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Strickland will run for fourth term

U.

Wednesday, December 15, 1999

U.S. Rep. Ted Strickland, D-Ohio, threw his hat in the ring this week and announced he will run for another term as the state’s 6th District congressional representative next year.

But he wouldn’t give false campaign promises to Ironton residents.

This soon after Ironton Iron officials’ announcement that the plant will close in 2000, no one knows what will happen to the more than 600 workers affected, Strickland said.

"I think it’s important to be straight with people," he said. "The cruelest thing would be to hold out false hope."

That doesn’t mean Strickland has accepted Ironton’s fate, however. Efforts will continue to be made until something is done to turn this situation around, he said.

"There are going to be efforts to find a buyer for this plant," Strickland said. "I will be exploring whether or not the closing decision was in any way related to trade practices, and if so put together some type of incentive package. There will be a lot of us participating in an information gathering period. We will be trying to find out as much as we can."

Strickland already has spoken with the chief executive officer of Intermet and labor representatives.

"The last thing I want to give is unrealistic hope, but at the same time there are possibilities," Strickland said. "I don’t know what will work out. What I’m trying to do is to gather as much information as possible to have a complete picture of what the circumstances are."

If re-elected to serve southern Ohio, Strickland also will delve into unfair trading practices that might have preceded the loss of manufacturing jobs not only in Ironton, but elsewhere in the state.

"I’m concerned with trade policies," Strickland said. "There’s an effort worldwide to put manufacturing facilities in Third World countries. And a lot of folks say this is inevitable and there is nothing to be done."

Other countries have fewer restrictions and pay their workers lower wages, which creates a cheaper product, Strickland said.

"I worry about a country that loses its manufacturing ability and becomes dependent on other nations." he said. "It makes us vulnerable. We’ve got to have trade policies to encourage manufacturing businesses in this country."

Strickland announced his re-election bid at the Lawrence County Courthouse Tuesday in front of about a dozen supporters.

January 2000 will be the start of Strickland’s sixth year in office. A strong advocate of Ohio, Strickland promises to push the concerns of the southeastern part of the state if re-elected.

"One of the things that is most frustrating to me is that I just feel and continue to feel that we have been overlooked and not gotten our fair share of assistance from Washington or Columbus," he said.

Strickland also will concentrate of preparing the area’s children to compete in a more technological world by trying to build a strong information infrastructure in the more rural Ohio areas.

He promised to continue his work to reform the HMO industry, and assist in building a solid transportation network in the southeastern part of the state.