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Published: Wednesday, 8/11/2010

Democrats fault GOP over trade pacts, jobs

BY TOM TROY
BLADE POLITICS WRITER

"After supporting the economic and trade policies that got us into this national recession these guys want to be put back in charge," Mr. Redfern said. "We just can't allow that to happen."

He attacked U.S. Senate candidate Rob Portman, gubernatorial candidate John Kasich, and former U.S. Sen. Mike DeWine, GOP candidate for attorney general.

Republicans fired back that Mr. Redfern was using "tired talking points" and ignoring the loss of jobs that has occurred under Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland and Lt. Gov. Lee Fisher.

Mr. Strickland is being challenged by Mr. Kasich, while Mr. Fisher and Mr. Portman are vying for the seat held by U.S. Sen. George Voinovich (R., Ohio).

Mr. DeWine's opponent is incumbent Democratic Attorney General Richard Cordray.

Mr. Redfern was joined at a meeting in the Northwest Ohio Building Trades Council office on Front Street in East Toledo with about two dozen labor leaders and Democratic candidates.

He said the North American Free Trade Agreement, signed into law by Democratic President Bill Clinton in 1993, and supported by Mr. Portman and Mr. Kasich, caused the loss of 50,000 Ohio jobs by 2004.

The treaty lowered trade barriers among the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

He said normalizing trade with China, supported by President Clinton and Republican President George Bush, cost Ohio an additional 91,800 jobs. He said all three Republicans supported the law.

Not only did they support trade deals that he said sapped Ohio's manufacturing economy, but Mr. Kasich and Mr. Portman refused to support programs that would have helped out-of-work Ohioans adjust to the new economy, Mr. Redfern said.

Jason Mauk, executive director of the Ohio Republican Party, said, "These are the same tired talking points the Democrats drag out before every election, and they're just not accurate."

He said 360,000 Ohioans have jobs today because of trade agreements, and that Ohio is the only state that has increased production of exports every year since 1998.

Portman spokesman Jessica Towhey said, "It's unfortunate that Chairman Redfern believes that Democrats' path to victory in the U.S. campaign is to lie about Rob Portman's record while ignoring the nearly 400,000 jobs lost in the last three years under [Mr.] Fisher."

Contact Tom Troy at:

tomtroy@theblade.com

or 419-724-6058.



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