YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - An issue with close ties to the Valley is getting attention in the U.S. Senate race between incumbent Sherrod Brown and Republican challenger Josh Mandel. Both candidates are talking about the fight by Delphi salaried employees to regain their pensions.
Speaking from Washington on Wednesday, Sherrod Brown says the auto industry rescue clearly was a success but there are still lingering problems.
Twenty thousand Delphi salaried retirees, who were mostly left-out in the auto parts suppliers' bankruptcy, have been fighting to get their pensions restored. The retirees say Washington has turned its back on them and GOP challenger Josh Mandel is saying that Brown was there when it happend.
"Career politicians like Sherrod Brown faced with bureaucrats in Washington, were picking winners and losers and unfortunately they picked as one of the losers retirees right here in the state of Ohio, retirees right here in the Mahoning Valley," Mandel said.
Brown maintains that he has been working hard for the Delphi workers and recently introduced new legislation that would restore their benefits. He feels Mandel is just using the issue to try to gain political points.
"Political points don't top off pensions. What tops off pensions is actual change in the government to make it happen," Brown said.
Mandel, who strongly supports term-limits for Congress, says changes in Washington are what his campaign is all about.
"The problem is there's a crop of politicians in Washington, Democrats and Republicans, who think they can live by one set of rules while all of us have to live by a different set of rules and the only way to change Washington is to change the people we send there," Mandel said.
The latest newspaper poll in Ohio shows Brown with a 10 point lead over Mandel.