Voters in Trumbull and Mahoning counties likely will cast two votes for President Barack Obama for every one vote for Republican challenger Mitt Romney. The strongest support will come from union workers here who have benefited from the president's policies, especially in the auto industry.
Clearly the Lordstown General Motors plant is humming along and is a large measure of the success in the resurrection of GM since its Obama-backed bailout. There is even talk by the United Auto Workers that the Lordstown plant could grow its employment to the 10,000 level, but that could just be a pre-election hope that never materializes.
Yet, no one doubts the value of having Chevy Cruzes built in our back yard. Continuation of that in the future will be vital to our future.
The real hope for real prosperity in the valley, however, lies deep below the surface in the Utica shale formations where large pockets of energy repose. It's energy that will create wealth for landowners, jobs by the thousands and cash for the local economy that has languished for far too long.
On energy, Romney is the clear choice.
From the eastern border of Trumbull County all the way south along the Ohio River to Marietta, geologists say there is a reservoir of energy that can be the focal point of geopolitical change with worldwide implications.
In other words, we can matter.
How much Americans spend on energy to fuel cars, heat homes and power factories; how much the American government spends to maintain peace in energy-producing foreign nations; how many American soldiers die in combat based on protecting overseas energy supplies; how much eastern Ohio thrives by bringing relief to all of the above depends on an energy policy that emanates from the White House.
President Obama is perceived to have no real love for fossil fuel exploration and production here on U.S. soil.
During his first two years in office, President Obama held majorities in the House and Senate. He did not use that power to create a sustainable energy policy for America. Instead, he haphazardly stood against energy independence and lower energy cost. For example, while Romney said he would pave the way for the Keystone XL Pipeline to be completed ''if I have to build it myself,'' President Obama blocked the project that would bring cheaper Canadian oil to U.S. refineries and create thousands of construction jobs.
As the middle class, and everyone else, struggles with gasoline prices near or above $4 per gallon, President Obama's administration doesn't get that this is a severe penalty levied against almost every family in America. Working class families must get to work and back and they have been heavily "taxed" by gasoline prices which have doubled since the 44th president took office in 2009.
While Romney stands poised to promote a drastic shift in the country's energy production, President Obama's EPA enacted air quality standards that in 2014 would hinder oil and natural gas well production.
Romney promotes tapping more domestic energy sources, but President Obama prevents drilling on most federal lands, and continues to push - with billions upon billions of the government's borrowed dollars in ill-conceived investments - wind, solar and other green energy options that hold little hope of substantial success. He supports an electric vehicle industry that has little chance of surviving without massive government financing.
Energy, of course, is not the sole consideration when voting for president.
When President Obama took office unemployment was 7.8 percent. It is now more than 8 percent for the 43rd consecutive month.
When President Obama took office the national debt was $10.6 trillion. Now it's $16.1 trillion.
The federal government's annual budget deficit has topped $1 trillion every year since President Obama took office.
Median household income dropped from $54,983 to $50,964 since President Obama took office. About 50 percent of middle-class adults have fallen backward in income for the first time since World War II.
There were 31.9 million Americans on food stamps when President Obama took office; 46.6 million are on food stamps now.
The poverty rate was 12.5 percent in 2008; it was 15.1 percent 2011.
Despite all that, President Obama says ''. . . the private sector is doing fine.''
President Obama says his plan is for the wealthy to pay more taxes while the middle class will be given tax relief. This is a recipe for the national debt to be more than $20 trillion in four more years. He has plans to increase corporate income taxes to the highest levels in the industrial world. He says everyone should pay "their fair share," he wants the "wealthy" to pay more, but he doesn't explain how it is "fair" for so many to pay nothing at all in federal income taxes.
Romney's plan does not lower any taxes paid by the highest income earners, yet he promises to eliminate some deductions that benefit the wealthy. He says he will not offer any tax cuts that increase the deficit. His plan focuses on leaving the job creators tax incentive to do so.
President Obama's plan takes $700 billion over 10 years from Medicare and has offered no plan to keep Social Security solvent in the long run. As an advertisement in this edition signed by more than 30 local physicians explains, President Obama's health care plan will not improve health care or access to it. Romney pledges to dismantle it.
After riding a huge high on foreign policy and military strategy with the killing of Osama bin Laden, the Obama Administration's credibility has taken a huge hit in recent weeks in the wake of the assassination of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sept. 11. He promised to close the terrorist prison at Guantanamo Bay, but it is still open. Iran is four years closer to having nuclear capabilities.
President Obama never fulfilled his promise to be a uniting agent of change. Neither his hallmark economic stimulus package nor his legacy health care overhaul received any bipartisan support. When Republicans won the House in 2010, President Obama became more obstinate rather than move to the center like Bill Clinton did when he lost his majority.
Romney won the governorship in heavily Democratic Massachusetts where he and Democrats teamed up to succeed. He also brought conflicting sides together to save the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics.
Obama once said that if he didn't repair the economy ''in three years, this would be a one-term proposition.'' Indeed, one term is enough.
Election Day 2008 and Inauguration Day 2009 are significant moments in U.S. history that we can be proud of. Those were important steps in further distancing ourselves from our racially discriminatory past.
But now we must focus on substance, not symbolism. The Romney-Ryan ticket provides that substance, and is a better option for America at this time.