Brown touts record to local business leaders

Published: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @ 8:00 PM
Updated: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 @ 8:00 PM

Complete coverage

The U.S. Senate race in Ohio is one of the most expensive in the nation and key to which party controls the Senate. We’re following this race closely and covering both sides. Here’s a look at some of our coverage:

* On Sept. 11, Republican candidate Josh Mandel addressed the Dayton Chamber of Commerce and we had full coverage in last Wednesday’s paper.

* On Sept. 30: We will have profiles of both Josh Mandel and Sherrod Brown in the newspaper.

* In October: Brown and Mandel will have three debates and we will cover all of them. The debates are Oct. 15, 18, 25. Our Columbus Bureau reporter Laura A. Bischoff will be one of the journalists questioning the candidates on Oct. 18.

* Online: Last month, we took an in-depth look at where Brown and Mandel stand on issues such as the debt and health care. Read those stories at

Democratic U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown discussed manufacturing, health care and the federal budget Tuesday, as he addressed the Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce seven weeks before the November election.

Brown, finishing his first Senate term after 14 years in the U.S. House, is running against Republican state Treasurer Josh Mandel, who addressed the Dayton Chamber last week. Most recent polls show Brown with a single-digit lead.

Brown said America needs a cohesive manufacturing strategy, including better workforce training, after losing 5 million manufacturing jobs from 2000 to 2010.

“Since early 2010, we’ve gained about 500,000 manufacturing jobs nationally – nothing like the 5 million we lost – but it was the first time … we had job growth in manufacturing since something like 1999,” Brown said.

Brown repeatedly pointed out Ohio companies and Miami Valley business leaders he has worked with. He pointed to his efforts to help expand the Ohio supply chain for Airbus, and spotlighted his continuing fight against China’s trade policies, listing Harco Manufacturing Group of Moraine as a local business that is hurt by currency manipulation.

During a question-and-answer session, two business owners quizzed him on his support for health care reform, with one of them blaming the Affordable Care Act for a recent surge in health care costs for his company. Brown said he was proud to have voted for the bill.

“Costs (to employers and employees) are not going up as sharply, partly because of this health care law,” Brown said after Tuesday’s event.

Brown called the federal sequestration budget process “a bipartisan creation of Congress.”

“I can’t imagine we can deal with sequestration without some defense cuts, some non-defense discretionary cuts, some work on Medicare … something about Medicaid and something with taxes,” Brown said. “I can’t imagine that we won’t do all of the above. Because you can’t get to the numbers you’ve gotta get just by cutting Head Start, just cutting National Institutes of Health and EPA enforcement.”

Travis Considine, spokesman for Mandel’s campaign, said Mandel “supports a budget that protects defense from sequestration by switching the scheduled cuts to non-defense discretionary spending this year and going forward.” He also argued that the health care bill Brown supported would kill Ohio jobs and said 66 percent of Ohio voters “symbolically rejected” health care reform when they voted for a 2011 state issue on freedom to choose health care coverage.

Concealed handguns allowed in more places in Ohio

Published: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 4:18 PM
Updated: Saturday, April 22, 2017 @ 4:18 PM

Ohio’s expanded concealed carry weapons (CCW) law has been in place for a month, allowing people with CCW permits to bring their handguns into previously forbidden places, including child care centers, workplace parking lots and airport terminals.

RELATED: Guns at work: New law allows handguns on private property

Ohio legislators passed the bill in the December lame duck session and it was signed by Ohio Gov. John Kasich, taking effect March 21.

RELATED: 5 things to know about Ohio’s CCW law

The bill was controversial. Business leaders opposed the bill, arguing that it is a government mandate requiring them to let employees bring their guns onto company property even if the business has a no-guns policy.

RELATED: Business groups lament Ohio expanded gun laws

Gun safety advocates said it would make people less safe and criticized Ohio’s continued push to expand the places where guns are allowed. The state has been broadening the concealed carry law since it was first passed in 2004.

RELATED: do concealed-carry laws make us safer?

“I just don’t think the proliferation of guns everywhere is an answer,” said Ohio House Minority Leader Fred Strahorn, D-Dayton. “The straw that broke the camel’s back is the personal property issue.”

But proponents of expanded concealed carry rights said the new law gives people the ability to exercise their Second Amendment rights and to protect themselves with handguns in more places.

State Rep. Niraj Antani, R-Miamisburg, said he supported the expanded gun rights bill because it “was a very pro-Second Amendment bill.”

“The vast majority of CCW holders are good citizens and law-abiding,” Antani said.

RELATED: CCW Expansion is latest effort to broaden gun laws in Ohio

All 50 states and the District of Columbia have some form of concealed-carry. About half allow people to bring their guns to the parking lot of their workplace.

RELATED: Hundreds killed by guns in workplace

Ohio’s law covers only people who have concealed carry permits for handguns. They may bring the gun to their workplace parking lot as long as it is kept locked in their vehicle. A company many not discipline them for doing so.

RELATED: 9 Workplace Shooting incidents in Ohio and the U.S.

RELATED: Tips to avoid gun violence at work

The law aso expands CCW rights in school zones and airport terminals. It gives government officials - such as county commissioners or city councils - and the trustees of colleges and universities the ability to vote to allow concealed carry on their premises.

RELATED: Residents respond to new law allowing guns on private property

Businesses were already permitted to allow guns on their property but the law expands that rule to child care centers, which had been prohibited from allowing people to bring in guns.

There are limitations for federal facilities, such as Wright-Patterson Air Force Base and post offices, which can continue to ban guns from their property.

RELATED: Wright-Patt employees can’t bring handguns to work

RELATED: Open-carry rally held to protest Walmart shooting

Jon Husted takes steps toward run for Ohio governor

Published: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 3:25 PM
Updated: Friday, April 21, 2017 @ 4:57 PM

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted will speak at Cedarville University later this month. Husted is contemplating a run for governor of Ohio.
Staff Writer

Ohio Secretary of State Jon Husted’s as-yet-unannounced bid for governor moved forward today with the announcement that his office’s press secretary would join the Husted for Ohio campaign.

Josh Eck said his last day in the office was today and he will become a spokesman for the campaign.

“I have been a fan of Jon Husted’s since before I worked for him. He’s been pretty clear that he’s looking at what the future holds for him and I want to be supportive of that future however I can,” Eck said.

“I think very highly of him and I think there are a lot of people in Ohio that think very highly of him.”

Husted formerly represented the Kettering area in the Ohio House of Representatives and Senate and also served as House Speaker.

He is one of several Republicans and Democrats who are expected to run in 2018.

“I think he will be making a decision here very shortly,” Eck said.

RELATED: Mike DeWine confirms run for Ohio governor in 2018 

This week political analyst Larry Sabato’s Crystal Ball publication said Ohio leans Republican for 2018 and that the GOP has a “strong bench” with Husted, Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, Lt. Gov. Mary Taylor and U.S. Rep. Jim Renacci, R-Wadsworth, all possible contenders.

RELATED: DeWine, Husted each have $2.5 million on hand for 2018 run

Democrats who have said they are running or are interested include Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former state representative Connie Pillich of Montgomery, state Sen. Joe Schiavoni, D-Boardman and former U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton of Copely.

RELATED: 2018 Gov race: Ohio leaning Republican; Dayton mayor strong for Dems

“Sutton and Whaley are probably the most credible candidates in that group,” according to the Sabato report, published by the University of Virginia Center for Politics.

RELATED: Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley considering run for governor

There is speculation that Dennis Kucinich, a former congressman and ex-Cleveland mayor, would throw his hat into the Democratic primary as well. He is appearing in Columbus and in Washington Twp. on Monday. He will talk about the privatization of public education and is not expected to announce a bid for governor at that time, said Andrew Wilson, a spokesman for Public Education Partners, which is organizing the local visit.

U.S. Consumer Finance Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray, a former state attorney general and treasurer, is also seen as a potential contender in the Democratic primary.

RELATED: Ohio’s elections chief at odds with Trump over claims of voter fraud 

 RELATED: Ohio vote audit results came back clean 

RELATED: Ohio may change the way Congressional lines are drawn

Top Air Force general says budget is main concern

Published: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 11:18 AM
Updated: Wednesday, April 19, 2017 @ 11:18 AM

Our military affairs reporter Barrie Barber had a 1-on-1 interview with the top general of the Air Force Gen. David Goldfein on Tuesday.

Goldfein said plainly that his top concern is the federal budget.

“For a service chief, the most important thing for me in terms of trying to really deliver for the nation is predictable funding because without it you just can’t plan,” he said. “If you’re going from year to year, it’s almost impossible to do any kind of long-term planning and it wreaks havoc on industry who is trying to deliver for us.

Read more on our interview with Goldfein ad watch video here

Hero to some, Ohio’s Cordray under fire from GOP, banks.

Published: Sunday, April 16, 2017 @ 10:51 AM

            Richard Cordray, director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, testifies on Sept. 20, 2016 before the Senate Committee on Banking, Housing and Urban Affairs about Wells Fargo. (Ron Sachs/CNP/Sipa USA/TNS)
            Ron Sachs/CNP

During a House committee hearing this month, Republicans launched a torrent of attacks against former Ohio Attorney General Richard Cordray, whose job as director of a federal agency is to protect consumers in their dealings with financial institutions.

“For all the harm inflicted upon consumers,” Cordray should be fired, said one Republican.

“You have a rotting agency,” barked a second.

“Asleep at the wheel” during the Wells Fargo Bank investigation snapped a third.

Finally Rep. Michael Capuano, D-Mass., told Cordray sympathetically, “Boy, they really hate you, don’t they?”

Cordray, a former state treasurer and attorney general in Ohio who is often touted as a possible candidate for governor in 2018, has emerged as the federal official conservatives, credit unions, payday lenders, and community banks just love to hate.

As director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Cordray and his allies claim the bureau has refunded $12 billion to nearly 30 million financial consumers while levying $600 million in fines to financial institutions.

Just last year, the bureau, the U.S. Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer concluded an investigation showing that Wells Fargo employees opened thousands of bank accounts without customer approval, prompting Cordray’s bureau to impose $185 million in penalties and refunds to consumers.

Yet even as Democrats such as Feuer say the work of Cordray and the bureau “to protect consumers matter now more than ever,” Republicans have regularly castigated it as the worst part of the financial regulation law approved by Congress after the 2008 financial collapse on Wall Street, which was fueled in part by the spread of shaky sub-prime home mortgage loans.

Not only did last year’s Republican platform assert Cordray has “dictatorial powers unique in the American Republic,” but at this month’s hearing, House Financial Services Committee Chairman Jeb Hensarling, R-Texas, complained that “under Mr. Cordray’s leadership,” the consumer bureau “has shown an utter disregard for protecting our markets and has made credit more expensive and less available in many instances.”

Not a ‘flame thrower’

That Cordray would be the subject of such vitriol may have more to do with the office he runs than the person he is.

“This is not some flame thrower,” said Norman I. Silber, professor of consumer law at Hofstra Law School. “This is a person who has a very solid grasp of what the important problems are, and what the problems are that one can do something about.”

Unless President Donald Trump fires Cordray, he likely will remain in his post until his term expires in July of 2018. And while conservatives in Washington would love to have Cordray fired, some Ohio Republicans have urged Trump to keep him in office, fearing he would enjoy a political bump if fired by the Republican president.

“Canonizing Cordray” by firing him would make “him the odds-on favorite for getting the Democratic nomination for governor,” said Dennis Eckart, a former Democratic congressman from Cleveland. “He would be clearly defined by Trump’s own actions as the anti-Trump candidate.”

Cordray’s office did not make him available for an interview, preferring to provide written responses to questions. Those written responses shed little light on whether he plans to run for governor next year.

“I am 100 percent focused on my job to protect consumers.” he wrote in answer to the questions.

Republicans aren’t convinced. During the hearing, Hensarling sarcastically expressed surprise to see Cordray at the witness table because “there have been many press reports saying that you would have otherwise returned to Ohio to pursue a gubernatorial bid.”

Cordray and the bureau have been in the bulls-eye of conservatives and some financial institutions since the bureau was first championed by Elizabeth Warren, now a U.S. senator from Massachusetts.

With the Senate refusing to confirm Cordray’s nomination in 2011, President Barack Obama used a recess appointment to place him in the director’s post. Not until 2014 with the support of Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown and Republican Sen. Rob Portman did the Senate confirm Cordray.

Court fight

Among the accomplishments claimed by the bureau are regulations requiring financial institutions to write terms of credit card agreements and home mortgage loans in an easy-to-understand manner.

“They took complicated financial information and simplified it,” said Ryan Schick, a former small business adviser to Columbus Mayor Andrew Ginther. Schick said small business owners told him the consumer bureau has “peeled away some of the smoke.”

But the opposition has continued with Portman himself objecting to the bureau’s structure. He and many financial institutions have argued that placing the authority to run the bureau in the hands of a single director is unconstitutional, pushing instead for a board of commissioners such as the Federal Elections Commission.

In a 2-1 vote last October, a three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled that the director set-up violated the Constitution because the president could only fire the director for cause, such as neglecting his work. The full appeals court will hear the case later this year and it could well into next year before it goes before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Defenders of placing power in the hands of a single director say it leads to rapid decisions. But Aaron Stetter, executive vice president of the Independent Community Bankers of America, said, “From our perspective, it’s not about quick decisions; it’s about getting the decisions right. The five- member board would allow the opportunity to get good deliberative decisions.”

Although Stetter said he did not “have an issue” with Cordray’s “performance,” he complained about the “accumulation of the regulations that community banks have to comply with.

“That takes them from doing their primary job of serving their customers,” he said.

Community banks — some in this area include Woodforest National Bank in Dayton, WestBanco Bank in Beavercreek, and Farmers and Merchants Bank in Miamisburg — tend to be smaller than the banking giants on Wall Street.

In his quiet style, Cordray has firmly defended the consumer bureau. During his appearance before Hensarling’s committee, Cordray said “those who talk about weakening or destroying the Consumer Bureau are missing the importance of the work we are doing to stand up for individuals and families all over this country.”

“Nobody should want to return to a system that failed us and produced a financial crisis that damaged so many lives,” he said.

Marty Schladen of the Columbus Dispatch contributed to this story.

What you need to know about the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

  • Congress created the bureau in the 2010 financial regulation bill known as Dodd-Frank. It began operations in July of 2011 and Richard Cordray became its director in January of 2012.
  • It was designed to provide transparency for consumers in financial transactions, and to investigate complaints filed by consumers against financial institutions of all sizes. Tips to the bureau in 2013 were a factor in the investigation into Wells Fargo Bank.
  • The bureau claims it has refunded $12 billion to 29 million consumers since it began operations — a point made by supporters.
  • Critics — community banks, payday lenders and credit unions in particular — complain Cordray’s office overwhelms them with burdensome regulations that make it more difficult to loan money to consumers. Republicans in Congress have targeted the agency since the beginning.
  • It almost certainly will survive, but perhaps as a commission as opposed to a single director. A three-judge panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals last October ruled the single director concept violated the Constitution because the president could only fire the director for cause, such as neglecting his or her duties. But the case could drag on well past the time Cordray’s term in office expires in July of 2018.

By the numbers

  • $12B: Amount of money the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau says it has refunded to nearly 30 million consumers.
  • $600M: Fines levied against financial institutions since the agency began operations in July 2011.
  • $185M: Amount of penalties and refunds to customers that resulted after Wells Fargo Bank employees opened thousands of bank accounts without customer approval.