Tom Jekel – Behind the scenes with Sen. Sherrod Brown

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Tom Jekel – Behind the scenes with Sen. Sherrod Brown

Times-Reporter – Job growth was certainly on the minds of 21 eastern Ohio business, education and community leaders who accepted U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown’s invitation to participate in Wednesday’s rural roundtable at Kent State Tuscarawas.

What the first-term Democratic senator from Avon didn’t anticipate was that drilling — one of many topics on his list — would dominate the day’s discussion. Brown made that observation during a visit with The Times-Reporter’s editorial board, becoming the second member of Congress to stop at the newspaper in an eight-day span.

U.S. Rep. Bob Gibbs, a Republican from Lakeville, had told our editorial board Aug. 23 that he felt Ohio citizens’ drinking water was adequately protected under Senate Bill 165, enacted last year when he was still in the state legislature.

Brown said he and others aren’t as sure. In today’s polarized national political climate, that shouldn’t be a surprise.

Brown repeated a comment made at the roundtable earlier in the day by New Philadelphia Mayor Mike Taylor, a fellow Democrat, who said the anticipated economic gain from tapping into oil and natural gas reserves in the Marcellus and Utica shale formations “sounds too good to believe.”

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