YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – In his first public comments since deciding not to seek another term in the U.S. Senate, Rob Portman spoke by phone Tuesday saying the move was based, in part, on family and frustration. He said it is becoming harder to get anything done in Washington.
“Harder to break through the partisanship, and in terms of the positives and negatives of public service, that has contributed to my decision,” Portman said.
Portman, who has served almost 30 years in government service, points to lawmakers bickering over COVID relief, saying it should be a shared process.
“It would be better for us to start, as we did last time, from scratch,” he said.
Portman’s announcement comes as Valley Congressman Bill Johnson, R-6th District, released radio ads encouraging lawmakers and the public, in general, to come together.
“That’s what I was trying to do with these radio ads. There is not a voice out there that is filling the void right now,” Johnson said.
Johnson says extremists on both sides are working to keep the country divided. Congressman Tim Ryan, D-13th District, says social media is tossing gasoline on the fire.
“I think the country is starting to come together, but there is still a faction out there that is really holding the line on some of these extreme positions,” Ryan said.
In the meantime, Portman promises to serve out the last two years of his term.
“My hope is that everybody will take a breath, step back, and say let’s read the inaugural speech again,” Portman said.