Voters Guide: Ryan vs. Vance to represent Ohio in the U.S. Senate

All candidates for local, state and federal office were sent the same series of questions by the Dayton Daily News. Our goal was to help voters make informed choices in the Nov. 8 election (early voting for which began Oct. 12).

This race for one of Ohio’s two U.S. Senate seats is between Democrat Tim Ryan and Republican JD Vance. There is no incumbent, as Rob Portman is not running for re-election. The candidates’ answers are below, in their own words. Candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

Tim Ryan

Residence: Howland Township, Trumbull County

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: U.S House of Representatives, OH-17; Ohio Senate; President, Trumbull County Young Democrats; Chairman, Earning by Learning

Education: I hold a law degree from the University of New Hampshire School of Law (formerly the Franklin Pierce Law Center) and graduated with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science from Bowling Green State University in Bowling Green, Ohio.

Current employment: I have served in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2003, currently for Ohio District 13.

Why are you seeking elected office: I am running for the U.S. Senate to cut Ohio workers in on the deal. I’ve seen what happens when our politics and our economy aren’t working for working people, and I understand that there’s nothing more patriotic than investing in our team, bringing good-paying jobs to Ohio, and making sure our workers can compete with countries around the world and win. My opponent, J.D. Vance, is a fraud who has done nothing for Ohio and has been cashing in on the pain and suffering of hard-working Ohioans. But while J.D. moved to California and gave up on Ohio, I never left, and have spent my career working across the aisle to support working families, combat the opioid crisis, and reinvest in our communities. I’ve worked hand-in-hand with businesses, workers, and community leaders to revitalize American manufacturing and bring thousands of good-paying jobs and opportunities home to Ohio. In the Senate, I will keep fighting to raise wages and make it easier to unionize, make healthcare more affordable, protect Ohioans’ retirement security, invest in education, rebuild our public infrastructure, and revitalize manufacturing so we can make things in Ohio again — and make sure we’re cutting workers in on the deal every step of the way.

Why should voters elect you: Unlike J.D. Vance, who left Ohio for California and invested in companies that profited from outsourcing and globalization and used the hardships of hardworking Ohioans to jumpstart his political career, I have the experience necessary to deliver for all Ohioans in the Senate. I am talking about real issues and coming up with real solutions. Whether it’s bringing back jobs to Ohio, making sure American workers can compete, or fighting for affordable health care, I have a strong record of putting in the work.

I have fought for workers my entire career and don’t plan to stop anytime soon. I’ve been taking my Workers First Tour to communities large and small across the state. So far, we’ve met with Ohioans in all of Ohio’s 88 counties to hear from them about what they want in a U.S. Senator and share my plan to put workers at the forefront of everything we do in the Senate.

Whether I’m in Cleveland or Marietta, talking to lifelong Democrats or two-time Trump voters, I’m hearing about the same issues—like how we need to pass a tax cut for workers, bring jobs back home to Ohio, and cut costs so working families can get a little breathing room. And I’m going to continue to meet with folks in every corner of Ohio to talk about what I’m going to do in the U.S. Senate to cut workers in on the deal.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities?

1. Workers: Ohio workers are the best in the world. They’ve been on the cutting edge of every step forward our country has taken. But in recent years, workers in manufacturing communities like Troy, Kettering, Dayton, and many more throughout the Miami Valley have been working harder than ever and still struggle to make ends meet.

2. Health Care: In the richest country on earth, it is unacceptable that anyone working hard should go broke because they had to go to the hospital or pay for a prescription.

3. Making America Competitive Again: Countries overseas are making huge investments into public infrastructure, technology, education, and health care to out-compete our businesses and take jobs from Ohio workers.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? It’s time to cut workers in on the deal. We can do that by raising wages, expanding access to affordable child care, bringing down the cost of health care, passing the PRO Act, and protecting the promise of a secure retirement.

I’m working to bring down health care costs and give Ohioans more options for how they get the reliable and affordable care they need, including by expanding Medicare by lowering the eligibility age to 60, and allowing folks to buy-in to the program at 50 and creating a public health care option for those who want it. I was also proud to vote earlier this year for landmark legislation to let Medicare negotiate for lower prescription drug prices, which will keep more money in our seniors’ pockets while also saving taxpayer dollars and helping protect these critical benefits for future generations.

If we want to compete with other countries who are taking jobs from Ohioians, we’ve got to match the big investments they are making here at home. I’m fighting to take on China and crack down on countries that don’t play by the rules, support infrastructure by rebuilding our roads and bridges using American-made materials, revitalize manufacturing, and make sure our workers have the skills they need to dominate the future.

Anything else you would like voters to know? I am a lifelong Ohioan who still lives just a few miles from where I grew up in Niles. Throughout my career, I have never stopped fighting for our communities and Ohio workers. I have never answered to anyone other than Ohioans and that won’t change when I get to the Senate.

In this race, voters have a choice to make. I am not afraid to take on the challenges facing Ohio. I have been working for my entire career to stop the opioid epidemic by getting drugs off of our streets and providing local law enforcement with the resources they need to make sure our communities are healthy and safe.

Meanwhile, J.D. Vance’s sham non-profit, Our Ohio Renewal, which an independent expert called “a charade” and Vance himself admitted “wasn’t ultimately very successful,” did little to address the opioid epidemic that has devastated countless families across Ohio. Vance used the organization to lay the foundation for his political career, paying his top political advisor more than the organization ever spent on anti-opioids programming and using it to commission political polling as he was considering a Senate bid in 2017.

I take the issues facing Ohio seriously, and I will never stop fighting for what’s best for our state and Ohio families.

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JD Vance

Residence: Cincinnati

Organizations, boards, previous elected positions: US Marine Corps (2003-2007), Operation Iraqi Freedom, St. Gertrude Church in Cincinnati, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Buckeye Firearms Association, member

Education: The Ohio State University (Bachelor’s Degree); Yale Law School (JD)

Current employment: Co-founder of Narya

Why are you seeking elected office: Ohio has a lot of promise, and a lot of great local leadership. But the federal government has mismanaged this country. They’ve shipped jobs overseas, opened our borders to illegal drugs, allowed violent criminals out of prison, and spent so much borrowed money that we have a historic inflation crisis. We can do so much better: we can close our border, get prices under control, and put violent criminals away. But only if we have new leadership who recognizes the challenge.

Why should voters elect you: I grew up in a poor family, raised by my grandparents. I know what it feels like when you can’t afford food, or when addiction ravages your family. I also know what it’s like to create jobs here in Ohio, and what’s necessary to grow our economy and make our streets safe again. I’ll never forget where I came from, and I’ll never stop working for normal Ohioans to have the same incredible opportunities the state has given me.

If elected, what will be your top three priorities? First, we’ve got to stop spending money and unleash our energy sector to get inflation under control. Second, we’ve got to close the southern border to all the drugs and crime coming across daily. And third, we’ve got to take on China: they’ve stolen too much from the middle class here in Ohio, and unless we get back on track, the next century could be dominated by them, not us.

What specific plans do you have to address those top priorities? When elected to the Senate, I’ll vote to unleash American energy production and cut back on the wasteful spending. This will help get our inflation crisis under control.

To secure the border, I will introduce legislation that will do three things: declare drug cartels terrorist organizations, ban illegal immigrants from accessing welfare benefits, double the number of patrol agents at the southern border and cut off funding for cities, like New York, that allow non-citizens to vote.

Regarding China, we need to reward companies that bring back manufacturing from China and other countries with tax cuts and impose tariffs and other financial penalties on companies that continue to ship jobs overseas.

Anything else you would like voters to know? I owe a lot to this state. If I’m elected, I’ll never forget that debt. And I’ll bring some common sense back to Washington on crime, immigration, and economic growth.