DILLONVALE - Josh Mandel, Ohio treasurer and contender for U.S. Senate seat held by Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, launched a campaign across 23 counties. His first stop was Thompson & Sons Bakery Supplies in the village.
Donald Thompson, owner, toured the business site with Mandel, outlining the operation and voicing his concerns.
Thompson noted his grandfather started the business in 1929, and he currently employs 20 people. He said he pays 80 percent of his employees' insurance and the amount has increased by about $50,000 with the current provider, making it difficult to offer raises and bonuses.
Mandel, a Republican, said he shared the concerns of the constituents.
"We think Eastern Ohio represents the backbone of the economy for our state and our country," he said, noting the manufacturing and transportation employees who make this possible. "The tradition of coal jobs, manufacturing jobs and small business jobs is something we need to project."
He also voiced the concern that his opponent and the present administration were hostile to the coal industry.
"I think the Obama administration is waging a war on coal," he said. "We need to do all we can to fight Barack Obama and Sherrod Brown."
Mandel also presented a jobs plan, outlining the failings of government in spending, borrowing, budget, taxes, regulations, energy and health care. He proposes solutions such as cutting congressional spending back to 2009 levels, ending Wall Street bailouts, reducing the debt ceiling, safeguarding Medicare and Social Security, and encouraging economic growth.
"Washington is the problem, not the solution," he said. "We need to get politicians in Washington out of the way," he said. "It's not just Democrats. There's Republicans and Democrats in Washington who are at fault for our country's problems. I believe we need a new generation of leaders in Washington. We need leaders who look a little different, who sound a little different, who think a little different and have the backbone and the guts to take on the political bosses on both sides of the isle."
Mandel added his life and strength of character were shaped both by his grandparents and the Marine Corps.
He said his grandparent were both blue-collar workers and union laborers who demonstrated devotion to family.
"They instilled in me the ethic of hard work and honest work," he said.
In the Marines, he completed two tours in Iraq.
"The training the Marine Corps instills in you never leaves you," he said. "The discipline, heightened sense of integrity and always doing the right thing is something I'll carry with me for the rest of my life."
His plan also favors instituting a new, flatter income tax code, eliminating the death tax, reducing capital gains and corporate taxes and allowing for small business income deduction. The plan also includes stopping new federal regulations and re-examining the present rules.
He added that the nation's $15.6 trillion debt, with $1 trillion owned by China, was unacceptable.
Proposed changes to health care include repealing government-run health care and allowing health insurance to be purchased across state lines.
Representatives from the local group We the People were also on hand to introduce themselves to Mandel and voice their support for the coal industry.