Government

Ahead of Rally, Democrats Decry Trump

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Democrats have to do a better job of explaining how the policies they support will benefit working-class voters, a key part of the party’s new initiative, state party chairman David Pepper said.

Correcting that is a major component of “A Better Deal,” a nationwide initiative Democrats unveiled earlier Monday.

“We’ve lost elections even though people agree with our policy ideas but we haven’t been good about talking to them,” Pepper said at a news conference this morning intended as a advance rebuttal to President Donald Trump’s rally at the Covelli Centre.

“The idea is for Democrats to be a lot smarter about communicating with their votes in the way that Joe Biden always has – at the gut level – and make people see that we’re fighting for them,” Pepper added.

Pepper joined Mahoning County Democratic Party Chairman David Betras and Youngstown Democratic mayoral candidate Jamael Tito Brown for the news conference, held near Northside Medical Center.

Both Pepper and Betras decried Trump’s failures to keep the promises he made to Mahoning Valley voters to bring back jobs, fund infrastructure improvements and improve health care. He also has taken actions against the state’s interests by proposing the defunding of the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“One of the very clear promises he made was that he would not go after Medicaid,” Pepper said.

The Senate today will vote on whether to open debate on Republican-backed plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act, which expanded Medicaid.

The Ohio Hospital Association estimates that cutting expanded Medicaid coverage would put a quarter of all Ohio hospitals at risk of closing, Pepper said, and would cripple efforts to fight the opioid crisis in Ohio, which leads the nation in opioid-related deaths.

“As a former social worker, I saw first hand how not having affordable health care affected the families I worked with,” said mayoral candidate Brown. Expanded Medicaid is critical for the people in the Mahoning Valley, he said.

Trump won support from Mahoning County voters because he presented himself as a different kind of Republican, he continued.

“It can’t just be about campaign speech after campaign speech. It’s got to be about putting the people first and putting your money where your mouth is,” he said.

The theme of the counter-protest downtown is “Promises Made, Promises Broken,” Betras said. Trump lost in Mahoning County because voters saw through his “empty campaign promises,” he said.

Betras noted that Trump has “not done one damn thing” to address trade with China and has backed off a pledge to label China a currency manipulator.

Instead, he and his family have “personally enriched” themselves from deals with China, including receiving dozens of new trademarks there, Betras said. He also pointed out that Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort applied for 70 foreign workers, and that all of the products sold by his daughter Ivanka Trump’s company are made outside the United States.

“Talk is cheap. Tweets are cheap,” Betras said. “Youngstown doesn’t need any more broken promises from Donald Trump. We don’t need any more campaign rallies.”

Pictured: Jamael Tito Brown, the Democratic candidate for Youngstown mayor, speaks ahead of President Trump’s visit to the Mahoning Valley. With him are Ohio Democratic Party Chairman David Pepper and Mahoning County Democratic Chairman David Betras.

Published by The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.