J.D. Vance, the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Ohio told a Dayton audience on Monday that President Joe Biden is to blame for inflation and that the nation needs tax cuts and regulatory reform.
Vance, who spoke during a Dayton Area Chamber of Commerce forum, criticized as inflationary Biden’s efforts to battle climate change by reducing dependence on fossil fuels. Vance opposes restrictions on oil and gas drilling and pipeline construction and he predicted that within two years the U.S. will be as dependent on imported energy as Europe.
Monday’s forum before an audience of about 70 people at the CareSource Pamela Morris Center follows one on Oct. 19 featuring U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, D-Howland Twp., who is Vance’s opponent in the race to succeed retiring U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio.
Vance of Cincinnati is a Middletown native, author of Hillbilly Elegy and co-founder of Narya, a venture capital firm in Cincinnati. Endorsed by former President Donald Trump, Vance is making his first bid for political office.
Vance said he does not invest in the oil and gas industries because of the regulatory environment. Vance said the regulations approved in the 1970s protect air and water but there needs to be a “cost-benefit analysis” on environmental rules.
He also criticized the Biden administration’s plan to bolster the ranks of the Internal Revenue Service to collect unpaid taxes. He said enforcement of tax law is too bureaucratic and complicated.
He said COVID-19 relief approved by Democrats in Congress under Biden put too much money into the economy, but he said relief funding signed by former president Trump did not contribute to inflation.
Vance also discussed business development in the Dayton region, saying the region should capitalize on its strengths, including a skilled workforce and strong higher education system.
”Dayton should try to be good at what Dayton’s good at,” Vance said. “Dayton should not try to become Silicon Dayton.”
Vance said his company invests “really high growth capital in businesses that are very likely to fail. So if you look at my business, if half of the businesses that I invest in fail, I’ve had a really good year.”
In comments made after the forum, Vance said bigger companies don’t bring the job growth that that smaller high-growth ones do.
“The thing I try to tell these guys is whether you are in Columbus or Cincinnati or here in Dayton or wherever, the business leaders should do as much as possible to invest in these new high-growth companies because that’s where the net job creation comes from,” Vance said.
Vance also discussed why he came to Dayton.
“It’s an important city to our entire economy here in the state of Ohio. But today I’m just talking to people about why we need to get inflation under control. We need to get our energy prices low again,” Vance said. “We need to make sure that we are providing commonsense tax and regulatory policy.”
Mayor responds to crime claims
Vance also was critical of crime in the city, a theme he and other Republican candidates have emphasized in campaigns this year.
“And especially here in Dayton we’ve got to get back to having commonsense law-and-order so people can go downtown and have a nice meal without fear of violence,” Vance said.
Violent crime, including murder, nonnegligent manslaughters, robberies, rapes and aggravated assaults declined in 2021 in Dayton, although authorities are concerned about a 25% rise in homicides during the first half of 2022, according to Dayton Police Department statistics.
“We’ve seen millions of dollars of investment in our downtown and it continues to grow into a vibrant destination for our region,” Dayton Mayor Jeffrey J. Mims Jr. said in response to Vance’s comment. “Overall, Dayton has had a 14% decrease in violent crime since 2020. Clearly, J.D. Vance has not spent much time in our community.”
Ryan’s press secretary Jordan Fuja portrayed Vance as out-of-touch with Ohio.
“While Tim was in Congress fighting like hell to bring good-paying jobs and new business opportunities back to Ohio, San Francisco phony J.D. Vance ditched Ohio, joined all the other vulture capitalists in California, and cashed in on companies that shipped jobs overseas,” said Fuja. “Small business owners and workers need a fighter in the Senate, not a sellout.”
Ryan has been in the U.S. House of Representatives for 19 years, serving two years in the Ohio Senate before that.
Local political scientists say the tight race is one of the most consequential in the nation as the two major political parties vie for control of the U.S. Senate, which is now led by Democrats.
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