U.S. Senate candidate J.D. Vance visits Troy


By Sam Wildow

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TROY — J.D. Vance, who is campaigning for the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by Rob Portman, stopped at Pop-Up in downtown Troy on Tuesday.

Vance has been holding townhall-style events on his “No B.S. Tour,” previously visiting Shelby County earlier this month. Vance rose to fame after writing the book “Hillbilly Elegy,” which later became a movie, and this is his first time seeking political office.

“In a lot of ways, I think about this race very personally, because a lot of the issues that I worry about, a lot of the things that I think are happening to our state, affected me very personally when I was growing up,” Vance said.

Vance — who grew up in Middletown, which Vance called “a very proud industrial and manufacturing area” — began his talk with local residents on Tuesday by discussing competing with China.

“One of the things that happened in Middletown didn’t just happen in Middletown. It happened in a lot of small towns and big towns all across our state (and it) is that we decided as a country that we didn’t need to make stuff here anymore,” Vance said. “We thought we’d ship a lot of our manufacturing base to China, they’d make it for us, they’d make it more cheaply, and then somehow middle-class Ohioans and Americans were supposed to benefit from this trade. What ended up happening is that we got a lot of cheap garbage from the Chinese, we got a lot of dependency because a lot of people transferred from the workforce to welfare, and then we also became a country that didn’t really have the ability to rely on itself anymore.”

Vance criticized reliance on China for pharmaceuticals, saying the U.S. gets approximately 90% of its pharmaceuticals from China.

“We can’t depend on them (China) over the long term,” Vance said.

Vance attributed the overseas manufacturing as part of “why we have a terrible inflation crisis,” he said.

“Typically, when things get more and more expensive, you get more stuff, and that’s supposed to drive the price down, but when the people who make your stuff aren’t in your own country, it’s a little bit harder to get stuff,” Vance said.

Vance was critical of political leaders, saying political leaders are trying to “distract and divide” Americans from the “failure to deliver prosperity.”

“I think instead of addressing their long-term failure, our leaders decided to double down on this approach to politics that divides us and distract us from their own failures,” Vance said.

Vance criticized “identity politics,” citing one example of how White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki pointed out during a press conference that U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Janet Yellen is the first woman to hold that position.

“Why do we care about whether a person is a man or woman?” Vance said.

Vance was also critical of critical race theory, as well as media attention on the Russia-Ukraine crisis, saying further attention needs to be paid to the southern border of the U.S.

“I think that our country needs some common sense,” Vance said. He suggested the U.S. should define drug cartels as “terrorist organizations,” allowing the U.S. military to address the cartels.

“We should declare the Mexican cartels — the ones that are running the drugs and guns and sex (trafficking) on our southern border — and we could declare them a terrorist organization. If we did that, we could actually use the military to aggressively go after these guys in a way that would stop all the crime and all the misery that they’re trafficking in,” Vance said.

Vance also addressed welfare benefits, saying recipients should have to show proof of citizenship to receive them.

Vance later addressed attack advertisements that claim Vance is a “never Trumper.” He said many of the ads are being funded by an opponent, as well as an outside group that also ran attack ads against President Donald Trump in previous elections.

“I’ve been very honest about this fact. I didn’t like Trump six years ago. I thought he was, you know, kind of a joke, and I was happy to be proven wrong. He turned out to be the best president in my lifetime,” Vance said. Vance said he saw Trump a week prior to Tuesday’s event, saying they have a “very good relationship.”

Vance alluded to that he believes he may receive Trump’s endorsement, saying he expects to be pleased if Trump gives an endorsement. He said Trump may decide to stay neutral in the race for the Republican nomination, adding, “I don’t think he’s going to endorse anybody else, though.”

Vance later spoke in favor of term limits for both politicians and bureaucrats. He spoke against mandating face masks for school children.

Vance also said he would oppose voting initiatives like H.R. 1, the “For the People Act of 2021,” which he said would allow “ballot harvesting” and “legalize cheating.”

Ballot harvesting typically refers to ballot collection, which is where someone other than the voter can return the voter’s mail ballot. There are currently 26 states that allow voters to designate someone to return their ballot, as well as 10 states that permit family members to return ballots. The rest of the U.S. either requires the voter to return their own ballot or does not address it. Ohio currently allows a family member to return an absentee/mail ballot on behalf of the voter, according to the Ohio Revised Code.

For more information on his campaign, visit jdvance.com.

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