Portman Visits County

MINSTER — An Ohio senator toured a handful of businesses in southern Auglaize County Friday, touting the area’s economic resolve while calling for more common sense regulations.

During a whirlwind visit, U.S. Sen. Rob Portman made stops at Dannon, Crown Equipment and Buschur Electric to talk with officials regarding the current economic picture as well as what can be done to promote business in the country. Portman’s last visit was to Buschur Electric, where he spoke about the company’s owner Jack Buschur and his involvement in regulatory reform.

“The senator and I have had discussions at various meetings we’ve been at and we’ve discussed our concerns and frustrations with what is going on right now with regulations,” Buschur told a group of regional media. “Regulations that may not  necessarily impact Buschur Electric, but impact our customers and therefore our customers are not going to expand and aren’t willing to spend money on new equipment.”

As part of his trip, Portman held a roundtable with local business owners and government officials. Like Buschur, Portman said the need for common sense regulations is vital for economic growth.

“We talked a lot about workforce development,” Portman said of the roundtable. “We have legislation that we are working on reforming the federal retraining programs ... There are now 42 programs spread over six or seven different agencies or departments and so part of what we are trying to do is streamline and consolidate those programs and make them work better for Ohio businesses.”

The cost of regulations can be onerous, Portman said. As part of regulator reform, Portman said he favored an approach that would determine the cost of any reform before it takes effect.

“Our bill forces agencies to go through a cost/benefit analysis and then use the least-burdensome alternative,” Portman said. “It forces them to include jobs impact as part of the cost aspect and frankly, it holds their feet to the fire in terms of having judicial review of regulations.”

Portman also took the opportunity to talk about his endorsement of Mitt Romney for president. Portman said he believes Romney is the best candidate because the former Massachusetts understands business.

“He’s got a record of success in business,” Portman said of the Republican candidate. “He understands the role of government in business — what government should and shouldn’t be doing.”

Portman also took time to shoot down the hoopla regarding his possible selection as Romney’s runningmate. Political pundits in Washington have tabbed Portman as a possibility several months ago.

“I leave that up to the campaign,” Portman said. “I’m focused on doing my job in Washington for the people of Ohio. I’m fortunate to be where I am, representing the people of this state. I do support Mitt Romney strongly and I do believe our country needs a change of direction — and I think that has to be in terms of policies and leadership.”