LIMA — U.S. Senate candidate Ted Strickland, running against Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, accused his rival of supporting trade deals that have hurt American workers.
As part of his three-day “No More Terrible Trade Deals” tour, Strickland spoke in front of International Brake Industries in Lima, where he said that 198 had been outsourced overseas in 2011. Strickland asserted that Portman has been a longtime advocate of these trade agreements, especially with China.
“Rob Portman is the best senator China’s ever had,” he said. “Instead of protecting Ohio workers, Portman has voted at every turn for unfair, job killing trade deals that have rocked our economy and sent hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs overseas.”
Strickland then pledged to foster transparency in trade negotiations, making potential agreements public 90 days prior to ratification, giving the public a chance for input.
Portman’s campaign responded to Strickland’s assertions, saying that during his time as governor, Ohio suffered significant job losses.
“Ted Strickland never met a job he couldn’t outsource to another state or country and certainly has a lot of explaining to do in Lima considering that when he was governor, Allen County lost 3,088 jobs and Ohio ranked 48th in job creation,” according to Portman campaign spokesperson Michawn Rich.
Strickland responded by saying that the Ohio was on the road to recovery when he left office.
“I gave John Kasich a recovering economy,” he said. “When I left office, according to the Federal Reserve out of Philadelphia, Ohio had the fastest growing economy in the Midwest and the fifth-fastest growing economy in the country.”
Portman’s campaign also accused Strickland of hypocrisy in calling for tough measures on China, with previous actions suggesting a different philosophy.
“Ted can’t hide from the fact that while he was in Congress, he refused to hold China accountable for unfair trade practices,” Rich said, “or the fact that as governor, despite his strong rhetoric, his administration opened a trade office in China and he even gave a $4 million taxpayer-funded loan to a now-bankrupt company with a Chinese factory.”
Strickland defended the trade office, saying it was intended to benefit Ohio businesses.
“It was not to have Chinese products to come into our country, but to encourage Ohio products to be sold to China,” he said.
Reach Craig Kelly at 567-242-0390 or on Twitter @Lima_CKelly.