Attending the State of the Union address on Tuesday was an experience of a lifetime, said Middletown police Chief Rodney Muterspaw after his whirlwind trip to Washington, D.C.
“Just to be in the same room with the president, Supreme Court (justices), Congress and the Senate, military generals and other powerful people was really surreal. It was strange experience,” Muterspaw said. “It was a life highlight.”
He said he would not have been there without the hard work of city employees
“I wish I could have taken them all,” Muterspaw said.
He arrived in Washington on Tuesday morning after returning from a family vacation. He spent the day with his host, U.S. Rep. Warren Davidson, R-Troy, who showed him around the Capitol Building. He attended receptions at the Library of Congress and in the Capitol before heading to the House of Representatives Chamber for the address by President Donald Trump.
“While I was at a reception at the Library of Congress, I looked around and asked myself, ‘How did I get here?’” Muterspaw said. “I was there to represent the city of Middletown.”
During the receptions, Muterspaw spent time talking with lawmakers of various types, Republican and Democrat, liberal and conservative. While at one reception, he saw Buzz Aldrin, the second man to walk on the moon. Muterspaw said he talked about Middie football with former Ohio State head coach Jim Tressel, who is now the president of Youngstown State University.
“You have some of the most powerful people in the world in that room, and it didn’t feel like it,” he said. “Every Congressman and senator I talked to or had a drink with was very personable.
“We all have the same issues, human trafficking, the opioid issue. Everyone is concerned but they all have different paths in solving these problems. Everyone was so accommodating and nice to us. I didn’t feel that anyone was better than us. Everyone was genuinely nice to us.”
He also found that lawmakers from Indiana and Kentucky have heard about Middletown’s efforts to fight the opioid epidemic.
“That was really positive to hear,” he said.
Muterspaw said he spent some time with Davidson to discuss human trafficking enforcement plans. He said Davidson wants to do something about this issue throughout the 8th District.
“Human trafficking is a real thing in America and people don’t take it seriously,” he said.
Muterspaw, who is active on social media, said he had to leave his cell phone in Davidson’s office until after the address, as they were not permitted inside the House chamber.
“It was nice not having a cell phone for five hours,” he said.
He was seated at 8 p.m. in the second row of the gallery directly across from the dais where the president spoke and said the chamber was packed by 8:15 p.m. and it didn’t start until 9 p.m.
“Seeing the president come in and watching that go down, and then watching the battles between some of the Democrats and Republicans, which was kind of funny,” Muterpaw said.
During the president’s address, Muterspaw said he was able to watch lawmakers’ reactions during the speech and said watching the mannerisms the eye-rolling, looking at each other when Trump said something, was “comical.”
“The president had some great points, he really did,” Muterspaw said. “I know a lot of people struggle with him sometimes. But to me he focused on human trafficking, the cartel and things like that. As a law enforcement officer that’s what hit me. Because he’s right.
“When people who roll their eyes at those comments about the cartel and drugs, they’re not out there fighting it every day like our people are. They know where the problems are. So its hard to accept people who say he doesn’t know what he’s talking about because he does.”