(WKBN) – A candidate running in next year’s U.S. Senate race stopped in the Valley, speaking to WKBN.

J.D. Vance is one of 13 Republicans looking to take over for Rob Portman.

Vance is an author. He wrote “Hillbilly Elegy,” a bestselling memoir that was adapted into a movie.

Vance stopped by our studios Friday before going to Trumbull County, speaking on many topics including the economy and the opioid epidemic.

“I think it makes you realize how catastrophic it is, right, and not just for the addict, of course, that’s the person who is primarily affected, but you have kids who are orphaned by it. You have grandparents taking care of grandkids that they weren’t expecting,” he said.

Vance also believes that the government’s treatment of the epidemic leaves a lot of struggling behind.

Vance said he’s trying to talk about real issues with the public.

“We can’t keep sending our kids to bad schools, or giving them the skills they need, or frankly teaching them anti-American ideology, and we can’t continue to have a ridiculous southern border all across the 700-mile southern border of the country because it’s a means that a lot of drugs come into our community, and a lot of crime comes into our communities,” he said.

Vance also discussed his struggles growing up, adding that the experiences have made him stronger.

The rest of the Republican field includes John Berman, Matt Dolan, Mike Gibbons, Michael Leipold, Josh Mandel, Bernie Moreno, Zachary Musick, Neil Patel, Mark Pukita, John Reed, Mackenzie Thompson and Jane Timken.

The primary is next May 3.