ST. CLAIRSVILLE - Many Republican partisans stood in less then desirable conditions to hear Vice President candidate Paul Ryan Saturday morning.
The day started cold and cloudy as residents from the Ohio Valley traveled to the Valley View Campgrounds to hear several GOP candidates on local, state and national levels speak at the Belmont Victory Rally. A video played, echoing through out the campground, about Mitt Romney and his life as a governor, father and husband. The video included Ann Romney and several of their sons.
As the rally opened with a prayer, the sky opened on the eagerly awaiting crowd below. Ricky Skaggs sang the National Anthem and David Lucas, who is running for sheriff of Belmont County, led the crowd in the Pledge of Allegiance.
Josh Mandel, center, and Bill Johnson, left, greet Paul Ryan during a campaign stop in Belmont County Saturday.
State Rep. Andy Thompson welcomed the crowd and urged them to vote.
"If you haven't voted yet, vote," said Thompson to a rain-soaked crowd. "We want to get these votes counted as soon as possible."
Bill Johnson, who is running to return to U.S. Congress, took the stage, stating that, "17 days from today, we're going to have new leadership in Washington." Election day is on Nov. 6 and for many several big issues will be weighing on their minds. Some of these issues include the War on Coal, oil and gas and the natural resources that are abundant in Ohio Valley.
Josh Mandel, current treasurer of Ohio and candidate for U.S. Senate, came out in the rain to speak. Mandel has been campaigning across Ohio, making several stops in Eastern Ohio Friday, one including the Belmont County Election Board.
"Everywhere, there were a lot of people," said Mandel, who had a great response from people during these stops.
One of the many things that Mandel is pushing ,outside of stopping the war on coal, is "No Budget, No Pay." Other topics included ending Obamacare and keeping taxpayers' money here in the U.S.
"If (Washington) is not going to pass a budget, then they should not get paid," said Mandel. "Career politicians live by one set of rules and we live by another; its' not right."
One thing that has helped Mandel during this election is the backbone instilled in him by the Marine Corps.
"There is no lies that ... are going to hurt my feelings," said Mandel, who has been through two tours in Iraq. "I've been through tougher stuff then this."
As Mandel continued to speak, joined in by Johnson, the crowd was updated that the Romney/Ryan tour bus that has been travelling around Ohio as well, was only a few minutes away. Ryan's trip was delayed slightly due to the weather.
Finally, to the patient, and wet crowd's delight, the tour bus carrying Paul Ryan was pulling into the campgrounds, with Ryan standing in the front waving to the soggy crowd.
Upon taking the stage, Ryan thanked the crowd that stood so long through the cold and rain and the hunters that put off a day to hear him speak. Ryan is an avid bow hunter, pulling out his phone, showing the crowd his cover that is camouflage and orange, a reminder that when this election is over, he can take his oldest daughter out for her first gun this year.
"We have a big choice to make here in Belmont County, you can be a lynchpin to all of us," said Ryan. "We are going to decide, not just who the next president over the next four years is going to be, we are going to decide what kind of people we are going to be, what kind of country we are going to have for our generation."
Ryan reminded those in the crowd that Ohio is plays a huge role in this election and is a battle ground in this election. Ryan pointed out that Obama is making a big election about small things and not showing what his plan for the next four years involves.
"The one thing Belmont County can do, if you head to early voting at your Belmont County Board of Election, is elect a man named Mitt Romney, who will end this war on coal and allows us to keep these good paying jobs," said Ryan, who states that Romney will run head first into our problems, rather then ducking them.
Ryan went on to say that Romney has a plan and is and will be a leader to the American people, succeeding where others have failed.
"We feel that it is our moral obligation to give you, our fellow Americans, an alternative to choose from," said Ryan. "Our plan for economic growth for a stronger middle class starts with this, we have so much energy in this country, lets use that energy in this country and put people back to work. Let's get people jobs, lets lower our prices."
Ryan pointed out that the coal industry has lost thousands of jobs. The GOP plan, by the end of the decade, is not to be dependent on other countries natural resources, which creates more jobs.
"The choice is clear, if we unleash our energy resources, that right there can create three million good paying jobs," said Ryan. "That right there can help get people in the middle class higher take home pay, that right there could stretch our paychecks further, by lower our energy cost."
"We build things, we grow things that's what makes this country great," said Ryan. "If we want to make sure we can keep good paying jobs here, we got to make sure that other countries trade fairly with us."
Ryan won the crowd over with his plan to end the war on coal, as well as oil and gas that has affected Belmont County.
"It's our job to save the American Dream for our children and grandchildren," said Ryan. "Ohio, we are going to put people back to work because in 17 days we're going to elect Mitt Romney the next president of the United States of America."
"What's so great about this is this is not just about jobs, it's not just about debt or the economy, it is about the meaning of America," said Ryan. "We are not just another country ... we are an exceptional nation. We are an idea. Our ideas comes from nature and God, not from Government."
Van Dyne may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org