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Ryan tours Timet plant during stop in Toronto

TOURS PLANT — U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Niles, Democratic nominee for the U.S. Senate seat being vacated by retiring Sen. Rob Portman, chats with reporters after a private tour of the Timet plant in Toronto Tuesday morning. -- Linda Harris

STEUBENVILLE — Democratic senatorial hopeful Tim Ryan, in Toronto Tuesday to tour Timet, said developing common-sense policies to help domestic steel manufacturers is in every American’s best interests.

Ryan, D-Niles, who currently serves as U.S. representative for Ohio’s 13th Congressional District (the Youngstown area), will take on Republican venture capitalist J.D. Vance in the November general election.

After his private plant tour, Ryan said the focus of his Toronto campaign stop was “making stuff here, in the U.S. with good-paying jobs and how we can help companies like this.”

“We’ve got to do a lot more like this, we’ve got to grow the titanium industry here in the U.S.,” Ryan said. “And we’ve got to figure out the supply chain end for them. It’s important because it’s a global operation, that we know what we’re doing here in the U.S. Senate to help them do that. I think there’s an opportunity to do that.”

The Toronto plant currently employs about 700 workers, Ryan says restoring jobs lost during the years is important, but growing them is even more so.

“Because of what’s going on with Russia, market share is opening up,” Ryan said. “We want Ohio companies to be able to take advantage of it, that’s why we have to have good public-private partnerships, They do some defense work, which I’ve done over the years in my career, so I want to make sure they always stay connected. Our door is always open — it doesn’t have to be business or workers, it’s got to be people working together to do what’s better for the state of Ohio.”

Ryan said the last domestic titanium sponge supplier has gone out of business. Titanium sponge is used to make ingots, which are then rolled into metal that is used in everything from commercial aviation (think jet engines and helicopter blades) to the defense industry (missiles and tank armor, for instance) and even sports equipment.

“We’ve lost the last domestic sponge manufacturer and there’s a tariff on the product coming in from Japan, which I think we’ve got to take a very close look at,” Ryan said. “Tariffs are meant to protect local industry and there’s no local sponge industry that comes to Timet. I think we’ve got to try to reduce costs for them so they can expand, continue to expand and grow jobs – these are good-paying jobs here, the best in town, one of the best in the region, and we want them to continue to grow, so we want public policies to reflect helping this company and its workers.”

Ryan said he’s enjoyed being back out on the campaign trail.

“What’s fun about campaigning in Ohio now is, up in the Youngstown area we’ve got electric trucks, electric cars, even electric tractors for farming being built at a battery plant,” he said. “Here, you’ve got titanium and a lot of opportunities in this region around natural gas, using that as a bridge as we move forward to really create jobs here. We’ve just got to hit the gas pedal and make sure everybody’s plugged in.”

Ryan said he thinks voters are less concerned about political affiliations than they are choosing “somebody who will be for Ohio and work for Ohio, who knows exactly what the state has been through and worked hard to try to retool the economy back home, who has always represented the working-class community that’s been forgotten.”

“Most people vote their economic interests,” he said. “I think for a long time the Democratic party got away from those economic interests and focused on other issues that don’t really connect with people struggling to make it from paycheck to paycheck.”

“My focus has been, how do we cut workers in on the deal? I think that’s why we’re getting a lot of Republican support,” he added. “My opponent (Vance), being from California, he got funded by a Silicon Valley billionaire and doesn’t really understand what’s going on here. And the fact of the matter is, I agreed with (former President Donald) Trump on China, I agreed with him on renegotiating NAFTA, on the defense budget and on Gen. Mattis and other things. I’ve also fought Democrats on bad trade deals. I’m someone who represented Ohio and ran against Nancy Pelosi. We’re here to tell Ohio I’m for Ohio, regardless of what party is in power.”

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