Nearly 52 years ago on May 7, 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Ohio University. Tuesday afternoon, presidential candidate Hillary Clinton followed suit with a visit to Jackie O’s Production Brewery and Taproom in Athens.
“If I am so fortunate enough to be back in the White House, some Jackie O’s will be there too,” Clinton promised the crowd.
Instead of addressing fellow Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, Clinton spoke about job creation and her plans to bolster the economy. The stop in Athens was one of several for her “Breaking Down Barriers” tour of Appalachia.
— Steve Patterson (@MayorPatterson) May 3, 2016
Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, introduced the former Secretary of State and first lady to a crowd of hundreds, praised Clinton for her progress and called her the most qualified person to run for the presidency in his lifetime.
“You deserve a president like Hillary Clinton who will fight every single day for working people as president because that’s what she has done her entire life,” Brown said.
The former New York senator spent the majority of her speech talking about the benefits of a clean energy economy, using the solar panels that reside on Jackie O’s roof as a talking point. She cited that the best way to get new jobs in West Virginia and southern Ohio is to come together and invest in middle-class workers.
Clinton took a stance to support steel workers while speaking out against big coal companies. The message comes after Clinton spoke out against big coal companies while in Columbus.
“We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business,” Clinton said at the March town hall.
Clinton apologized for the earlier statement in late March amid backlash that she would take away jobs from coal miners, and claimed she “misspoke.” In doing so, she shifted her focus to holding companies accountable for coal workers’ safety by referencing her support for the Miners Protection Act and the Robert C. Byrd Mine Safety Protection Act, both of which Congress is debating. If passed, the bills would secure health benefits for retired miners and improve compliance with current safety laws, respectively.
“I hope the Congress will pass (the bills) and the president will sign them as quickly as possible,” Clinton said.
She also called out China for “killing steel jobs,” accusing the country of dumping “cheap steel” into the global economy. She cited a stronger rule of origins standards as the answer.
“Economic impacts affect all of us, whether it’s coal, whether it’s industry, whether it’s working toward the betterment of jobs, she is aware of this and she is going to work towards it,” Athens City Councilman Kent Butler, D-1st Ward, said. “It speaks volumes of who she is.”
While Clinton talked about coal inside the brewery taproom, protesters loomed outside.
“The question is, can we trust her? Can we believe her? After looking at her record, particularly looking at the money she is getting for her campaign?” Brandon Jaeger, owner of Shagbark Seed & Mill, said. “I think she is pandering to what is here and what she thinks is here.”
In addition to worker safety, Clinton addressed her education policies as helping bolster job creation. She suggested making community college free for all citizens would create jobs for the country and secure the economy. She cited 1.2 million jobs that skilled workers could attain if provided with technical or community college. The plan, she says, would create creative opportunity by attracting investments in local economies while alleviating student debt.
Revitalizing Appalachia means investing in education and training—from pre-K to college to vocational and retraining programs.
— Hillary Clinton (@HillaryClinton) May 3, 2016
Clinton concluded her speech by calling on politicians with differences to work together to solve problems instead of “creating divide and shaming and insult one another.”
“People are discouraged, people are disheartened, people feel our government, politics, our economy, have failed them,” Clinton said.
She even suggested politicians could sit down and settle things over a beer.
“I think part of the job of being president is to be the convener-in-chief, bring people to the white house…have a can of Jackie O’s beer,” Clinton said.