It's easy these days to blame Washington. Washington, our politics and everything we associate with them simply aren't working. They're not working for Ohio seniors, families or students. But in failing to ask why or to act, we simply feed the cycle of failure.
Last week, Congressman Jim Renacci wrote of the "filth of gutter politics" (Forum, July 15). What Congressman Renacci fails to address in his hundreds of words lamenting today's political environment is a solution to this problem: How do we climb out from the gutter and fix the problems that face our country?
The answer isn't complex; it lies in hard work and putting solutions before politics.
In the last decade, we have seen jobs disappear and the American dream slip away from the grasp of too many working Ohioans. Factory workers and small business owners have seen years of investment put at risk because a handful of reckless bankers on Wall Street thought they could take advantage of those of us on Main Street. We have been tested, but we know that when the challenges are great, Ohioans never fold. We never give up.
In the five years that I've had the opportunity to represent the 13th Congressional District, I have been proud to work together with fellow Democrats and, yes, even Republicans, to address these problems and to help give our middle class a stronger grip on the American dream. From strengthening consumer protections to keep our food safe by passing the FDA Food Safety Modernization Act to providing our men and women in uniform the support they deserve by passing critical stop-loss legislation, I have reached across the aisle and found that the way to fix Washington is to bring real solutions to Washington.
While the "political bomb-throwing" that Renacci talks about may be enough to stop him from seeking real solutions, I've seen that things can be different when you have the will and the energy to push through and commit yourself to action. I've seen Republicans and Democrats commit themselves to leveling the playing field for American manufacturing and holding countries like China accountable when they cheat. I've seen what happens when we work to revitalize an industry and then tour a plant once under threat of closure that is now buzzing with activity. I've seen what happens when you work to take government off of the backs of working people and make it a government that works by their side -- for them, not against them.
I grew up with four older brothers and an older sister who showed me how to deal with the real world when times get tough. I learned that in Northeast Ohio, we don't complain when things get rough; we roll up our sleeves and fight forward.
Washington may be broken, but the answer lies in real solutions, not excuses or rhetoric. We have to work now and work together, and only then will we see the light outside of that filthy gutter.