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Union members protest at Johnson’s Ironton office

Aug. 18, 2011 @ 11:31 PM

IRONTON — Two union members showed up outside U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson’s Ironton office Thursday morning to complain about the congressman’s lack of progress in bringing jobs to the area.

“What he’s doing is wrong,” said Dana Samson, a King’s Daughters Medical Center employee. “He’s not bringing new jobs to the area. He voted twice against Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.”

Anthony Caldwell, media relations liaison for the Service Employees International Union in Columbus, blamed Johnson for not doing anything to forestall the impending closure of the youth prison in Franklin Furnace, Ohio. The shutdown will lead to the loss of more than 300 jobs next month.

“Look at the empty storefronts,” Caldwell said. “People are beginning to lose hope. They don’t feel their elected officials are there for them. We need to hold elected officials accountable. Working families have to get involved. What people really care about is jobs. The best economic recovery is a good-paying job.”

Johnson blames the problem on the current administration.  

“Job creation and getting America’s economy running in high gear are two of my top priorities,” Johnson said in a prepared release. “Yet, the Obama Administration continues to put up road blocks to job creation in eastern and southeastern Ohio and throughout the nation. The sweeping mandates included in his health care law, his continued requests for more spending, new regulations by his unelected bureaucrats that penalize those who work in the coal industry and those who rely on coal for electricity, and his threat of higher taxes on job creators have created enormous economic uncertainty and high unemployment. ... I am working hard to create an environment where job creators can gain the confidence to start and expand their businesses in order to put Ohioans back to work.”

Johnson’s office on Park Avenue was closed Thursday morning. A Johnson aide was holding open door sessions Thursday to meet with residents in Gallia, Lawrence and Scioto Counties. Johnson will be in the Ironton office from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday and then attend Rally on the River in downtown Ironton at 3:30 p.m. Sunday.

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