STEUBENVILLE - He has heard all the comments and Josh Mandel is now using his youthful appearance as a campaign tool in his quest for the U.S. Senate seat now held by Democrat Sherrod Brown.
"I know I look 16, but when I turn 35 years old next year I hope to start shaving," Mandel quipped to the Jefferson County Young Professionals Tuesday night.
Mandel, the state treasurer, stopped in the city Tuesday evening for a visit with the young professionals group following a stop in St. Clairsville earlier in the day.
"When I ran for the state Legislature I was told, 'you are too young' and I should, 'wait for next year.' But I campaigned hard and knocked on 19,679 doors and wore out three pairs of shoes during that campaign," cited Mandel.
"It is important for young people to become leaders in our country. When I ran for state treasurer I had a band of young people who went everywhere with me. And my message then is the same now. We can't keep sending the same people to Columbus or Washington, D.C., with the same results," said the GOP contender Mandel.
"I don't come with a silver spoon. I come from a blue-collar background. My grandfather was a union worker and my grandmother was a union worker," he said during his talk at Froehlich's Classic Corner restaurant.
"Ohio's economy depends on energy, manufacturing and small businesses as well as small farms. I believe we need to dismantle the federal tax code and build it back up so you don't have to hire lawyers to fill out your tax returns," Mandel said.
"I have met my opponent Sherrod Brown on several occasions. He's not a bad guy. He loves his country. Just because he didn't serve in the military like I did doesn't mean he doesn't love his country. But he has been running for political office since Richard Nixon was president. If Sherrod Brown had all the answers, our problems would have been solved a long time ago," remarked Mandel.
"We need a new generation of leaders in Washington, D.C. I was told I am too young to hold office. But with millions of jobs going to China. And with Medicare and Medicaid going broke, we don't have time to wait. We as young people have a responsibility to step up to the plate," said Mandel.
Mandel said Washington, D.C., "is broke and Sherrod Brown is part of the problem."
"Once I am elected to the U.S. Senate, I will stand up to the Democratic Party bosses as well as the Republican Party bosses. My bosses are the 11.5 million people of Ohio. I believe we need to focus on jobs creation and get Washington out of the way. We need to get the faceless bureaucrats and useless politicians out of the way. We also need a more friendly tax environment. And I will be ready to battle Wall Street. No one is going to push me around," Mandel stated.