Opinion: We Need Strong Leadership; Sen. Rob Portman Can Bring it


Jennifer Hutchinson 

Jennifer Hutchinson

Talks of the 2016 presidential race have been dominating the news in recent weeks and months. However, we can’t forget about other critical races going on, such as Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, is running for re-election.

He has been a leader in job creation and reform that showed real results in Ohio as well as throughout the country. For those of you who are not familiar with Portman, I, for one, think he is one of the most genuine and, frankly coolest, leaders in government that truly works for the American people.

For starters, Portman understands the meaning of hard work, fiscal responsibility and keeping jobs strong. He grew up in a small business family, Portman Equipment Company, started by his father. According to Portman’s website, his father and brother built the business from a small forklift dealership with five employees to one with more than 300 employees.

One thing that sets Portman apart from many other elected officials is that he actually gets things done and makes sure he is working in the best interest and benefit of his constituents. During his time in Congress, Portman played a key role in developing and promoting welfare reform efforts, while also supporting a balanced budget that passed in 1997. In fact, it is through these efforts that Portman was also able to work on successful bipartisan legislation, such as taxpayer rights and reductions, land conservation, drug prevention, and IRS reform, which earned him respect and commendation on both sides, according to his website.

After his time in Congress, Portman spent time working in cabinet positions as both the U.S. Trade Representative and director of the Office of Management and Budget before entering the Senate in 2010, according to his website.

Ohio is in great shape due to much of Portman’s work. Back when former Gov. Ted Strickland was in office, Ohio was in a state of crisis. There was an $8 billion dollar deficit with no sign of getting less debt, while we had also lost more than 350,000 jobs and were then number 48th in job creation.

Now, since Gov. John Kasich has been in office, he and Portman have reduced taxes by $3 billion, while still having a $1.5 billion surplus, according to Kasich’s website.

A pivotal moment in Portman’s career, however, was his change in stance and outspoken support of gay marriage. Portman was one of the first Republican senators to support gay marriage, a decision that came after his son had come out publicly as gay. While Portman received some backlash for his newly found opinion, I think he proved himself to be a modern-day Republican that many can relate themselves to. This position marked Portman as a leader who sticks to what he believes and shows that you can be a strong Republican leader without having to agree on every issue or position.

We need to keep hardworking officials like Portman in office. His ideas and commitment to results have made him into a reliable and genuine representative that is consistently at work to help benefit people of our age, and all ages, and one that I am happy to support.

Jennifer Hutchinson is a sophomore political science major. Contact Jennifer Hutchinson at [email protected].