A Tipp City businessman is featured in a new political action committee ad criticizing former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland, the Democrat running to unseat U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Keith Kingrey, vice president of SK Mold & Tool Co., a Tipp City company owned by his family, says that Ohio lost 350,000 jobs during Strickland's time as Ohio governor.
"Ted Strickland had to be doing something wrong for all these jobs to leave Ohio," Kingrey said in the ad.
Strickland was governor from 2007-2010 and oversaw the state during the U.S. Great Recession. He was unseated after one term by John Kasich in a 2010 campaign that focused on laying the blame for Ohio's lost jobs on Strickland. Kasich took office in January 2011.
In a June 2011 Dayton Daily News article Kingrey said positive things about his company's economic outlook, saying that business had been picking up. The company had expanded in 2008 with the purchase of Sun Machine and Tool Corp. in Troy, according to a Dayton Daily News article.
"It started picking up in 2010 pretty good. Last year was a pretty decent year," Kingrey said. "This year every quarter, it continues to get better and better."
Freedom Partners Action Fund is a conservative PAC. Federal Elections Commission documents show one of its chief contributors is conservative Charles G. Koch, a businessmen who, with his brother, David H. Koch, is major contributor to conservative causes.
“Even the person used by the Koch Brothers in this ad previously praised the economy under Ted Strickland and said what newspapers and fact checkers have confirmed: Ohio's economic recovery began under Ted," said Ohio Democratic Party spokesman Daniel van Hoogstraten. "It's no surprise that wealthy, shadowy special interests like the Kochs are propping up their puppet Rob Portman -- because at every turn, Portman is pushing their agenda at the expense of Ohio’s working families."
Van Hoogstraten criticized Portman's support of trade deals he said have killed jobs and called him "the ultimate Washington insider who always turns his back on hard-working Ohioans in favor of the wealthy and well-connected.”
Bill Riggs of Freedom Partners Action Fund said, “Under Ted Strickland hundreds of thousands of jobs were lost as businesses either closed or left for other states. The fact that some companies were able to survive Ted Strickland’s devastating tax-and-spend policies isn’t a reason to go back to them.”
Interviewed by phone on Friday Kingrey said that it is true his company had started doing better in 2010.
"Things had been slowing picking up but overall if you looked at everything it was pretty tough for us.”
He said the company had been losing local customers and had to go out of the region to find new business.
“Ted Strickland did not do us any favors," Kingrey said.
Kingrey said he had previously done an ad by the same director who did the Freedom Partners Action Fund ad and said it was a fun experience.