Josh Mandel received loud applause from a crowd of nearly 75 people on Wednesday afternoon during his visit to an ammunition factory in Galion.
Mandel, the former state treasurer, visited Galion LLC as part of his campaign to secure the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate seat held by incumbent Senator Rob Portman.
The Navy veteran is running against six other Republicans: venture capitalist and author JD Vance, investment banker Mike Gibbons, former Ohio Republican Party chairwoman Jane Timken, state senator Matt Dolan and businessmen Mark Pukita and Neil Patel.
“Now is not the time to send jelly Republicans to Washington,” Mandel said. “We need to send fighters with backbones of steel to Washington.”
Mandel calls Galion “the backbone of our country”
Galion LLC produces nearly 750,000 bales each month, according to Stanley Will, the company’s vice president of operations.
The company has 135 employees and makes approximately $25 million in military business each year.
“Having you do this here in Galion, Ohio is the backbone of our country,” Mandel said. “The second thing, you support American fighters.”
He told workers that both American manufacturing and the national military were important and a key part of both.
China, India and Mexico play too big a role in manufacturing, the candidate said, indicating that those jobs should be in Ohio.
“This is the fight ahead of us,” Mandel said.
He clarified that although he is a Republican, he considers himself more of a constitutional conservative.
“In Washington, I think the Republicans have been as bad as the Democrats,” Mandel said. “They’re giving the store to China and all these other countries. That’s why I say it’s time to fight. We have to send fighters to Washington.”
Confronting ‘weak establishment Republicans’
Mandel said too often Republicans sent to Washington try too cautiously to work with Democrats, only to be exploited when the Democratic Party holds a majority.
He said he called them “Soup and Sandwich Republicans.”
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“You know how you dunk your sandwich in soup and get a little soggy?” Mandel asked. “No more soggy, slimy Republicans.”
He said the next state senator will have to challenge not only Democrats, but also “weak establishment Republicans if they act like Democrats.”
Pro life, pro gun
His campaign’s next most important agenda, he said, was to protect life “from conception to natural death.”
“I think we have to do everything we can to stop the killing of innocent babies,” Mandel said.
He is also committed to protecting the Second Amendment rights of Ohioans.
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“Our rights to bear arms are given to us by God, not by the government,” Mandel said. “Although we have this great hunting tradition in Ohio, ultimately the reason we were lucky to have the Second Amendment was to fight government tyranny.”
He said the Second Amendment helps protect all other rights in the Constitution.
Pandemic “about power and control”
The COVID pandemic was an integral part of Mandel’s speech, especially the effect it had on nurses.
He said that at the start of the pandemic, nurses were forced to report to work to work long hours with little protection from illness, and they rose to the challenge.
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“Then when COVID rates are low, they tell those same nurses, ‘If you don’t get a vaccine, you’re fired,'” Mandel said. “Wait a second. How does that make sense?
“This thing was never about health or science, it was about power and control.”
“Oil and Gas Here in Ohio”
Energy was another key talking point during his visit to Galion, especially with gas pumps across town registering for $4 or more per gallon.
“The number one thing we can do to lower gas prices for Ohio families is to drill for oil and gas in America,” Mandel said. “I think Biden is crazy and wrong to push America to rely on other countries when we have an abundance of oil and gas here in Ohio.”
He said a combination of Ohio, West Virginia and Pennsylvania as a region is the third largest natural gas producer in the world.
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Reducing the cost of fuel will also help control the cost of food prices at the grocery store.
“The big spenders in Washington need to stop wasting our tax dollars,” Mandel said. “We need to reverse this horrible Biden inflation.”
Commits to “fighting for the American farmer”
Farmers in north-central Ohio are facing a tough year, the former treasurer acknowledged while at Galleon.
“As a United States senator, I will do everything I can to fight for the American farmer,” Mandel said.
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He said he was “fed up” with big business pushing for lawmakers to rely on agricultural inputs from foreign countries.
“I think we have the best farmers in the world,” Mandel said. “We need political leaders who understand the importance of developing American agriculture and moving away from dependence on foreign farms.”