With the shuttering of the Ormet manufacturing facility, once again our local valley has become the victim to an ever-changing business climate where our friends, family and co-workers are left behind. With this closing, 1,000-families will be directly impacted, as well as thousands of others. Whether you are a small business owner, a school teacher or a grade school student, the effects of this closure will impact your life as well. While it may be prudent to look at Ormet, the union, the Public Utility Commission of Ohio and American Electric Power for solutions, those decisions have already been made. As a community we need to look to our leaders and their obligation to serve the community for additional solutions that can save 1,000 jobs in our community.
Instead of working to find a viable solution to stay afloat, Ormet and our community leaders have failed us once again. Instead of looking to our local leaders for guidance, our democratically selected state Rep. Jack Cera, D-Bellaire, and state Sen. Lou Gentile, D-Steubenville, were too busy playing schoolyard politics. As the Wheeling Intelligencer called it, “the blame game,” is not a solution when we have 1,000-families directly affected by the loss of their livelihoods. When describing Gentile’s behavior, press secretary for Ohio Governor John Kasich stated, “His obvious interest is in political demagoguery and finger-pointing, but that’s not really what it takes to lead and to help people who are hurting.” This is accurate in describing the situation, as we should expect more from those representing our perceived best interests.
On the other hand, our Congressional Representatives, David McKinley and Shelley Moore Capito of West Virginia, along with Bill Johnson of Ohio, should be commended for their swift action to work with the governor and department of labor from both states on seeking a resolution that can help bring the employees of Ormet back to work. That is the type of leadership we expect, there is no need to point fingers and blame others, as it accomplishes nothing. The employees at Ormet deserve better, as does every person, business and government institution that will be negatively affected by this closure.
As a community, let’s hope and pray that our Congressional leaders can work with Ohio and West Virginia to create a practical common sense solution that can assist Ormet in reopening its doors and provide good-paying jobs to members of our community. For far too long, we have watched factory after factory close its doors in the valley, never to reopen. Where a proud valley of industry once stood, empty buildings stand waiting for the next scrap metal auction. This is disappointing to say the least, but it is more disappointing that we can create viable solutions that are often overlooked. Nevertheless, instead of working towards these solutions, some of our imitator leaders would rather play “the blame game.”
Daniel Z. Jenkins