LIMA — U.S. Sen. Rob Portman told local Eagle Scouts they were a select group who are the leaders of tomorrow.
“The lessons you learn will serve you very well. We need you in our workforce, we need you serving our community, we need you in public service,” Portman told them.
Eagle Scouts from the Black Swamp Area Council gathered for the Eagle Scout Banquet Saturday night at the University of Northwestern Ohio event center.
Portman spoke of his limited time in Scouting, which he never achieved Scouting’s highest rank of Eagle. He also spoke fondly of his father, who did earn his Eagle rank.
“I have a special respect for you guys,” he said “I didn’t even make it. Not even close.”
Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati, said his father followed the Boy Scout laws, especially the part about being thrifty.
He told Eagle Scouts, their families and adult leaders about a camping trip he took his father on for his father’s 75th birthday several years back.
“We get to the first campsite and my dad being thrifty, he pulls out his pack and his sleeping bag. The sleeping bag was the sleeping bag he used 60 years earlier as a Boy Scout,” Portman said.
The Scouting law is full of qualities that will help Scouts be successful in life as they have been in Scouting, he said.
“This is a huge accomplishment tonight but it’s only the beginning,” he said. “Continue to work hard and build on your success.”
On other issues Portman spoke about away from the lectern:
Budget and the economy:
He said the record debt and deficit are crippling the economy.
“To me, it’s kind of like the credit card has been maxed out. Before you extend your credit card you have to deal with the underlying problem,” he said.
He said spending must be reduced.
“You can’t tax your way to prosperity,” he said.
He also said economic growth has been very slow.
Portman does not support a ban on semi-automatic rifles or magazine capacity limits. He said history showed the last ban that ended in 2004 was not successful. Furthermore, crime has been on the decline since it was lifted, he said.
“I support dealing with the issue but I support getting at the real problem, which is the mental health system,” he said.
Portman said FBI crime numbers donot show semi-automatic rifles to be the problem the president and others in his party use as the blame for violent crime in the country.
“Rifles, in general, are a small part of the gun homicides. The kind of guns they want to ban are an even smaller part,” he said.