Saturday, December 03, 2005

Sherrod Brown hits the ground running

If Sherrod Brown is even half as hard-working and loyal in the Senate as he's been to members of his Congressional district, Ohio will be in great hands after 2006.

You could actually feel the warmth and appreciation directed towards him as he entered the Lorain Party Center this morning for a pancake breakfast to announce his candidacy.

As he walked in, the crowd jumped up to provide an extensive standing ovation that Brown's wife Connie Schultz later said left everyone emotional, particularly Sherrod.

No fan of corporate interests, Brown knows he faces a protracted and likely ugly battle from both Republicans inside Ohio and special interests outside of the state. Why? In Washington, Brown is the water acting on the rocks of special interest; he may not win most of the battles, but that never stops him from trying.

His response to those outsiders who will try to interfere in Ohio politics with the goal of blocking his success?

"Get out of my state," he said, his naturally gravelly voice deepening.

His speech, while brief, touched on what he sees as problematic in Washington, after reminding the crowd that history is rife with examples of Republicans and Democrats working together to bring about change --on civil rights and the environment, for instance.

Today, however, this doesn't happen. Rather, a small group of politicians rule corrupted by greed, paralyzed and beholden to the wealthiest lobby groups.

While he seems to still be finding his voice as a candidate to a small extent, Brown's resonance comes from his proven voting record - progressive, yes, but populist at heart.

Introducing her husband, Schultz, the Plain Dealer's Pulitzer winner, provided a very good explanation why Sherrod Brown's both trusted and admired by those who know him:

After a long night spent battling the recent Medicaid bill, finally heading home, Brown passed a woman headed for work. It was early in the morning and she was clearly dressed in a housekeeping uniform.

Brown called his wife, saying he "could hardly bear to look at her," because he knew what they just did to her by passing that legislation.

His Congressional history is full of similar examples where Brown has voted his conscience and taken his lumps for it - voting against the war, against CAFTA, and as a freshman Representative from Ohio, against NAFTA even though it meant working against the newly-elected Bill Clinton from his own party.

Reviewing his record, it seems being able to look people in the eye is they only litmust test for every vote he's made. Because he votes from his heart, his constiuents made it clear Saturday morning that Brown has earned theirs, as well.

Witness this article from The Mansfield News Journal. Comments from those in attendance at Brown's Friday night event are further evidence of Brown's impact on Ohioans. Transcript and video are also linked.

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