David Kierzek Theresa C Davis Edward F Storer Ralph Rader DP&L to stick with planned closings Preventing tax season identity theft 4-H awards 11 local scholarships Peebles Elementary holds Spirit Week Humane Society to hold Radio Auction Local business partners find historical treasure in old bank building DP&L employees meet with union leadership GE-Peebles Test Operation joins the campaign about Distracted Driving North Adams Elementary recognizes February Students of the Month Senior Profile: Sydney Michael Stars will shine for the 34th annual C-103 All-Star Game NAHS Track/XC host Shamrock Shuffle 5K Associated Press names All-Southeast District Teams Senior Profile: Hannah Howard Nice to finally be a small part of March Madness The tractor has always been special Jimmy Nelson Kathryn Boldman James E Downs Manchester grad enjoys a “Super” Experience Taking Adams County patriotism to the state capitol John P Sininger Jo Ann Hayslip Harvey U Schrock Eunice G. Burgess Senior Profile: Kaulen St Michael Cox Racing returns to Brushcreek on April 2 Southern Hills Athletic Conference holds Winter Sports Awards ceremony County provides multiple walking venues Adams County parks are tobacco-free Rhoads Memorial 5K Run/Walk is April 9 Peebles Elem. Staff of the Month Floyd E Maddy Raymond A Holt Derrick Poe Spencer E McFarland Mintie F Rogers Roberta Eylar Big Time Wrestling coming to NAHS Carl Tomlin CTC students help with storm clean-up Opening the door for high-tech jobs Jack R Slyger Thomas Stratton Jr Eastern Lady Warriors headed to Final Four Senior Profile: Logan Rogers Southern Hills Athletic Conference names 2016-17 All-Conference Basketball Teams Winchester PD continues assault on drugs Alonso joins Defender staff Sheriff to set up outpost in Manchester Johnson named OEDA Membership Chairperson Sherman E Young Ruth Jackman ‘Kitten Season’ comes to Ohio Manchester Council votes to disband PD Olde Wayside Inn under new management Two overdose on heroin Senior Profile: Ethan Parrett Adams/Brown Youth League holds postseason tourney Three nights of pain Furious rally falls short, Lady Devils again eliminated in Div. III district finals, 45-42 Oscar Moore Barbara J Finnegan Ohio Senate and House honor Miss Ohio USA Michael Eldridge Frances Towner Thelma R Williamson BREAKING NEWS: Manchester council votes to eliminate police department Before all dogs go to heaven Adaptive Bikes delivered in Adams County Adams County Junior Fair Market Hog Identification plans announced for 2017 Local couple takes ownership of two local businesses Jo Hanson to retire after nearly 50 years in banking Sierra Club, hero or villain? Greyhounds, Devils are runners-up in SHAC Tournaments Harold L Purdin Senior Profile: Jacob Wickerham 98-year old author publishes first book Early March storm packs destructive punch Jeeps rally in second half to end the Peebles season How about some post season awards? Thanks for all the great sports coverage PHS Principal hopes to expand students’ world view When spring becomes a promise Greg Lorenz Clay shoots the lights out, shoots down Greyhounds’ season Senior Profile: Savannah McFarland Devils put up a good fight, but fall to Portsmouth in sectional final, 50-43 Second half comeback sends Lady Devils to district finals for third straight year Butts honored by Southeast District Athletic Board North Adams Elementary holds Random Acts of Kindness Week Chester W Eyre BREAKING NEWS: March makes its entrance with force WUES kicks off Right to Read Week with guest readers WUHS students see Aronoff show on the life of Edgar Allan Poe Local high school seniors winners of Wendy’s Heisman Awards

Fighting for more jobs in Ohio

During August, I had a chance to travel all across our great state on a jobs tour that took me over 3,000 miles through 22 counties. I stopped in our biggest cities and in our least populated rural counties.

Along the way I met with small business owners, health care professionals, coal miners, steel workers, manufacturers of everything from tires to paper, educators, farmers, defense industry workers, and others. As I listened to the men and women who make Ohio work, I heard a lot of similar concerns. I heard about how a sluggish economy has made it harder for people to get ahead.

Although Ohio is now doing better than the rest of the country, still the historically weak recovery has made it tough. The percentage of people in the workforce is the lowest it’s been since 1978. Unemployment lines are still longer than they should be and flat wages accompanied by increases in health care costs and energy bills have contributed to a “middle class squeeze” that is making it harder for working families to get by.

As I traveled the state, I heard about the need to give the economy a shot in the arm by smarter regulations, tax reform, lower health care costs, cracking down on unfair imports and increasing U.S. exports by knocking down foreign barriers. I agree.

Washington has let people down, mostly because of partisan gridlock. It’s time to break the gridlock and pursue commonsense reforms that will grow opportunities and create more, better-paying jobs here in Ohio and around the country. One of the ways we can do that is by finding new markets and new customers overseas so that we can export more things stamped, “Made in America.” This means more jobs for Ohio workers; my priority in the U.S. Senate.

One of the stops along the jobs tour last month was More Than Gourmet, an impressive small business and food – based manufacturing company in Akron. More Than Gourmet gets rave reviews for its stock and sauce products used by professional chefs, consumers and other food manufacturers around the world, including parts of Asia. Their growing Asian sales were a big part of their success until 2009, when imports of American-processed meat products were banned by Japan because of unfounded concerns about what’s called mad cow disease.

This had an immediate and negative impact on the company and its workforce in Akron. Companies like More Than Gourmet, that work hard to make great products and find export markets for these products, are able to create more and better jobs right here in Ohio. We want more companies to do that. When I learned about what was happening to this company and its workers, I went into action. I immediately contacted the Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack, and U.S. Trade Representative Michael Froman, and worked closely with them to fight to re-open the Japanese market. It wasn’t easy.

Japan has some of the strictest food safety regulations in the world. But by insisting on our rights, including that standards have to be science-based, we were able to get Japan to lift its ban on U.S.-processed beef products, arrange to get a Japanese inspection team to MTG’s Akron plant, and show that its products are safe and meet Japanese standards.

It took two years of intense effort. But by working it hard, an agreement to re-open the important Japanese market was achieved. This was a victory for the men and women who make a world-class product at More Than Gourmet who brought this case to me, but it was also a victory for other food manufacturers in Ohio and across America.

One important way to get our economy back on track and see rising wages is to open more markets for “Made in America” products. Because some of the best and most innovative products and ideas are coming from Ohio workers and Ohio companies, this is a great opportunity for us. A balanced approach of more exports — combined with tougher enforcement of our trade laws — is one way to ensure that all Ohioans can build a better future for themselves and their families.

Rob Portman is a United States Senator from the state of Ohio.

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Senator Rob Portman

Contributing Columnist

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