U.S. Sen. Rob Portman speaks to students at the US Bank Theater Conference Center at Ohio Union on Sept 1, 2015. Credit: Lantern file photo

To the editor:

Like many of my friends and classmates, I was thrilled when I learned that Sen. Rob Portman would be the keynote speaker at my graduation this December. Understandably, my excitement was not shared by everyone. A recent letter to the editor expressed disappointment that Portman would be giving the commencement address, so I wanted to take the opportunity to share why I believe he is a fine choice for our commencement address.

One of my lasting memories from Ohio State will be my involvement with College Republicans, where I served as the chapter president for more than a year. I had the privilege of meeting Portman on numerous occasions through College Republicans, and even introduced him at an event the College Republicans hosted in 2015. If you ever have the opportunity to talk to him, even for only a few minutes, you will immediately understand that he is a man of great personality and character.

The recent letter to the editor asserted that because he opposes the Affordable Care Act and funding for Planned Parenthood, Portman is an opponent of women’s and minority rights. This simply is not true. Millions of Americans like myself oppose the ACA because it is harmful to small businesses, limits choice in health care and adds to the federal deficit.

I firmly believe that Portman cares deeply about all Ohioans. In fact, two of his most significant pieces of legislation are aimed at helping the most vulnerable members of our community. Last year, former President Barack Obama signed into law Portman’s Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which was aimed at getting help to those afflicted by the opioid crisis. This summer, again with bipartisan support, Portman introduced the Stop Enabling Sex Traffickers Act. It was approved by committee Nov. 8.

For many who will be receiving a diploma this month, the commencement address might be the first time a Republican will be standing in a room in front of them.  I would encourage you to keep an open mind, listen to what he has to say and try to broaden your perspective. After all, isn’t that what this college experience was supposed to be about?

David Stanislav

Former Chairman of Ohio State College Republicans

Fifth-year in chemical engineering