To say Reuters news agency is huge would be an understatement. Almost every major news outlet in the world currently subscribes to Reuters. Reuters operates in more than 200 cities in 94 countries in about 20 languages. For Reuters to come to Portsmouth, Ohio is a major news story.
Friday at 9 a.m., Reuters will be in Portsmouth as Emily Switter, who covers the Trump Campaign for Reuters listens to the people here. On Tuesday, Jeff Albrecht, developer and owner of the Holiday Inn, sent out correspondence to members of the community to invite them to tell the story of Portsmouth, Scioto County and southern Ohio.
In an exclusive interview with the Daily Times, Switter said Ohio, and specifically Portsmouth, is important to covering a presidential campaign.
“Ohio is a swing state,” Switter said. “I’ve been covering Donald Trump for his entire campaign and I knew it was important to watch an election happen in a swing state like Ohio and I wanted to be in a place where Trump appears to have a lot of support as he does in Portsmouth, and I’d like to meet as many Trump supporters as possible to talk to them.
Is the reason Scioto County is attractive to a story about the election the fact that it went for Trump while the rest of the state went for Kasich in the Republican primary?
“I have to admit that I did notice that,” Switter said. “I’m aware of that.”
Switter was asked about why she contacted Albrecht in the first place.
“I’m just set about learning about Portsmouth and read about Jeff and gave him a call,” Switter said.
Albrecht, in his correspondence, said the story may be, that Scioto County and rural southern Ohio, has seen a decline in population over the past several years and that the area has experienced a decline in family income. Many businesses and companies have permanently closed their doors. He said the only real increase in Scioto County and southern Ohio has been the increase in percentage of people below the poverty level.
“I believe the voters in Scioto County and southern Ohio would like to try something different. No more of, ‘well, that’s the way we have always done it’. Or, ‘let’s let government fix it for us,’” Albrecht said “For Scioto County to succeed, for southern Ohio to succeed, it will have to be on the shoulders of small business. I believe the voters in our area want less government, not more government. I believe the voters in southern Ohio want small business to succeed. They want less regulation and fewer taxes. We want this because we want jobs.”
Earlier this year, Albrecht ended up on the stage with Trump when he was in Columbus, and used the opportunity to ask for his support for the DOE project at Piketon.
“Jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s what it is all about. It is heart breaking to hear from friends and neighbors moving away from southern Ohio because they lost their job,” Albrecht said in his email. “We feel for those who have to drive 2, 3, 4 hours a day to work so they may continue to support their families at an income level necessary to meet their expenses. It saddens me to hear about people working at a job far below their capability just because they don’t want to leave home. It’s too bad for our sons and daughters graduating from Shawnee State University, saddled with student debt and have to move away just to find work so they can make their student loan payments.”
Albrecht invited the people to join him Friday morning at the Holiday Inn to tell the story about Scioto County and southern Ohio to Reuters. “We need jobs and we believe we have something to sell. We have people willing, ready and able to work and if not trained we can train them,” Albrecht said. “We have plenty of water, river traffic, great rail, plenty of electricity, access to plenty of natural gas, highways and most importantly a beautiful place to live and a wonderful way of life.”
Reach Frank Lewis at 740-353-3101, ext. 1928, or on Twitter @franklewis.