Two times in the last three years National Journal magazine ranked U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio, as the most liberal among his colleagues. He is currently tied for fifth.
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce rates Brown as one of the most anti-business senators.
With the nation's debt soaring toward $16 trillion, and no desire to even compromise on bipartisan budget proposals such as the Simpson-Bowles plan, Brown's liberal, anti-business ratings are dangerous to America's economic stability.
His recent decisions are dangerous to the Mahoning Valley's economic stability as well.
Brown opposed the Keystone XL Pipeline that would bring Canadian oil into the U.S., thus potentially lowering fuel prices. Pipelines are going to be important economic development projects in Trumbull and Mahoning counties.
Brown supports the Employee Free Choice Act, or ''card check,'' that would make it simple for labor unions to organize workers. "Card check" would eliminate the "campaign" period when employers and employees who did not sign a card have the opportunity to make their case on why a union would not be the best choice for workers or the company. It's an extreme approach that unions hope would stem their record of recent years when, in fair elections, they have lost in attempts to organize workers. Brown, by favoring "card check" believes workers should only hear the union's side before workers choose whether they want organized representation.
And Brown promotes costly, unreliable forms of alternative energy while attacking the coal industry. Ohio depends on coal to keep energy costs from soaring and this region's future is brightest if natural gas emerges as the fuel of choice for America.
The Tribune Chronicle Editorial Board, therefore, endorses Republican challenger Josh Mandel for the U.S. Senate.
Mandel is a true fiscal conservative who can help provide solutions to the government's debt. Here's a good example: Mandel joined a chorus of candidates who have sworn off earmarks, if they return; Brown received 326 earmarks worth $490 million between 2008 and 2010, according to the Council for Citizens Against Government Waste.
Mandel endorsed the federal and state regulations that promote responsible drilling for oil and natural gas through hydraulic fracturing. Brown says he, too, supports the regulations but he has a record of giving environmental zealots more opportunities to create obstacles for energy companies.
In addition, Brown supports the Obama administration's throwing of about $90 billion in taxpayers' money at ''green'' companies. Billions of dollars have been lost when the companies, often poorly vetted and sometimes ran by campaign contributors, went out of business.
Brown has had his moments, such as refusing to support the carbon footprint legislation known as ''cap-and-trade,'' without proof that it would leave manufacturing undamaged.
Mandel, a former U.S. Marine, having served two tours in Iraq, proposes slashing military spending on foreign bases. This helps the federal budget and it helps domestic operations such as the Youngstown Air Reserve Station in Vienna that plays a large part in the local economy.
It's disappointing to see these political opponents spend more than $10 million on the race. It's even more disappointing to see these political opponents spend that much money on ruthless, bitter, mudslinging television ads.
Sherrod Brown is a nice guy. He is a devoted friend of labor unions, environmentalists and every liberal cause.
Mandel, however, clearly better represents the Mahoning Valley when it comes to reducing or, better yet, eliminating deficit spending. He also has much better answers for Ohioans on health care, taxes, energy independence and economic development.