or that they couldn’t get on their own -- so they back his campaign with donations, set up dark money groups, or run countless super PAC ads on his behalf. And in return, Portman uses our seat in the Senate to push their agenda in Washington.

It’s a sweet deal – if you’re a big insurance company, an oil baron or a D.C. lobbyist. But it’s also how Washington is hurting people who actually work for a living. 

Just consider a few examples: 

Wall Street has given Senator Portman over $3 million, and in return he’s supported gambling with our seniors’ Social Security on the stock market and stopping our students from getting cheaper loans.

Multinational corporations and big pharmaceutical companies have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy Senator Portman’s support, and in return he’s championed unfair trade deals that have decimated our way of life and cost Ohio over 300,000 jobs to places like China and Mexico.

During this campaign, the gun lobby has spent more money propping up Senator Portman than it has on every other Senate and House campaign in the country -- combined. And just a few months ago, after the deadliest mass shooting in U.S. history, Senator Portman voted against a simple, commonsense proposal to stop a suspected terrorist from buying a weapon.                                                                                                                          

It was a bill sponsored by a Republican and supported by an overwhelming majority of Ohioans – but Senator Portman voted against it -- because that’s what his wealthy and powerful friends wanted him to do.

This is exactly what ticks Ohioans off about Washington insiders. I’ve met with veterans, like Nate, who carried a rifle in Afghanistan and Iraq and can’t understand why Senator Portman would jeopardize our security for the sake of his own politics.

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I’ve talked with gun safety advocates and community leaders, including many who shared the pain and resolve that comes from losing a loved one to gun violence. They can’t understand why Senator Portman would oppose a background check bill that’s supported by more than 80 percent of Ohioans.

I’ve heard a similar message in Lorain, where steelworkers have lost their jobs through no fault of their own. They want to know why Senator Portman would champion trade policies that are sending good paying jobs overseas.

It’s the same mixture of exasperation and frustration that I’ve heard from students and families drowning in college debt, and seniors who are struggling to afford their medication.  I hear this message time and again from working people across our state: no one is looking out for us, and the middle class is feeling squeezed.

Here’s the truth: if you don’t have a million dollars to put in a Super PAC or your own lobbyist, Senator Portman isn’t looking out for you. 

I’ll be the first to tell you – the kinds of people and the powerful corporations that write big checks to Senator Portman don’t waste their money on me. Because throughout my public service, I’ve always put Ohio’s working people first – that’s where I come from, that’s who I care about, and that’s who I’ll fight for in the Senate.

Today, as Senator Portman reveals in the cash he’s raked in in exchange for the favors he’s doled out and the working people he’s sold out, I hope you’ll join me in sharing a basic, and important message: Ohio is not for sale, and we’re taking our seat back.   

Ted Strickland is the former governor Ohio and is Ohio’s Democratic candidate for U.S. Senate.

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