Portman set high bar
Whether you label him a centrist or a moderate, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman stands up for the best interests of all Ohioans.
That’s why it was disappointing to learn Monday that Portman, a Republican from Cincinnati, has decided not to seek re-election to the seat he has held since 2010.
His retirement at the end of his second term wraps up a career in public service that will have spanned more than three decades in the highest levels of government. That includes 12 years in the House of Representatives; eight years in the executive branch, including work as budget director under President George W. Bush; and 12 years in the Senate.
Portman always has been able to walk that fine line between staying loyal to his party and doing his job. He has been willing to reach across the aisle and work with Democrats, including Ohio’s senior Sen. Sherrod Brown, on issues of importance to residents of the state and the nation.
No one is surprised to read Portman’s name near the top of lists that rank the most bipartisan senators. It’s the type of politics that can get great things done, but, sadly, a style found in short supply in Washington, D.C. That polarization was a factor in his decision.
Portman has been no stranger to our region. During the past several years, he has visited the Rosebud Mine in Bergholz, Rice Energy in Belmont and Eastern Gateway Community College’s Main Campus in Steubenville, where he led discussions on work force development and extension of the federal Pell Grant program.
By making an early decision to not run again, Portman has given Ohio Republicans plenty of time to find a solid candidate to replace him on the 2022 ballot. Among the names being mentioned is U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson of Marietta, who in November was re-elected to his sixth term.
Portman’s consistently high standards of leadership in Congress are accomplishments he — and all Ohioans — should be proud of, and they should serve as examples of how to serve constituents for today’s legislators and those who will follow.