Canton Repository

November 9, 2006

Brown to seek common ground

By Paul M. Krawzak
Copley News Service


CLEVELAND Senator-elect Sherrod Brown laid out an ambitious agenda Wednesday, saying he believes Democrats can find common ground with Republicans on issues that matter to voters.

The Avon Democrat ran down a list of priorities, including implementing the recommendations of a bipartisan Sept. 11 commission to improve national security, passing a federal minimum-wage increase and adding government negotiating power to the Medicare prescription drug benefit.

Brown, who turns 54 today, unseated two-term Republican Sen. Mike DeWine of Cedarville on Tuesday.

During a post-election meeting with reporters, Brown insisted his party would not "engage in partisan retribution" against Republicans such as President Bush and Vice President Dick Cheney. "If Democrats engage in retribution, we lose in two years," he said.

The seven-term congressman has been viewed as a fairly partisan liberal who railed against what he called "job-killing trade agreements" and championed the interests of organized labor and the working class.

CHALLENGES AHEAD

But a day after the election, he pledged to cooperate with Sen. George Voinovich, R-Cleveland, and other Republicans. "People are unhappy with the direction of government both in Columbus and Washington," said Brown, dressed casually in a denim shirt. "They don't want one-party government. They want cooperation. They want less partisanship."

Brown believes there is enough support in the House and Senate to pass a federal minimum-wage increase. He also expects a strong bipartisan vote in favor of implementing 9/11 commission recommendations.

Brown said he looks forward to working with Voinovich. Brown said he "especially admired" the self-styled deficit hawk's efforts to balance the federal budget and reduce the national debt.

VOINOVICH, REGULA TALK

"I respect Sherrod," Voinovich said during a conference call in which he revealed his plans to seek re-election in 2010. "I think he's a smart guy, and I hope to work with him and move things ahead for our country."

Voinovich agreed with Brown that voters sent a message when they gave Democrats control of Congress, a view that Rep. Ralph Regula, R-Bethlehem Township, also shares.

"I think folks in Ohio decided they wanted a change," said Voinovich.

Regula said he thought Iraq was the main issue on voters' minds. He said voters are concerned about lack of progress in the war.

"This was an opportunity for them to make their feelings known," he said.