State And Regional

‘There is more that unites than divides us,’ Sen. Portman says in final floor speech

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Sen. Rob Portman, the Republican from Ohio, spoke about unity in his farewell speech from the floor of the U.S. Senate on Thursday afternoon.

>>PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Senator Rob Portman hosts round table in Dayton on opioid crisis

Elected in 2010, he represented Ohio in the Senate for 12 years. Portman announced in January 2021 that he was not running for reelection.

He thanked fellow Ohio Democratic Sen. Sherrod Brown for working with him across the aisle to get things done for Ohioans.

“Despite our differences, we made progress for Ohio together,” he said.

>>RELATED: Senator Portman announces funding for two Ohio airports, including Darke County

Portman was first elected to Ohio’s 2nd Congressional District in 1994 and reelected six times before resigning upon his appointment by President George W. Bush as the U.S. trade representative in 2005. He later served as director of Office of Management and Budget from 2006 to 2007.

“Servant leadership begins with a respect for constituents, by listening to them, and understanding their concerns,” Portman said. “And then, whenever possible, delivering results for them.”

He is concerned about the political rhetoric in this country, saying, “We need to do everything we can to restore faith in our democratic institutions, both for our own sake and so we can continue to be a shining beacon on the hill for the rest of the world.”

“While I no longer will be a member of this body, I urge all of my colleagues and constituents to remember that there is more that unites us than divides us,” Portman said.

>>J.D. Vance defeats Tim Ryan in race for U.S. Senate seat

He also said this about Senator-Elect J.D. Vance, who was elected in November as his replacement.

“J.D. has an impressive background of service in our military and in the private sector,” Portman said Thursday. “I know he wants to make a difference in the lives of Ohio workers and families, and I look forward to watching him in action here in the Senate.”

Vance, who defeated U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, Democrat from Ohio’s 13th Congressional district, will take Portman’s place in January when the 118th Congress begins on Jan. 3, 2023.