Cincinnati Enquirer Op-ed: “Rejection of infrastructure bill disqualifies GOP Senate candidates”
August 31, 2021
Columbus, OH — Yesterday, the Cincinnati Enquirer published an op-ed from State Representative Brigid Kelly highlighting how every leading Republican U.S. Senate candidate’s opposition to the bipartisan Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act would hurt Ohio. In the piece, Rep. Kelly highlights how the bipartisan infrastructure package would grow Ohio’s economy and why political opposition to the bill from leading Republican Senate candidates is disqualifying. Despite Senator Portman negotiating the bill, all of the leading Republican Senate candidates vying to replace him would have voted against the bill.
Read more at the Cincinnati Enquirer.
Cincinnati Enquirer: Opinion: Rejection of infrastructure bill disqualifies GOP Senate candidates
August 30, 2021
The bipartisan Infrastructure and Investment Act fulfills the promises President Biden made in Cincinnati six weeks ago. It improves our roads, bridges, electric grid and water pipes and creates good-paying jobs for working families. It even restores our faith in democracy, producing a bipartisan 69-30 vote in the U.S. Senate toward its passage.
But when every leading Republican U.S. Senate candidate in Ohio came out against it, it did something else: it showed us, yet again, the bottomless depth of cynicism in today’s politics. Their opposition to the plan seems to come down to appeasing one man: former President Donald Trump.
Consider what the bill would mean for Ohio:
For years, politicians – from both parties – stood in front of the Brent Spence Bridge promising to replace it. Now that dream inches closer to reality. The bill will prioritize funding to repair or replace economically significant bridges like it, helping lift the burden off state and local governments, and reducing the likelihood of tolls to pay for it.
Another huge victory for Ohio is the inclusion of Sen. Sherrod Brown’s “Buy America” rules that require American-made iron, steel and manufactured products for taxpayer-funded infrastructure and public works projects. That’s how we grow good-paying jobs right here in Ohio and compete internationally.
The bill even has the support of Sen. Rob Portman, who helped negotiate it. But instead of getting things done for Ohio families, the GOP looks laser-focused on promoting themselves and their political ambitions. Opposing the bill may be helpful for the Ohio Republican Senate candidates climbing the political ladder, but it would leave Ohio’s roads and bridges to crumble while countries like China are moving full-steam ahead.
The bipartisan infrastructure bill also includes new funding for Ohio to improve access to high-speed internet. The bill includes a program that could help 28% of Ohioans to afford internet access. This past year, we have seen how reliable high-speed internet access is essential for Ohioans across the state to be able to work, attend a doctor’s appointment, or participate in school. By opposing this bill, every Republican candidate would oppose this funding – even though it clearly benefits Ohio.
It’s clear that Ohio Republican Senate candidates’ opposition has nothing to do with substance and everything to do with politics. They should care more about Ohio workers than about gaining Trump’s endorsement. Their political games would have serious consequences for the Buckeye State. If they had their way, Ohio would miss out on $1.2 billion to improve public transportation options, $140 million to support the expansion of an electric vehicle charging network in the state, at least $100 million to expand broadband coverage across the state, $9.2 billion for roads and highways, and $483 million for bridge replacement and repairs – all to appease their own self-serving ambitions.
Ohio deserves a senator focused on creating good-paying jobs in our state and growing our economy. All of the GOP Senate candidates’ rejection of the bipartisan infrastructure bill is disqualifying. If it were up to them, our roads, bridges and water pipes would be left dilapidated and hundreds of thousands of Ohioans would be left without access to high-speed internet. Ohioans will hold them accountable for prioritizing party politics over our state’s best interests.
Democrat Brigid Kelly of Hyde Park is the 31st District state representative.