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GOP senator flees from Ohio woman's questions — in a golf cart

Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman may need a reminder that whenever he is out in public, someone nearby surely has a camera aimed at him. Keeping that in mind might encourage him to engage with his constituents, and help him avoid the terrible optics of fleeing from their questions — in a golf cart. An […]

By Alison R. Parker - August 04, 2017
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Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman flees in a golf cart from voters' questions.
Ohio Republican Sen. Rob Portman flees in a golf cart from voters' questions.

Keeping that in mind might encourage him to engage with his constituents, and help him avoid the terrible optics of fleeing from their questions — in a golf cart.

An Ohio woman, Meryl Neiman, approached Portman outside a fair to confront him on his environmental record, and particularly for his Regulatory Accountability Act, which could have long-term and potentially devastating effects on all Americans as it would “prioritize corporate profits over public protections and paralyze the regulatory process, making it even harder for the government to keep American consumers and workers safe.”

Neiman asked Portman about people like her who are concerned about the health of the world their children will grow up in if his bill were to become law.

But as she was speaking to him, Portman climbed into a golf cart. He then muttered something about a “cost-benefit analysis” as his driver started to pull away.

Neiman persisted, asking if Portman would “stop taking money from the fossil fuel industry, because then I would feel more comfortable, because I’d know that you’re doing it for the right reasons.”

Portman appeared to grin as his golf cart left the scene.

Speaking to Shareblue, Neiman noted that it’s been tough to connect with her senator, because “he doesn’t do any public town halls.”

“Unfortunately it’s become necessary to hunt around for him and find him — otherwise it’s impossible to engage with him,” Neiman said, adding that “I’ve tried individually to schedule meetings. I’ve never gotten a response.”

She noted that Portman “was a elected as a ‘moderate’ but he votes in step with the president.” And that was part of her motivation for confronting him.

“I asked what about people like me who were worried about the future of their children and the planet they’d live in. And he said it was a cost benefit analysis. We said we’d feel more comfortable you were making these decisions in the interests of Ohioans if you would stop taking fossil fuel money. And he kind of chuckled and exited in his little cart.”

To Portman, she adds: “Your hiding from me doesn’t make me feel better it makes me feel like this is not in the interests of Ohio.”

Republican politicians ought to be accustomed to the pushback they’re getting from voters around the country.

And they certainly ought to have a better response prepared than simply fleeing the scene while questions are shouted and cameras are rolling.


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