Sen. Sherrod Brown in Springfield: ‘We’re communities that fight back’

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown met with dozens of people to shake hands and take pictures following his keynote speech at the Clark County Democratic Party’s Annual Freedom Dinner at Courtyard by Marriott on Thursday. Photo by Brett Turner
U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown met with dozens of people to shake hands and take pictures following his keynote speech at the Clark County Democratic Party’s Annual Freedom Dinner at Courtyard by Marriott on Thursday. Photo by Brett Turner

U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown sees several parallels shared by Springfield and his hometown of Mansfield – being hit by globalization and young people leaving among the challenges, but something resilient as well.

“We’re communities that fight back,” the Ohio Democratic Senator said.

About 275 people turned out to hear Brown’s “Dignity of Work” message as honorary guest speaker at the Clark County Democratic Party’s Annual Freedom Dinner at Courtyard by Marriott on Thursday.

Brown’s visit came one day before Friday evening’s scheduled by Gov. Mike DeWine as the keynote speaker at the Clark County Republican Party’s annual Lincoln Day Dinner.

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Flying in from a late vote in Washington, D.C. earlier in the day, Brown spoke about how hard work should be rewarded, something he sees being held back by the Trump administration. Brown said he sees young people as the key to defeating Trump in the 2020 presidential election.

“Clark has always been a swing county. It’s a little harder now,” he said. “But I see the ideals in this room.”

Brown admits he spent a lot of time following the 2018 elections thinking of running for president, but last month announced he would decline the opportunity, saying he just didn’t want it badly enough. Instead, he’s talking to other Democratic candidates about the dignity of work and respecting work.

“It’s not just a slogan, it’s how you govern for everyday workers,” he said.

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During his speech, Brown directly acknowledged and thanked the Courtyard by Marriott wait staff, watching from the back of the room. He called the Democratic Party the only party in the country that supports civil, human, women’s and workers’ rights, while the current White House looks like a retreat for billionaires and big business concerns.

Brown recognized Civil Rights era figures such as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and John Lewis as inspirations, and encouraged students at colleges such as Wittenberg and Clark State to organize and employees at places such as Navistar to work to change things.

“Never undersell what you can do,” he said. “We should all celebrate the fight to make good and necessary trouble and ask questions.”

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Following his address, Brown was mobbed by attendees for photos and handshakes. He later told the News-Sun he thinks this area’s biggest challenges were jobs and wages, and Thursday’s event was a step toward improving it with upcoming elections.

“People are hungry for change, the people turned out here for change,” he said. “There’s a spirit about the middle class.”

Clark County Democratic Party Chairman Charlie Bush said he was happy about the numbers that attended the event and was emblematic of what’s happening in Clark County.