Congressman’s effort really helped

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 30, 2000

Hearing the news recently that the U.

Friday, June 30, 2000

Hearing the news recently that the U.S. Enrichment Corp. had decided to close the Piketon plant could not have been easy for anyone in southern Ohio, least of all, the area’s congressman.

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But, fortunately for southern Ohio, political allegiance and partisan bad-timing did not stop Rep. Ted Strickland from letting his party’s candidate know that he screwed up.

It wasn’t months, weeks or even days before Strickland led a charge to Washington demanding explanations and fighting for the more than 2,000 people in southern Ohio who faced unemployment.

He made his comments within hours of the announcement. And, there is no doubt that his continued persistence made an impression on would-be Democratic presidential candidate Al Gore, who announced this week that he would push for a Treasury Department investigation of the decision.

Strickland’s comments could not have been good for Gore – especially in light of recent poor polling data – so it was a risk for him to make such a public stink about this issue. After all, he is a Democrat and this didn’t make his candidate look very good.

But Strickland chose his constituents over partisan allegiance and went to work not to make the best of a bad situation, but to change it. He did not mince words. He did not tap dance. He fought for his community – tooth and nail.

And don’t think strength of his comments did not make an impression on all those who listened.

Southern Ohio received support from other state leaders, too. Gov. Bob Taft also reacted aggressively to the announcement and called for an investigation. Sen. Mike Shoemaker and Rep. Bill Ogg also made their feelings known.

There will be many who will write off southern Ohio’s influence in the upcoming elections. After all, they will say, northern Ohio will offset any southern Ohio votes. Whether that prediction comes true will be up to the voters.

But, they better not discount this area’s congressman. He has proven that he not only remembers his job, but whom he is working for – the people.