When vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan visits the Ohio Valley Saturday, his credibility will be bolstered by a long record of supporting the interests of local residents.
Ryan, a Republican congressman representing Wisconsin, is best known for his leadership to hold taxes down, reduce deficit spending and safeguard critical programs such as Social Security.
But long before he was considered as a candidate for vice president, Ryan was standing up - by name - for industries critical to East Ohio and the Northern Panhandle. In explaining some of his stances on issues, he specifically has cited concerns about the steel and aluminum industries. And his insistence on a realistic energy policy includes coal as an integral part of it.
As a congressman, Ryan condemned President Barack Obama's plan to establish draconian new regulations on the coal and other industries. In doing so, he noted the rules amount to a hidden tax that adds anywhere from $425 a year to $4,000 a year to the cost of living for American families.
Ryan's own Wisconsin constituents are painfully aware of the scope of Obama's war not just on coal, but on many industries. The White House policy, aimed at pleasing radical environmentalists, is a sweeping one.
Using U.S. foreign aid - taxpayers' money - the Obama administration killed loan guarantees to an Indian utility because it plans to build a coal-fired power plant. As Ryan noted earlier this year, that action probably cost hundreds of jobs at a Wisconsin plant that might have furnished equipment for construction of the plant.
Again, Ryan is known best for his proposals to keep taxes low and address the staggering $16 trillion national debt. But his activities as a congressman on behalf of the coal, steel and aluminum industries make it clear he is a friend to the Ohio Valley - one who, with presidential candidate Mitt Romney, will work to reverse Obama policies that hurt local working men and women badly.