McArthur, OH – The Buckeye State may be thrust into the national spotlight every four years due its important swing state leverage, but each and every day Ohio politicians work diligently on economic issues important to local voters. 87th District Representative Ryan Smith and Ohio Senate candidate, Shane Thompson, served as defacto Tagg Romney tour guides as he traveled through the rural areas in the southern portion of the state. The trio of men obviously spent the bulk of their time stumping for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, but they also focused on another issue which impacts poor and middle class voters in the Appalachian region – coal.
Although low-income and blue collar workers are not often touted as Republican voters, they came out in mass numbers for the campaign stop; packing signs which encouraged others not to vote for President Barack Obama and help keep coal job paychecks flowing.
Ohio Senate candidate Shane Thompson had this to say to about the dangers facing the coal industry:
“Coal is such an important issue, we need to not just keep these jobs but grow these opportunities for our children and grandchildren. I am a businessman, not a career politician, and I know how hard it is to keep a company running. Providing living wage jobs that keep families above water is a good thing for everyone. We have come a long way in Ohio, but there is a lot more work to be done to expand our fuel and power options, I believe Mitt Romney will help us do that on a national level. I want to go to Columbus and help change the business as usual approach and create the economic opportunities we must have to make Ohio strong for generations to come.”
Coal industry workers who attended the event in Vinton County were both male and female, and stated without hesitation that job retention and creation were the driving factors behind their to decision cast a vote for Mitt Romney. Some noted that their feelings about the Republican candidate are still evolving, but they would definitely be voting against Barack Obama in November based primarily on his statements regarding coal and natural gas jobs.
Thompson did not have a slick and polished political approach to sharing his beliefs and goals. He had a very friendly demeanor and was extremely approachable during his stop in one of the most impoverished regions of the state. He drew loud applause when telling the largely middle class crowd that their votes and feelings count just as much as those of residents in major cities and in more affluent areas. He has a very long district to tour and remembered the mascot of the local football team, a personal touch which also drew cheers from the small town crowd.
The 87th District representative displayed his well-honed multi-tasking skills when bouncing his tired baby girl while discussing job creation needs with Tagg Romney. The little bundle of joy dropped her pacifier on the courthouse sidewalk, but the representative did not miss a beat as he knelt to pick it up and kept the important economic discussion flowing. As several mothers and grandmothers reached for anti-bacterial lotion to clean off the baby-quieting device, Tagg joked about how thoroughly he and his wife Jen once cleaned dropped pacifers. But like virtually all once germophobic parents with multiple children, the Romney’s now simply brush the dirt off on a pants leg and carry on.