Brown’s Anti-Free Trade Rhetoric Hurts Ohio’s Economy

Career politician U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown has made trade one of his signature issues in Congress over the last 19 years. Brown has argued that he would fix Ohio’s economy by overhauling U.S. free trade policies, yet he completely ignores the reality that Ohio benefits from increased free trade opportunities. According to the Ohio Department of Development, Ohio’s free trade exports were valued at over $41 billion in 2010. In fact, more than 650 Ohio companies and over 120,000 Ohioans benefited from free trade in 2010 alone.

But don’t just take our word for it. During Brown’s 2006 campaign, several Ohio newspapers criticized Brown’s trade policy and endorsed the other candidate. The Dayton Daily News said Brown “is wrong on his biggest issue.” The Cincinnati Enquirer complained that “most troubling about Brown is how he exploits Ohio workers’ fears with his faux-populist, anti-free trade rhetoric.” It’s clear that Brown’s anti-free trade position could significantly obstruct Ohio’s economic recovery and Ohioans deserve far more from their senior Senator in Washington.

Brown Said He Would Fix Ohio’s Economy By Overhauling U.S. Free Trade Policies. “Ask Brown how he would fix Ohio’s economy, and the answer is similar: One of the first things he would do is overhaul U.S. trade policies.” (Elizabeth Austere, “Brown Puts Hopes On Trade Issue,” Plain Dealer, 5/21/06)

According To The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, 120,963 Total Jobs In Ohio Were Directly Supported By Exports In 2010. (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Website,, Accessed 9/28/11)

According To The U.S. Chamber Of Commerce, There Were 657 Ohio Companies That Exported Their Products In 2010. (U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Website,, Accessed 9/28/11)

According To The Ohio Department Of Development, Ohio Merchandise Exports Were Valued At $41.4 Billion In 2010, An Increase Of 21.5 Percent From 2009. (“Ohio Exports 2010 Origin Of Movement Series,” Ohio Department Of Development Policy Research And Strategic Planning Office, March 2011)

The Dayton Daily News Said Brown “Is Wrong On His Biggest Issue.” “Rep. Brown’s signature issue has been trade. He has written a book about how American workers are victimized by the government’s support of free trade. He has voted against the big trade treaties, insisting they should be renegotiated to put more pressure on foreign countries to increase wages, improve working conditions and protect the environment. He believes that these reforms and commitments – which cost money – would reduce the advantage that foreign companies have over U.S. companies and would help slow the movement of jobs overseas. In truth, however, renegotiation would be more likely to result in no treaties or in cosmetic changes. Trying to change thing dramatically in Mexico or China from Washington would be like trying to change Iraq from Washington – without troops. So he is wrong on his biggest issue.” (Editorial, “Mike DeWine Still Best For Ohio,” Dayton Daily News, 10/15/06)

The Cincinnati Enquirer Complained That “Most Troubling About Brown Is How He Exploits Ohio Workers’ Fears With His Faux-Populist, Anti-Free Trade Rhetoric.” “Most troubling about Brown is how he exploits Ohio workers’ fears with his faux-populist, anti-free-trade rhetoric. He posits cause and effect where such relationships are not clear. He says he’s very pro-trade yet opposes efforts to free up tariff structures that often have disadvantages American firms more than those of other nations.” (Editorial, “We Endorse DeWine For Senate,” The Cincinnati Enquirer, 10/22/06)