Republican John Bridgeland wrote a scathing editorial warning Ohio voters against J.D. Vance. John M. Bridgeland is a native of Cincinnati. He is CEO of Civic, a social enterprise firm in Washington, D.C.; former director of the White House Domestic Policy Council for President George W. Bush; and former chief of staff for congressman Rob Portman, R-Terrace Park – who is now a U.S. senator.
“The 2022 election for U.S. Senate in Ohio calls the question on what kind of representatives we seek and nation we want to be. I have the privilege of knowing both candidates and am forming “Republicans for Tim Ryan.”
I’m a Republican because I believe in big citizenship rather than big government, in respecting individual rights as well as responsibilities, and in tapping the goodness and entrepreneurial spirit of Americans to solve problems rather than relying on distant government bureaucracies.
It has been the party of Abraham Lincoln, Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and many others who served in times of national crisis. The party has had leaders who both represent the American people and inspire the better angels of our nature. Many Democrats and independents also share these values.
Over the last 20 years, I have worked to address the high school dropout crisis. In the process, a U.S. congressman from Ohio I didn’t know called my cellphone and spent 45 minutes talking about how we could improve outcomes for children in low-performing schools. He listened, probed for evidence of effective reforms and remains a national champion for boosting the life prospects of children. I was struck by this congressman’s character, intelligence and passion for helping people. His name is Tim Ryan.
In recent years, dear friends of mine joined forces with the author of a book called “Hillbilly Elegy” to boost entrepreneurship across America. I was interested because my father grew up in poverty in Akron and Bellville, Ohio. I invited the author to join me as a keynote speaker at a national conference with the country’s public media stations. He was smart and shared thoughtful insights. His name is JD Vance.
Since then, as I have followed Ohio’s Senate race, I have been alarmed that Vance has become unrecognizable to me and many who know him much better. After calling candidate Donald Trump “reprehensible” and an “idiot” and comparing Trumpism to opioid addiction, he reversed course when running for the Republican nomination for Senate.
Vance then promoted the myth that Trump won the presidential election, even though Republican reviews of court cases show no consequential evidence of fraud.
Vance also said that he did not care one way or another what happened to Ukraine as millions suffered. I know of the suffering, because we organized the Ukrainian-American community to help find sponsors for those fleeing Ukraine.
Vance went on to do anything to win an endorsement from a former president who incited an insurrection to overthrow the will of the people and undercut our democracy. Lives were lost, including police officers who defended our Capitol.
The test of our character is found not in times of comfort, but in times of challenge. Running for public office is such a test.
If Vance is willing to undermine his own integrity and character for public office, imagine what he might do if he were a U.S. senator – I fear whatever it took to remain in office.
Vance’s campaign has also been anemic, lacking the energy of the U.S. senator he is trying to replace – Rob Portman, who worked hard in every county in Ohio and brought people together instead of tearing them apart.
In contrast, I have been impressed by Ryan’s energy on the campaign trail, his love of our democracy, many of his policies and his good character. The same man who reached out to a Republican like me 10 years ago is reaching out to Ohioans across politics and other divisions – to farmers, small-business leaders, veterans, parents, teachers, students and people in heavily Republican counties – to understand their concerns.
In doing so, I see the same man I saw a decade ago – a person of good character, who believes in people’s ability to work together to solve tough challenges and who recognizes that citizen – not senator – is the highest office in the land.
There is also a lot to like about Ryan’s policies, whether you are a Republican or Democrat – working for good manufacturing jobs and trained workers to fill them; supporting new industrial technologies; promoting the bipartisan Earned Income Tax Credit to help people lift themselves out of poverty; and writing a book about resurrecting the American spirit.
We live in a time of national division that is undercutting our ability to solve our greatest challenges. America needs to dream again. For goodness’ sake, Ohio is the cradle of aviation, sent a native son to the moon, produced the most U.S. presidents and has top five college and Super Bowl football!
We need elected leaders whom we can trust, know who they are, put their faith in people, cross divisions to pull us together and inspire us again to greatness.
Ryan is such a man, and as a Republican, I could not be prouder to support him.”
Hard to argue against his reasoning. Good luck Ohio.