My father and both of my grandfathers each worked at least 30 years at Ormet Aluminum. In fact, between the three of them they spent 95 years working hard to make a living inside the walls of that plant. After my dad suffered a stroke in the summer of 2012, right before the start of my sophomore year at Marietta College, his sole goal was to return to Ormet as a crane operator. Less than six months after his return to work, my father no longer had his job at Ormet because of inaction, irresponsibility, and a lack of integrity displayed by our governor, our Congressman, and State Rep. Andy Thompson.
State Sen. Lou Gentile was there for us. He rushed to the rescue of my family and the other 700+ men and women who lost their jobs. He stood toe-to-toe with Governor Kasich, fighting in best interest of his constituents. State Representative Jack Cera was right there with him, ready to save the day for us all. But our representation in Columbus and Washington did not stand together on this issue. Congressman Bill Johnson and State Rep. Andy Thompson would not cross an imaginary line in the sand their political party drew; they still won’t cross it, not even for the betterment of their constituents.
Ormet said the decision by the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO) made it impossible for the company to escape bankruptcy. Congressman Bill Johnson could have used his status as a Congressman, and his Republican Party connections, to at least meet with John Kasich and PUCO. Instead, he spent all his time raising money for his re-election campaign.
Andy Thompson just stood by as well; another example of a man putting partisan politics above what’s good for his people. He may speak up soon, but that will be an apathetic and insincere action designed to fool us all into voting for him so he can stay in office. Yes, Andy Thompson has a record of only working during election season.
We have an alternative. We have Jennifer Garrison. We have Charlie Daniels. We have quality candidates that would go to bat for the workers of Ormet moving forward.
I was inspired when I heard Charlie Daniels speak at a rally for Ormet employees earlier this summer. He said, “If pushing for this company causes John Kasich, Congressman Johnson, and Andy Thompson to get up and actually DO something, that is most important. The jobs of those men & women and the well-being of their families is far more important than winning an election.” That’s the attitude of a champion of the people. That’s the type of attitude we need to send to Columbus this November.
So I ask you, are you looking for someone that wants to work in Columbus or D.C., or are you looking for someone that wants to work for the people of the Ohio Valley? The answer is clear. We have to stand behind Lou Gentile, Jack Cera, Jennifer Garrison, and Charlie Daniels.
These individuals will continue to fight for the Ormet employees and their families. These public servants understand common sense, they understand hard work, and they will represent us well twenty-four hours a day, three-hundred sixty-five days a year; not just make some noise and shake some hands around election time to stay in office.
Taylor R. Myers