LORAIN — The city’s congressional representative, Marcy Kaptur, wants to see its former congressional representative, Betty Sutton, representing Lorain again.
But this time in Columbus as governor.
During the annual Labor Day Family Celebration at Black River Landing, Kaptur, D-Toledo, voiced support for Sutton’s 2018 Democratic gubernatorial bid, saying she fought for Lorain when she was a congresswoman and she would keep fighting.
“The beautiful banks of Lorain for so many years were neglected, and we’re here in this beautiful setting on a structure that didn’t exist a few years ago at a time when you had a different congresswoman who represented the area, who thought that this should be created along with the Lorain ferry,” Kaptur said. “You can see Lorain coming back a piece at a time despite the challenges for the men and women that live here and believe in its future.”
Sutton represented Lorain County in Congress when it was part of the 13th District; Lorain became a part of Kaptur’s 9th District after the districts were redrawn before the 2012 election.
“She has served Lorain. You know her work. Be ready for Betty,” Kaptur said. “She hails from the Akron area but was able to do things of significance to help Lorain’s progress forward. She fought for the automotive refinancing that helped the companies restructure. She continues that fight every day. It’s my privilege to endorse her in the governor’s race.”
Sutton said as governor one of the major things she would do to improve worker relations would be to establish a labor department and make Ohio the “opportunity state.”
“My goal as governor of Ohio is to make this the opportunity state where workers and businesses work together,” she said. “We hear that corporations are people? Well, I don’t agree that corporations are people. People are people, and we need to have an economy that works for all of us. We get there by focusing on making things work for workers, which isn’t where we live today.”
Sutton said Ohio is lagging behind the rest of the country when it comes to job creation but is leading in areas such as the opioid epidemic.
“Some would say making Ohio the opportunity state is unachievable, but we can chart a new course and empower the people of our state with the opportunities they deserve,” she said. “With different leadership, we can empower families and seniors for a good quality of life.”
State Rep. Dan Ramos, D-Lorain, said one of the major problems is that labor groups end up fighting for their own individual interests and sometimes with each other rather than looking at the real obstacle.
“I mean President (Donald) Trump, Gov. (John) Kasich and all of the Republicans elected in the Statehouse and in Congress because they want us to look at smaller issues while they carry out their main goal. And what is that?” he said. “It’s to make sure that their billion-dollar buddies get everything from us.”
City Councilwoman Mary Springowski, D-at large, said while unions are against right-to-work legislation, which prevents unions and employers from entering into agreements, they are not against people having the right to work.
“We are not against right to work,” she said. “We want everyone to be able to work. You talk about twisting words and outright lies? Their problem is that we want everyone to have the right to work in a safe place or working a day for a fair wage. We want everyone to be able to go to work and come home in one piece and be able to balance work with family life.”
Valarie Long, the international executive vice president for Service Employees International Union, said things were different when she was growing up in Lorain, but expanding unions could improve things today.
“My father and his father before him grew up and lived union in the city of Lorain,” she said. “They worked at National Tube back in the ’60s and ’70s, and because of that I was able to live in houses that my parents and grandparents owned. I had plenty of food. I went to the doctor when I was sick. A lot of people in Lorain lived like that then. We had the basics and a sense of security.
“Politicians say a lot about wanting to bring back manufacturing jobs, but we need to unionize the jobs we have now in places like the service industry.”
While U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown wasn’t able to attend the event, a member of his staff, Beth Thames, received a boxing glove from Communications Workers of America members along with 500 thank-you cards on his behalf for co-sponsoring the U.S. Call Center Workers and Consumer Protection Act.
Thames read a note Brown sent in his absence.
“This Labor Day, we honor the American workers who built this country,” she read. “They represent a strong middle class and with it the strongest nation the world has ever known. Today it’s still American workers who power this country, but their hard work isn’t paying off the way it used to. It’s time we did something about it.”
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