Renacci visits Kent Victory Center

Kelly Maile

Excitement and anticipation filled the air at Kent Victory Center, 175 E. Erie St., Tuesday evening as busy volunteers manned phone stations and interns decorated the room with “Jim Renacci for Congress” signs in preparation for Rep. Jim Renacci’s arrival to Kent.

“Right now, we’ve got a pretty full house and he hasn’t even showed up yet,” said Alex Buckbee, a Kent Romney and Ryan intern. “I imagine this place to be packed.”

Buckbee, who has been interning at Kent Victory Center for over a month, said the full house isn’t anything unusual.

“When I first came up here, I didn’t know what to expect with how many people and volunteers,” Buckbee said. “But there’s always a lot of people working really hard here.”

Buckbee said Kent Victory Center volunteers make phone calls all day and interns go door to door in Kent, all with one goal in mind: “We’re trying as hard as we can to get Mitt Romney and Jim Renacci elected.”

Around 5 p.m., word spread that Rep. Renacci was in the building. A crowd of volunteers dropped their phones and picked up red, white and blue pom poms in support of Jim Renacci, the U.S. Representative for Ohio’s 16th congressional district.

As he stepped into the room, Rep. Renacci smiled and made his way through the crowd, introducing himself and shaking the hands of nearly every volunteer and supporter.

After a few pictures and autograph signings, the room grew quiet and Rep. Renacci took his place at a podium in the front of the room.

“It’s so great to see so many volunteers,” Renacci said. “I mean that is really the key. We’re down to seven days, and we’ve all got to keep pushing and pushing and pushing.”

Rep. Renacci started off his speech by telling the crowd about his opportunity to meet with Gov. Mitt Romney yesterday.

“You’re going to continue to hear about him and see him here in Ohio because let’s face it, in seven days, it’s going to be the most important election of not only your lifetime, but of our country’s lifetime.”

The crowd cheered in agreement.

“I’ve had to be down there for 22 months, and I can tell you that Washington is broken. And in 2010 everybody worked very hard to make a difference, and we did, we sent 86 new members to congress.”

However, Rep. Renacci said it’s time for a bigger change.

“As I’ve said now at a couple of these rallies, 2012 is when we seal the deal,” Rep. Renacci said. “Seven days from now is when we take everything back and make this country go in a different direction because we can’t continue to go the way we’re going.”

Rep. Renacci believes we’re spending too much and debt is growing too high.

“This is the record of the current president: We have 23 million people looking for full-time jobs, 47 million on food stamps and 49 million in poverty. This is not the direction this country should be going in.”

One of Rep. Renacci’s goals is to make sure children have the same opportunity he had. Renacci proudly told the crowd he comes from a family that didn’t have very much. However, his parents taught him at a young age that opportunity is available to anybody who works hard.

Rep. Renacci scanned the room, making eye contact with many young college students, as if to speak to them directly.

“I’ve always realized that this country gives us opportunity, but we’re losing that opportunity. A lot of you who are coming out of college right now are not going to have the same opportunities,” Renacci said. “We’ve got to make it happen this year.”

Rep. Renacci said this election is so important because it’s the difference between continuing failed policies and changing our direction. Renacci spoke of his opponent, Democratic Rep. Betty Sutton.

“If my partner and I agree on one thing, it’s that we’re polar opposites. She believes in more taxes and bigger government,” Rep. Renacci said. “I believe in less taxes, and I believe in less government. I believe that the people should keep the money they make, as much as they can.”

Rep. Renacci expressed that the next seven days are critical to this election.

“I’ve got to tell you that the change happens with everybody here, and Governor Romney and I need your help,” Renacci said. “McCain actually won on election day. I don’t know if people realize that, but he lost the early voting.”

Renacci said they are doing well in early voting, but he is determined to not let Election Day get away from the Republican Party.

“It used to be you’re not supposed to talk politics or religion at the dinner table, but now you are now,” Renacci said. “Life has changed so much — you want to talk about politics, you want to talk about some of the things the President is changing. We have to talk about what is at jeopardy.”

As the crowd applauded, Renacci urged everyone to keep making phone calls, keep knocking on doors and keep pushing for the next seven days.

“This election is going to be critical, it’s going to be close, but it’s also going to be Ohio that makes the difference,” Renacci said. “It’s unbelievable to hear about what’s going on in Portage County. Just do me one favor: Do it for seven more days. Lets keep pushing through this. We are on the 2 yard line, it’s a tie game and we have the ball.”

Contact Kelly Maile at [email protected].