‘More unites us than divides us’: Butler County lawmakers, political leaders react to Biden inauguration

President Joe Biden said during his inaugural speech Wednesday he will usher in a world of unity, and local lawmakers hope he will be true to his word as the nation is politically fractured.

Miami University political science professor John Forren said Biden’s inauguration as the 46th president “is especially powerful” as a symbol of democratic traditions and resiliency in light of the insurrection at the U.S. Capitol just two weeks ago.

“We spend so much time in American politics talking about what divides us, but this gathering where the leaders of both parties come together to celebrate the transfer of power under the law ... is a powerful reminder that much more unites us than divides us,” he said.

Butler County Republican Party Executive Chairman Todd Hall said everyone hopes for a united country, however, the partisan divide is tied to political policies and philosophies.

“Biden’s platform is the most liberal of any president in our history,” said Hall. “Conservatives will continue to stand strong for our principles and are not about to back down from what we know is right and best for America.”

Butler County Democratic Party Executive Chairman Brian Hester believes “healing and unity of the nation require truth and justice.”

“Today, America is turning the page where the government is no longer centered on the self-promotion of one person but the interest of the people instead,” Hester said. “We will finally end this pandemic, returning America to normalcy and its greatness.”

Some of Butler County’s lawmakers reflected on what the day meant for them, regardless of which political party’s nominee assumes the presidency.

“Every time a new president takes office I have the same prayer and that is that God will help them and lead them, guide them to make the right decisions,” said Ohio Rep. Sara Carruthers, R-Hamilton. “Because, no matter who the president is, whether I like them or not, if they fail, my country fails.”

Ohio Rep. Thomas Hall, R-Madison Twp., said it’s important for President Biden to not let his political party “control his vision.”

“He must realize bringing people together cannot happen with extreme party platforms,” he said. “If he wants to bring people together, he must engage with leaders from both political parties.”

In his inauguration speech, Biden said he “will be a president for all Americans.”

“And I promise you, I will fight as hard for those who did not support me as for those who did,” said Biden, and near the end of his 20-minute address, added, “I give you my word, I will always level with you.”

“The peaceful transfer of power and the inauguration reflects the enduring strength of our institution,” said Ohio Sen. George Lang, R-West Chester Twp. “Our nation is facing many challenges but there is no challenge too great for the American people to overcome together.”

Lang does encourage Congress and the Biden Administration to continue some of the Trump plans and programs, like the tax cuts and reduction in some of the business-related regulations, “because they were not only good for America but for Ohio as well.”

Some of Ohio’s federal lawmakers attended Biden’s inauguration at the U.S. Capitol.

Congressman Warren Davidson, R-Troy, said he looks “forward to finding common ground where possible while continuing to defend freedom, solve problems and serve people, rebuild our economy, and assert the principles that make America the land of opportunity.”

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Cincinnati, like Davidson, said he does “look forward to working with the new administration on areas where we agree in order to make a difference in the lives of Ohioans and all Americans.”

But there will be times of “respectful disagreement,” he said.

“Public service is a noble calling and anyone who serves deserves the respect of the American people, regardless of political affiliation,” he said.

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Cleveland, is hopeful of Biden’s presidency for American workers, but noted the history being made by Vice President Kamala Harris, the first Black woman and person of South Asian descent to ascend to the vice presidency.

“Millions of girls ― especially Black and brown girls ― all over the country are seeing that there is no limit to their dreams, and they belong in every room where decisions are made,” said Brown.