Both Ohio Democratic U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Gov. John Kasich got some national press attention this week. Brown focused on his work fighting to help workers. Kasich focused on politics, claiming he somehow doesn’t know what Democrats stand for.
On NBC’s Meet the Press, Brown talked about how he is continuing his work to level the playing field for Ohio workers who haven’t seen their hard work reflected in their wages and benefits.
Brown highlighted the need to restore the value of work for Ohioans.
“They’ve seen profits go up. They’ve seen executive wages go up. They’ve seen their wages [stay] flat,” Brown said on Sunday.
In March, Brown unveiled a plan, “Working Too Hard for Too Little: A Plan for Restoring the Value of Work in America,” with solutions to address the challenges facing Ohio workers and make hard work pay off again.
Brown’s plan will make hard work pay off once again by doing four things:
- Raising workers’ wages and benefits
- Giving workers more power in the workplace
- Making it possible for more workers to save for retirement
- Encouraging more companies to invest in their workforces
During the interview, Brown also discussed his work with President Donald Trump’s Administration to renegotiate NAFTA.
“I called the President’s head of transition and offered to help him renegotiate NAFTA, offered to help him enforce trade rules, especially for steel,” Brown said. “I work with this President when he’s right on trade.”
Brown reached out to Trump’s transition team immediately after the election and has engaged top trade officials and the President on overhauling U.S. trade policy to benefit Ohio workers.
Brown sent a letter in November ahead of Trump’s inauguration outlining specific steps to retool U.S. trade policy. Trump responded with a hand-written note. Brown also outlined a four-point plan to get the best deal for Ohio workers in renegotiating the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA):
- Secure Anti-Outsourcing and Buy America Provisions Up Front
- Don’t Pit American Workers and Industries against Each Other in Negotiations
- Build Enforcement Tools that Favor American Workers, Not Foreign Corporations if the Deal is Violated
- Include Workers in the Negotiations
Embedded below is a YouTube video of Brown’s full appearance.
Meanwhile, In Kasich Land
Despite our best efforts here at Plunderbund, Gov. Kasich doesn’t seem to know what Democrats and progressives stand for.
Also appearing on Meet the Press, Kasich said, “The problem with the Democrats – I can’t figure out what they’re for. I mean, they have a golden opportunity, right, to be able to come in and win elections, but they can’t figure out anything other than the fact that they don’t like Donald Trump.”
Well, Mr. Governor, we’re glad you asked. If you listened to Democrats instead of ignoring them and disparaging them, you might already know the answer. We’ve held rallies. We’ve called your office. We’ve reached out. You’ve ignored us.
What do we want? We want you to stop privatizing our schools and cutting education and local government budgets. We want fair wages for workers. We want lifetime health care for all. We want women to have their full medical rights and equal wages for equal work. We want you to stop shredding our budgets with tax cuts for rich people and debilitating cuts to state services.
We want to help people struggling in poverty, and we want addiction treatment to combat the opioid epidemic killing so many of us in your state, on your watch. We want protection of our land and health from the fossil fuel industry, and we want to build a new economy in Ohio based on sustainable energy sources. We want protection against discrimination, and we want equal rights and equal justice for all. We want to keep our collective bargaining powers, and for you to stop trying to undermine and kill them.
We want government to work for the people and not special interest profiteering. We want real leadership on issues, not the petty politics of self-aggrandizement.
Re-imagining Josh Mandel?
Over at Cincinnati.com, a story explores Josh Mandel’s constantly evolving public persona. May we humbly suggest that this persona isn’t so much the result of the Ohio Treasurer having changes of heart and trying to better himself, it’s him coldly calculating whatever he thinks will serve his unbridled political ambition.
This is touched upon in his latest, what Cincinnati.com called, “Donald Trump 2.0.”
From the article:
Mandel was aligning himself with Trump, in politics, policy and rhetoric. He used Trump-like language, such as short exclamations, and he routinely positioned himself against the “liberal” news media and those “squishy” Republicans.
The cornerstone of this effort: a bill that would outlaw so-called “sanctuary cities” in Ohio. It would require police officers to report suspected undocumented immigrants to federal authorities and would take away state money from localities that didn’t comply.
While Trump and his Justice Department vowed to take on sanctuary cities, Mandel signed onto the Ohio bill as part of his official duties as treasurer, partnering with state Rep. Candice Keller, R-Middletown, who declined to comment for this story. He traveled this winter to Cincinnati to decry the largely symbolic sanctuary city designation there, saying it would take effect “over our dead body.”
Why use his taxpayer-paid office to jump into a political issue, especially one unrelated to the office’s stewardship of Ohio’s tax money?
“I have a duty and obligation to look after the best interests of the state,” Mandel said. “Every time a tax dollar is spent on an illegal immigrant, it’s paid for by hardworking taxpayers in Ohio and elsewhere.”
Ever the opportunist, Mandel has hitched himself to a dangerously shaky wagon of xenophobia and divisiveness. When the wheels fall off, we’ll be here for the schadenfreude. Until then, perhaps Ohioans should ask themselves what they value, a man like Sherrod Brown who has never wavered in his support for Ohio workers, or Josh Mandel, a man whose fickle whims drive him to adopt whatever persona he finds politically convenient at any given time.