By Joselyn King
Republican U.S. Senate candidate Josh Mandel believes East Ohio will lead the state's effort at economic recovery.
Mandel, also treasurer for the state of Ohio, was accompanied Tuesday by coal miners from the Century Mine in Beallsville as he spoke at a press conference at Undo's West in St. Clairsville. The event was originally set for the steps of the Belmont County Courthouse, but it was moved due to rain.
He noted his 2012 campaign for Senate is about three issues - "jobs, jobs and jobs."
"I believe at the local level, county level, state level and federal level ... leaders should be focused on economic growth and job creation," Mandel said. "That's why I feel so passionately about the coal jobs here."
Mandel spoke frequently of his opponent, incumbent Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, and President Barack Obama during his discussion on coal - tying them both to new rules regarding coal-fired electric plants being proposed by the EPA. The coal industry can lead the economic comeback for Ohio if these EPA regulations are eliminated, he continued.
"First, we need to get the Sherrod Brown/Barrack Obama EPA off the backs of the coal industry so the folks in East Ohio can keep their coal jobs," Mandel said. "Secondly, we must simplify the tax code. We need a tax system that is more simple, and that has lower tax rates on middle class families."
Mandel also spoke on the Senate's failure to pass a budget or much legislation during its most recent term.
"I think the partisan bickering on both sides is disgusting," he said. "Unfortunately, our own Sen. Sherrod Brown is a very big part of the problem.
"Families throughout Ohio have to manage a household budget. These politicians in Washington have gone over 1,100 days without passing a budget. There is an elitist attitude from Sherrod Brown and Barack Obama - they think they can live by one set of rules while the rest of us have to live with another set of rules."
If elected, Mandel said he would seek to work with those on the opposite side of the aisle "while maintaining my core principles."
"I will do everything I can to rise above partisan politics ... to improve the economy of East Ohio," he said.
"Politicians in Washington have bankrupted our country. If we want to look for new leadership, we shouldn't look to Washington. We should look to folks who are in our local communities."