Matt Dolan, currently a state senator, announced his bid for the U.S. Senate last week. After going on a statewide listening tour this summer, state Sen. Dolan, R-Chagrin Falls, determined that he could win the U.S. Senate race. His experience and positive results resonated with the residents of Ohio, he said, and Republicans are looking for someone who can get things done.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, will not seek re-election when his term ends in December of 2022. Other Republican challengers include Josh Mandel, Jane Timken, Bernie Moreno, J.D. Vance and Mike Gibbons. The Democrats running for the seat are U.S. Rep. Tim Ryan, of District 13, and Morgan Harper, former senior adviser at the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

“People want someone who understands how the government can provide an environment for businesses to grow and for people to get back to work. We’ve got to feel secure not just on our southern border but in our neighborhoods,” Sen. Dolan, 56, said. “At the end of the day, I think they saw me as a problem solver and not a rock thrower.”

The top two issues that constituents brought up during the summer listening tour were the economy and security. Employers want to know that there will be a workforce ready and willing to fill their vacancies, rather than having a federal government that pays people to stay home, Sen. Dolan said.

As chairman of the Finance Committee in the state senate, Sen. Dolan worked on budgets. In his budgets, he said he created avenues for students to succeed at a four-year university or receive a trade certification for welders, electricians and healthcare professionals. To ensure that Americans have jobs, Sen. Dolan said he would incentivize making sure that trade deals are good for American workers.

“We’ve got to stand up to China,” he said. “I would look to be creating new markets outside of China in Vietnam, Indonesia [and] India. A lot of what China offers can be offered in those countries and we can create new trade partners with them, which would hurt China.”

Sen. Dolan said that the border with Mexico is a concern for his constituents. There was a plan under former President Donald Trump’s administration, he said, but the Republicans in office could not pass it into law, then the plan disappeared under President Joseph Biden’s administration. Evidence shows that the deadly drug fentanyl comes over the southern border, Sen. Dolan said.

“It’s been a disaster and people feel unsafe,” he said. “We don’t know who’s coming into our country and what they’re bringing into our country.”

If elected, Sen. Dolan said he would work to get former President Trump’s border plan into place, including a physical wall, surveillance, virtual capabilities and more border patrol to screen the people trying to enter the country. He said he differs from former President Trump regarding isolationism. Sen. Dolan said he would not be an isolationist and would work to ensure that America regains its place in the world.

“I have argued that we should not have pulled out of Afghanistan,” he said. “I said that when President Trump initially said we’re going to go and I said that with President Biden, because where America is we create a level of stability. President Biden tragically pulled us out of Afghanistan at the cost of 13 American lives.”

To improve healthcare access and affordability, Sen. Dolan said he would fight to ensure that Ohio and other states have as much flexibility as possible in how they operate Medicare and Medicaid programs. He said Ohio’s government proved that they can run these programs effectively, efficiently and at a lower cost if they can run the programs as they choose to.

“That’s important because that drives down the cost of care,” Sen. Dolan said. “When you drive down the cost of Medicaid and Medicare then it drives down the cost of the private insurance business.”

Among all Republicans vying for the U.S. Senate seat, Sen. Dolan said he is the only one who supported the federal infrastructure bill that Sen. Portman negotiated. Sen. Dolan said the infrastructure bill is “badly needed for Ohio’s economy.” He also said he is the only candidate who currently holds office and has both private and public sector experience. Sen. Dolan is a partner at the law firm Thrasher, Dinsmore and Dolan and serves as vice president of 7th Avenue Properties, where he manages businesses and real estate properties. His family owns the Cleveland Indians, the city’s Major League Baseball team.

Former President Trump recently said he will not endorse Sen. Dolan for U.S. Senate because the name of the Cleveland Indians will be changed to the Cleveland Guardians in 2022 after years of public outcry to drop names and logos that may be considered racist. Sen. Dolan said he does not need the former president’s endorsement because he will earn the votes of Ohioans.

“I believe that the race I’m going to run is going to present a U.S. Senate candidate that Republicans will know I can win in November and also govern in January and use conservative principles to keep our country strong and to fight for Ohio.”

Julie Hullett has been a reporter for the Chagrin Valley Times since August of 2018 and covers Gates Mills, Hunting Valley, Moreland Hills, Orange, Pepper Pike and Woodmere. She graduated from John Carroll University with a journalism degree in 2018.

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