November 20, 2014

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Top state Dems pay respects to labor in Lorain

LORAIN — The state’s upper tier of Democrats was among the more than 39,000 people who filtered through the gates of the Labor Day celebration in Lorain on Sunday.

The 13th annual Organized Labor Unions’ festival welcomed the likes of Gov. Ted Strickland, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton, who took turns addressing the crowd from the festival’s main stage.

CARL SULLENBERGER/CHRONICLE
From left, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Gov. Ted Strickland, and U.S. Rep. Betty Sutton shared the stage Sunday at Black River Landing in Lorain for the Labor Day Celebration.

“It’s so good to be home,” said Brown, D-Avon. “Organized labor has made such a difference in so many people’s lives.”

Tim Donovan, president of the Local 2000, said the festival is the largest Labor Day celebration in the state, and grows larger year after year.

With a 39-prize raffle that followed, hundreds lingered and listened as the politicians made their case for a Democratic presidential candidate in 2008.

Strickland arrived comfortably in blue jeans and thanked the crowd before pumping them into a pro-blue frenzy.

“We have a responsibility to the world to make sure in the next presidential election, Ohio votes blue,” Strickland yelled from the stage.

Politicians from all over Lorain County flanked the speakers on stage and were commended for their efforts. 

Tony Krasienko, a Sheet Metal Workers Local 33 representative, and Lorain’s Democratic mayoral candidate in November, received his biggest endorsement yet when Strickland clasped and raised his hand, telling the audience that he was the right candidate for the job.

“That endorsement from him was unbelievable,” Krasienko said later. “The governor knows where Lorain, Ohio, is. It’s refreshing.”

The visit from the governor couldn’t have come at a better time for Lorain.

The number of people below the poverty level in the city increased by almost half in 2006 to 26 percent, according the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest  American Community Survey.

After the event, Strickland addressed the growing poverty numbers, and said investing in local jobs and economic growth could help turn the city around.

“When I think of poverty, I think of sadness,” Strickland said. “We have an incredible challenge in front of us, but one we can overcome.”

Contact Stephen Szucs at 336-4016 or sszucs@chroniclet.com.