Michelle Obama's brother Craig Robinson, left, who is also the men's basketball coach at Oregon State, talks to Ohio House Rep. Matthew Szollosi.
THE BLADE/JETTA FRASER
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s 25-city tour of Ohio communities linked to the automotive industry rolled into Toledo Sunday night for a pit stop at the Lucas County Democratic Party’s annual fall dinner, where he urged party stalwarts to make a concerted effort to re-elect him and President Obama.
“We are on our Jobs Ohio tour,” he told the 350 dinner guests at the $75 a plate dinner at Premier Banquet Hall in South Toledo.
The caravan includes the Chevrolet Cruz and Toledo-build Jeeps, he said.
“Both vehicles are made in Ohio by Ohio workers,” he said to applause from the crowd of Democratic elected officials, union members, and party activists.
Following the 2009 taxpayer-funded auto rescue, which Democrats said saved the one-in-eight Ohio jobs that are connected to the auto industry, General Motors Co. and Chrysler Group LLC have invested heavily in their plants, including Ohio, he said.
“This is not an investment in Beijing. This is an investment in Toledo, Ohio,” Mr. Brown said, in a coy reference to a misleading conservative newspaper.
The Washington Examiner item was based on a Bloomberg News report that said Chrysler was considering returning some Jeep production.
Chrysler, however, strongly denied the Examiner story’s claim that it would cease production in Toledo.
Matt Szollosi (D., Toledo) who represents Ohio House District 46 introduced Mr. Brown, saying he stood up for auto workers.
“This is what leadership is about,” he said.
In his 20 minute address, Mr. Brown repeated the Democrats’ mantra that the auto rescue saved hundreds of thousands of Ohio jobs and helped get the state’s economy moving and helped lower the unemployment rate.
In the depths of the recession, he said, Ohio’s unemployment rate stood at 10.6 percent; the latest report places it at 7 percent, he said.
In an interview with The Blade, Mr. Brown said the unemployment rate, while continuing its drop, still has people uncertain about their future.
“People are anxious,” he said, attributing that uncertainty for the close race between President Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney.
In his speech, Mr. Brown urged Democrats to fight the more than $29 million he said the U.S. Chamber of Commerce is spending to buy 45,000 ads to unseat him in favor of his GOP rival Josh Mandel.
He said special interests groups such as financial institutions and “big oil” that seek to loosen regulations are behind the money being funneled through the chamber.
He said Democrats have long stood for regulations that protect children in the workforce, health care, consumers, and workers’ rights. “It’s clear who’s on the side of the middle class and the working people in this country,” he said.
The dinner’s other featured speaker was Craig Robinson, the brother of First Lady Michelle Obama.
Mr. Robinson, head men’s basketball coach at Oregon State University and a star forward at Princeton University in the early 1980s, visited Toledo churches earlier in the day in a get-out-the-vote effort.
Contact Jim Sielicki at: firstname.lastname@example.org or 419-724-6050.