Interview with Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH)
January 14, 2021
In this episode, we end the year off right by talking to one of our most anticipated interviewees: Senator Sherrod Brown. Sen. Brown is the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. Chuck and Big John talk to Sen. Brown about the future of unions and fighting for Appalachia. […]

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In this episode, we end the year off right by talking to one of our most anticipated interviewees: Senator Sherrod Brown. Sen. Brown is the senior U.S. Senator from Ohio and ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee. Chuck and Big John talk to Sen. Brown about the future of unions and fighting for Appalachia.

Chuck Corra 00:21
We are starting this episode right now. And John is talking about his tennis scholarship because I am completely unaware of his tennis scholarship. Because if you think The Iceman or like, any of my basketball stuff is is like, unbelievable. This should really make you go, there’s no way this happened. That’s a high precedent because all of that is unbelievable. So no, no, it just waits, just wait.

Big John Isner 00:53
I joined the tennis team, my 10th and 11th grade years. That’s it. I only played two years, I was not very good. I was good enough to where I got to play like two matches a year. It’s kind of like how you describe how you describe yourself in soccer, that I was the test equivalent, and I look my soccer. I was so freaking bad at soccer that I didn’t even I started like a couple times on the JV team. And I played through junior year of high school. So let me just say like, I have never claimed to be even remotely okay at soccer.

Right? Okay, so I’m about the equivalent of that in tennis. Okay, I didn’t get to play a whole lot. In the second year, I got a lot better, but I wasn’t very good. But anyway, senior year rolls around. I don’t play tennis. Right. I just don’t want to I’m ready to go to college. And the loss on the team was noticeable. Right? It was? Well, probably because I got a tennis scholarship. That, you know, the annual awards that they do for seniors where they pass out scholarships and stuff.

Chuck Corra 02:00
Yeah. Right.

Big John Isner 02:03
So I forgot that I even applied to this. But I wrote an essay on like, how tennis helped me get through all these different things, and why didn’t play. And somehow there’s a there’s a key, I’m not gonna mention his name. There’s a guy who was the number one seed in tennis who also apply

Chuck Corra 02:20
you Why don’t you tell me and I’ll bleep it out. Oh, really? Yeah. Okay. Interesting. Interesting.

Big John Isner 02:27
That’s a wild card dominated me and like I couldn’t even I could not Yeah, he was he was really, I couldn’t step on the same court as him. Right. So this

Chuck Corra 02:37
is coming from The Iceman that says a lot.

Big John Isner 02:39
This tennis scholarship comes up, right? The person comes to come to the podium. I like this individual has not only been outstanding in tennis, but has been, but has been one of the tops, one of the top students in your class. And I’m thinking I’m thinking that you know, he’s a really good student. He’s a really good student. He’s a really good tennis player. Congrats to him, right? Sure. And everybody else expected it to this, this is the key part.

This is where I feel terrible. They say my name. And I like to look around. And everybody’s like, no joke. It is the only time I’ve ever had that many people look at me in disbelief. Me walking up past these people. There’s like a couple of people who are literally just telling me, like, you shouldn’t have won. And then there are other people asking me how they how I can help them win.

Chuck Corra 03:44
Because, and then the rest of them were like, they’re just telling you that was there, right? And I like you shouldn’t have won.

Big John Isner 03:50
I took so much for that. And it was a four year like, for a year like $1,000 scholarship. So they cut me a check every single year as a tennis scholarship.

Chuck Corra 04:06
That was that is actually the equivalent of me getting a soccer.

Big John Isner 04:12
I can remember people like people around him, like, comforting him because I think obviously he thought he was going to win to like I had no idea like, you can ask my wife This is probably the most shocking moment of my entire life. Like we’re I’m just like there’s I didn’t even remember I had gone out for this scholarship or whatever.

Chuck Corra 04:36
Was there a clerical error with the stats for tennis?

Big John Isner 04:39
i didn’t include any stats. I just wrote this essay. That was the I wrote an essay.

Chuck Corra 04:44
And for some reason, the agent didn’t do their due diligence. That’s what it sounds well.

Big John Isner 04:47
Okay, but remember something. There’s a professional tennis player with my name. Well,

Chuck Corra 04:55
I think you got lucky.

Big John Isner 04:57
Oh, I got lucky. I had people You have to remember to I’m big john then like big john. So like, it’s, it’s like 300 pounds, right? It’s like 300 pound john walking up to win a tennis award, when like, I was out of breath when I got to the podium big john, like. So like, you know, at that point it that that’s probably not true. I think at that time I started losing weight, but you get the point.

Chuck Corra 05:26
Well, I would have been sixth grade Chuck, because back then I was crushing brownie bites every day. So I know what you mean.

Big John Isner 05:35
Yeah, it’s still the most shocking thing that’s ever happened to me, I can still in my head. It is it is in my head for the rest of my life, how sad he looked, and how everybody else was just like, what the hell is going on? I had some people, I had some people, including parents, Chuck, parents in the audience, standing up and clapping, as if somebody had just given like, had given like the most needy kid, a scholarship, they I think that everybody felt like if I could win an athletic award, anything is possible. I think I think

Chuck Corra 06:22
that look, I think that’s a great inspiring story to start this episode off with. When this comes out, we’ll be three days before Christmas. And I know like, some of you are going to be able to see your family. Some of you won’t, I won’t thankfully have my wife here, but I won’t be able to see like my extended family or anything like that.

And so you know, hopefully, that will give you some inspiration. Because it certainly gave me the inspiration to continue on with this episode. really powerful stuff. JOHN, thanks for sharing that. We’re gonna just barrel right into the episode. We don’t have any announcements. We don’t have anything else. We’re gonna roll right into it, john, this is I think, and nay I know, is our biggest get from an interview standpoint.

Big John Isner 07:09
Just like all the people who didn’t believe that I was gonna win the tennis scholarship and couldn’t believe that I won the tennis scholarship. I can see so many of the Potlatch haters around the world. Just in disbelief that we got this interview.

Chuck Corra 07:27
I do want to take like just a minute, though. We were We were serious about this podcast from day one. And we were committed to the mission of this podcast, and we are here over a year into it and to cap off the first full year of the podcast. no better than having a United States senator on and one that I have greatly respected for a long time Sherrod Brown from the great state of Ohio. JOHN, I want you to give kind of your reaction, then I’ll cap it off with mine.

Big John Isner 07:58
First off, this has been in my head since we did this interview. And since we’ve been talking about it, everybody would have put all of their money that if we got a US Senator on the show, it would have been Joe Manchin.

Chuck Corra 08:14
Yeah, cuz you’re totally right.

Big John Isner 08:16
Joe Manchin, like will do the rounds. I mean, he’s done way smaller podcasts than us, which is great. I’m glad. But like everybody, Joe Manchin,

Chuck Corra 08:25
Senator Joe Manchin, still welcome on this podcast.

Big John Isner 08:27
I’m not, I’m not. But the the the big thing here is we, we, everybody. When we came into this, our focus was always too much West Virginia, right. That was we were always worried about that. We told everybody, we’re making a change. We’re going to the rest of the region. And this is kind of us putting our money where our mouth is because we’ve gotten Fetterman now. And now we have Yeah, we have Senator Brown, which, look, we’re only going to continue to grow. This is huge. And my reaction to this interview is you and I’ve talked about it earlier. I’ve not met a more I thought I thought john Fetterman was the most honest politician I had ever met. I’ve not met a nicer politician then than Senator Brown ever.

Chuck Corra 09:19
This was a dream interview. I think I’ve mentioned on this show before, but this does have kind of a personal element to me. Back when Sherrod Brown first ran for the United States Senate in 2006. He was a congressman at the time. This is all the pre-social media era. I was about 16 years old. My dad’s union Eramet in Marietta, Ohio was on strike. Well, technically they were locked out. And so my dad was essentially out of a job for six months. One of the hardest times for my family that we ever faced, really, it was really difficult. Sherrod Brown came to the picket line to meet with my dad and his fellow Union guys. one day, He was there because he genuinely cared about the working people like my dad. We talked with him in this interview about the future of unions in this country about how democrats can win and rural, more red parts of the country like Appalachia, and to set the context of this Sherrod Brown is proof of that. He’s a pragmatic progressive, who has consistently won in a state that has gone red the past few presidential elections. And he does it by reaching the working people and being a messenger and an advocate for them. And I think that comes out in this interview.

So without further ado, our interview with the senior United States senator from the great state of Ohio, Sherrod Brown.

Interview with Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH)

Chuck Corra:

I think one thing I want to talk about broadly was about unions, the future of unionized labor in this country, and actually think that the op-ed, you published this morning, in the USA Today would be a good jumping-off point for the in it. You mentioned the corporations have failed American workers. I think we would certainly agree with you on that. And you mentioned creating a system centered around the dignity of work. And I’m wondering if you can articulate some of the key aspects of that for our listeners, what dignity of work means to you and what an economy centered around it would look like?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 11:31
Yeah, people are working harder than ever before, but they don’t feel like they’re getting much for it. When I say dignity of work, I mean, people who punch a clock and swipe a badge or work for tips or people working on salaries or people taking care of children or raising kids or taking care of parents at home. So we just found that as corporate profits have gone up, executive compensation has skyrocketed, even during this pandemic, some really large companies have made huge profits executive compensation is, is exploded upwards. So many workers, especially essential workers, gotten so little in return for their work.

One essential worker, a grocery store worker said to me, you know, they, they call me essential, but I feel expendable because they don’t pay me very well. And they don’t protect me at work. And you can look at all the workplace injuries in the workplace more than workplace illnesses that have happened. So many workers, so many essential workers have gotten sick from COVID.

The President of the United States has failed to issue any standard to protect workers on the job during COVID. At the same time, Senator McConnell, the leader of the Senate, wants to absolve any corporate leaders of potential lawsuits when they don’t protect their workers. And it’s the worst of both worlds for American workers during COVID.

Chuck Corra 12:54
Yeah, absolutely. I think that’s something that has been really on display, quite frankly, at the national scene with you see, like with Amazon workers, I think he referenced in one of the I don’t know if is that op-ed or something else, but them getting taken advantage of and barely having anything coming from their company, even though they make a $240 billion profit. When you think about we have the new Biden administration coming and we’re not sure yet what the exact makeup of the Senate would look like. But what are some pro-worker pro-union policies that you plan on pursuing in a new Congress?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 13:30
Yeah, let me back up to something else you referred to and then answer your question. You know, right after when the COVID, when the pandemic began to sweep our country, a number of corporations ran ads, talking about their heroic workers, a number of corporations gave a $2 an hour raise to their workers getting them to maybe 12 or 13, or 14, or maybe even $15. But then after a period of time, the ad stopped, and workers aren’t looking for Pat’s on the back, they’re looking for something better and work more conditions, health care, pensions, and obviously better pay and in most companies than the ones that were doing and not all did drop that two or $3. So that’s that they’re not going to do it on their own, of course. So that’s why Congress should pass a $15 an hour minimum wage. That’s why we need the Biden administration on day one, to do what the Obama administration started in the Trump administration stopped and that is to provide overtime pay for people making 30 $40,000 a year that are told to work that extra 10 or 15 hours a week and don’t get a sense of overtime. 5 million Americans were going to get overtime under that overtime rule back in 2015, and 16, and Trump took it away from most of them. That’s the kind of thing we should be doing. We should pass the PRO Act protecting the right to organize some. A new survey showed that between 65 and 70% of Americans would Like to join or have a favorable opinion of unions, and half of Americans would like to join a union if they could. But the laws are such that employers, with their expensive lawyers and others, fight, fight any efforts to organize a union and workers or her we know we never grow the middle class in this country without a stronger movement. I mean, Chuck talked about his dad and grandfather with me before the show. Both carried a union card. Now it’s united steelworkers in it, I believe it was the chemical workers, but that that gave them a middle-class lifestyle, a decent standard of living in Parkersburg, West Virginia, Marietta, Ohio. And it’s, we know that unions were stronger. 2030 years ago, the middle class was stronger 2030 years ago. That should be the core when you talk about the dignity of work when you talk about what the next administration should do to honor workers. It’s all about that.

Chuck Corra 15:59
Absolutely. And I’m glad that you brought up the aspect of unions, because I think that really relates to my next question, which is about the future of unions themselves, as you know, and it’s well documented, the rise of unions, particularly in the 30s and 40s, are really what helped reduce income inequality. And right now we’re staring down the barrel at historic income inequality, even before this pandemic, but most certainly after it yet union membership, as I think as you probably alluded to the reasons why is seemingly been stagnant or on the decline, but there’s a ton of interest in it with people around this country. What um, what in your view, does the future of unions look like in the coming years in the United States? And I know, you mentioned the PRO Act. But are there other things that that maybe the Congress or states themselves should be doing to help bolster unions?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 16:47
Yeah, I was encouraged that Joe Biden would frequently use the word union in his speeches, not something that any republicans do, and frankly, not enough democrats do. I was talking to my daughter last night about this. And she for she’s, she’s a lawyer now. But for seven years after college, she worked for the Service Employees International Union helping in organizing drives. And she was talking to me about the young voters. One of the interesting things about young people now young people are very overall very pro-union. And they understand what the union movement looks like. It’s not people like your it’s not just your dad, or grandfather, or me people that are that look like, look like we do older white males. It’s like you’re dead, not like you but like, Yeah, but it really is, I mean, the union movement, and when you talk about the dignity of work, we see so many women and people of color. And, and rural people wanting to be in the union movement, the union movement really is, is what we ought to be with diversity with justice. I mean, you can’t, you can’t fight for any of these things.

You can’t ever deal with income inequality. If you don’t have a more just country, in a more just country means everybody has an opportunity. And we know that while the union movement thrived in the 40s, and 50s, and 60s, it really did not include women in very many cases or people of color in all that many cases. So we need a new union movement. We know that the support among young people, as my daughter said, is stronger than among older people. It’s stronger among women. It’s stronger among people of color.

But it doesn’t mean that a whole lot of people in Appalachia of all races don’t care about union unions, because they do and then people I think people that live from my state from Portsmouth, just going up the river from Portsmouth to Ironton to Gallup police to Athens, up to that judge up well, Marietta, and up to Belmont county and Jefferson County up just towards St. Claire’s don’t Stephenville all those areas were strong union areas. They also had more opportunities for kids. There was a stronger middle class, the communities were stronger.

There were all good. We just know we had better lifestyles when there were unions and in the decline of the town where I grew up in Mansfield, Ohio, Richland County, and North Central Ohio city of about 50,000. When I was growing up there were there was there were steelworker jobs, autoworker jobs, machinists, jobs, public employee jobs, too. All those things. In part, too many of them have been lost, and we need those jobs. And we need people to be able to vote for the union to make those jobs middle-class jobs.

Chuck Corra 19:36
Absolutely, I think I totally agree. I think you bring up a good point about young people and supporting unions. I mean, you look at that movement today. You have places like even like New York Magazine, where it’s a very young staff and they’ve started a union there you have unions for video game developers, so there’s there’s definitely a hunger for that out there. I want to kick it over to John’s I know he’s got some questions sort of the the parlay into this about democrats and being able to appeal to a We’re all in rustbelt voters. Sure.

Big John Isner 20:03
So for me the interesting part, obviously we we’ve talked about unions, but we’re seeing this weird transition. And the thing that I always say is, Republicans are really good at winning elections. They’re just not very good at governing. And part of that is the fact that they tend to just have a lot of narratives. But right now the narrative has begin began to shift the democratic. The democrats, I guess you’d call it perception. How did the dems get back to being looked at as the party of the everyday person?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 20:37
Essential workers, you know, we all we all are so so I’m proud of, and so celebratory of and we all laud essential workers, but we don’t pay them very well. And we don’t know their names. And they work in grocery stores, they drive buses, they, they, they change the linen and hospitals, they’re the food preparers and the custodians, and the security guards, they’re they’re notable by a number of things. One is, is their pay isn’t very good. Second, there, they’re mostly women. Third, we know that they go to work every day exposed to this virus. They’re exposed to the public, and then they go home at night, always anxious about whether they’re infecting the people, they love the people whom they love. If democrats would start narratives like that, start talking about people. And in those terms, my favorite, my, one of my favorite Lincoln, Abraham Lincoln lines was he said that he had to get out of the White House and he said, Go and get my public opinion bath. And I think I mean, the way the way I went to state that, you know, I’m pro choice. I’ve been for marriage equality for 25 years, I get an F from the NRA, but I wouldn’t at my state because I fight for workers and workers in Ohio know that. So some people may not like my position on marriage equality, but some of them will vote for me because they know that I get up every day figuring out how do I how do I help a worker? That’s it’s got a boss at work. That’s that’s, that’s, that doesn’t ever give him a break? How do I help a worker who wants to join a union and has had an employer that’s anti union? How do I help a worker with wages and benefits health care? And in retirement? How do I help a worker wants to send His Son to send his kid to Zane state or child to Washington State across the river from you in Marietta? How do we how do I help those families live their dreams, because most people in the end care about that more than they care about anything else in their lives. And in politics, it’s always who’s signing on and democrats need to talk about workers centered around the dignity of work, and not just talk about them, but fight for.

Big John Isner 22:54
That brings up an interesting point that I’ve kind of thought about as a young person who once ran for office, something that I kind of ran into, I think a lot of people, especially people my age, maybe even younger, who are trying to decide whether or not they want to run for office and how they can win and let’s say deep red areas, that you you have the ability to run on a record, which is great for people in Ohio. What would you say to somebody, a young person who may not have a record? How can they do well, and let’s say a deep red area when when they’re coming in as a Democrat? Do you have any advice for those types?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 23:29
it’s, it’s getting out more than anybody else and talking and doing this. I don’t know how to run for office during a course.
Well, never done it outside of a pandemic will be over long before my reelection, but I’ve watched people do it.

I know it’s a lot harder for a new candidate. In a pandemic, I’ve worked with a group we have this program called our Canary candidates where we helped starting in 19. Then this past year in 2020, we helped raise the money we helped with media we helped with the message we did all kinds of different kinds of campaign appearances with them, mostly local governments from America shocked into new state rep around Columbus. We know that engaging in races is important but I think it’s it’s going door to door it’s, it’s telling a story about why you’re doing this, but it’s mostly listening.

We all sort of forget sometimes in the public office how important listening is because when you listen then you help then you hear their stories. I mean, Chuck told a story about his father that really hit home with me I people tell stories, but I know the story because I listened to him tell it. I mean I so it’s important that we when new candidates go door to door that they listen they have those stories and they can tell other others those stories and in you build a narrative like that. You can sometimes be even in a conservative You can beat a sort of a high bound republican officeholder that doesn’t take you seriously cuz you’re young and new.

Big John Isner 25:08
Check. I don’t know if that ring a bell with you. But that sounds like the 59th. District. Yeah, deal 100% 1000s of doors and move the needle 13 points. But it wasn’t. It wasn’t enough.

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 25:26
But it was still something that we like to be proud of. 13 points you should be proud of. That’s, that’s, that’s one out of seven voters.

Big John Isner 25:31
Yeah. So it’s some and I, I’m with you, I’m 100%. With you, the scariest thing I ever did was knock on my first door. The best thing I ever did was knock on my last because by the time that I had gotten to that last door, I’d met so many people heard so many stories and finally thought at the beginning of 2018. When I was running, I thought I could run for office and be successful at representing people. By the time I knocked that last door, I knew I could represent those people. So I think that’s what’s important here.

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 26:00
There’s nothing like there’s nothing like just exposing yourself that way. Yeah, the thoughts and some people aren’t very nice. Everybody is effective there. Interestingly, the better you get known, the more people that are nice to you. By the time they started hearing your name, and in heard you’re one of those who’s a pro labor Democrat. Yep, that makes a lot of people like you, but it makes some people not like you, but that’s alright.

Big John Isner 26:25
That’s very fair.

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 26:27
You never take it personally, I’d say is Yeah, I’ve always through my career. I mean, I, I know a lot of people in Ohio, obviously a lot of people vote against me every time of course, they don’t like my position. They like whatever it is. But I always when I run, I always think it’s Who am I fight for and what I fight against. I never want to make it personal. On the other side, I make it personal in terms of whom I’m fighting for, I think about the people I’ve met, and the stories I’ve heard. But I don’t want to think it’s about candidate x. On the other side, I want to think about, well, candidate x thinks that it’s okay to pass legislation weakening worker safety standards, or it’s okay to oppose them. And well, I fight against that I don’t fight against candidate x, I fight against that. So it’s who you’re fighting for. And what you’re fighting against, is just where you want your head to be. It keeps you clear, it keeps you focused, it keeps your soul fed, if I can say it that way, and just make all of us better, potentially better human beings as we do that.

Big John Isner 27:25
Well, in a world full of attack ads, that’s very refreshing to hear. So very much like that, though. The final thing that I want to kind of wrap up with this, and I think I would, we’d be doing a disservice to the people who listened to this show if we didn’t talk a little bit about specifically Appalachia. So obviously, we focus on Appalachia, and there’s tend to be very rural areas. We know that there are some big cities, but there are a lot of rural areas. Right now small towns continue to suffer their lack of economic development, people moving out in droves. What do you think the future is for these small towns in Appalachia or throughout? And is there a policy that could help these small towns survive?

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 28:06
Well, my dream is that both parties actually change their positions on this, the republicans do nothing for Appalachia, and take it for granted. Democrats, frankly, don’t do enough for Appalachia and think that we’ll never win there. And I want to see both parties change their attitudes. I want to see republicans think you know, we better do something if they’re going to keep voting for us and democrats saying we’ve got to do something so that we can earn their votes. I mean, you start with I’ve talked to the job. I’ve talked to the President-Elect. It’s nice to say that now. I’m gonna lie personally about this. But I’ve talked to a number of people about how important it is that we come in, and we move quickly on broadband. That it’s so my I was on an I was talking to a maybe a ninth-grade girl in Jackson, Ohio, one day in Jackson County. I think she was she might have been from Colton, I’m not sure which time but she said when she was um, she said she and her family lived in a valley. So when she did her schoolwork, she went up to her grandmother’s house who lived at the top of the hill, because their internet connection was better. And that’s insane that so many people in this country don’t have that. So that that that can be the rural electrification of the 21st century. That’s what we need to do. And we can start fighting for that more than we have as the Democratic Party. We need to assure you know, the republicans now clearly are the party that they’ve opposed. They’ve wanted to privatize Social Security and Medicare. And they’ve refused to raise unemployment benefits. You know, how important those are to people in Appalachia. They’re important, particularly the older populations in Appalachia is a little older than the average and then Columbus or Cleveland that we will always fight against republican efforts to privatize Social Security or Medicare or take away on unemployment insurance because in the end that society on and if we don’t ever say, we know we’ve got people not look down on people, there’s far too much of that in this. I mean, both parties do too much of looking down on people. And, you know, taking we should take people seriously treat them as adults and tell them we’re fighting to preserve their Medicare and Medicaid and social security and in pensions and unemployment, we’re gonna fight for broadband, we’re gonna fight for higher wages. It’s who we are as a party, and we’ve always been the party of working families and we will continue to be and we need to talk about it more and do things in Appalachia and show it.

Chuck Corra 30:40
Absolutely. 100% agree. I think that you’ve hit the nail on the head is that there’s more that Democrats can do. And there’s a lot more that Republicans can do. And I think I think that we need more people like you in Congress if I do say so myself. Senator Brown, I really appreciate you taking the time to talk with us today. I will, I’ll close by saying this is probably the most ringing endorsement you could possibly receive. I think you’re the only politician that my dad has ever expressed positive sentiment for and he said, and I quote, that he’s one of the only guys that’s not a knucklehead up there. And Washington because he gets us in reference to the people that he worked with Eramet and so I knew that that was an important endorsement and, and something that stuck with me for a long time because my dad’s a wise guy, so

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 31:26
I really appreciate that, you should tell your dad to move across the river into Marietta or Belpre

Chuck Corra 31:37
I’ll start working on that for you ha!

Sen. Sherrod Brown: 31:40
Good show. What you’re doing is so important. Thanks.

Chuck Corra 31:45
Thank you. You’re welcome back anytime.

Post-interview re-cap

Chuck Corra:

All right, thanks. All right. So that was our interview with Senator Sherrod Brown, big john, your reaction.

Big John Isner 32:07
I felt like when going into the interview, I was a little worried to be honest. I knew that he was going to do well with the union questions like that was a given. He’s very good when he talks about unions, because it’s it really is his background. He knows a lot about it. I was a little worried when I started asking questions about like, Hey, your party, your party’s not doing very well. They kind of actually they kind of suck, especially when it comes to Appalachian. How can we fix this? I was, you know, I if I would have asked john Fetterman, that I don’t think I would have gotten the same response as I did from Senator Brown. So I do appreciate I do appreciate him taking that question pretty seriously. And providing an actual analysis of what’s going wrong.

Chuck Corra 32:51
Yeah, no, I love this answer to it, too, because he wasn’t afraid to critique the Democratic Party, his party. I think that’s important because and I’m gonna paraphrase he I don’t remember the actual quote, but I know that he says, like, Republicans haven’t done anything for Appalachia, it’s a consistently win the votes of Appalachia, Democrats haven’t done anything or done enough for the region either. In order to win back those votes, they need to start investing time resources, and policies in the region. Senator Brown was very candid about that and he wasn’t mincing words when he said that the democratic party needs to do better. And we this is something we’ve said, you know, for a while now, and we agree, of course, like Democratic Party hasn’t done enough hasn’t invested in rural America, especially in Appalachia.

Big John Isner 33:42
Yeah. And I mean, I think that he was pretty blunt. I mean, the the, I guess the best part about it for me is that it reinforced all the stuff I’ve been saying on here, where it’s like, I feel like Democrats have he, they walk into Appalachia, they throw their hands up and say, we can’t win here. Let’s leave. And that’s exactly that’s our election strategy. And then come Election Day. They’re all like, how did we lose? You know, in it, it’s so ridiculous and insane around sees that. And I think he sees that one, because he’s a very smart individual. But too, he has to go into these rural areas. So like, he hears what, what I heard when I ran where people are bitching and moaning about Nancy Pelosi, even though they don’t understand the actual congressional system. But you have to you have to go into it knowing that somebody is going to hate other people more than they hate you. And you have to explain why you’re still enough to win.

Chuck Corra 34:39
Right? Well, and he still wins parts of Appalachian Ohio because he understands the issues there. He understands that working people are struggling, and he’s spoken to that for a long time and he’s fought for that for a long time. And you know, and hopefully I think this kind of leads into the the Georgia issue of like, you know, who controls the Senate, but but for a little in Georgia, please get out and vote get out and vote for Raphael Warnock and for Don Allsop because if they were both to win Sherrod Brown, who is the ranking member of the Senate Banking Committee now becomes the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee. And that’s a hugely influential position in the United States Senate. Let’s get into it. This is um, well, this be the last beef of the year. Are you going to do one next week?

Big John Isner 35:23
I’ll probably do it next week. No, next week, see awards next next week. So the awards, right? I don’t want to I don’t want to do a beat. I want to make it just about the awards.

The final beef of 2020

Chuck Corra 35:33
This will be the last beef of 2020 and a banner year for beef. So if I do say so myself true. So without further ado, big john, let’s roll into it with a big, solid hearty beef with big john to cap off the hellacious year that was 2020.

Big John Isner 35:54
Just when things are starting to look up here in 2020, Congress decides that they’re ready to bring us back down to reality. And by that, I mean, they give zero shits about what happens to regular people, aside from a select few democrats including Sherrod Brown


Okay, there are some there are some great, great congressional members who are fighting every day for everyday people. Right. But there are too many that aren’t. So the problem being now we have both sides leadership, I’ll say leadership has failed.

Chuck Corra 36:31
Absolutely.

Big John Isner 36:32
Inside leadership on the Republican side and leadership on the Democratic side, because they agreed to this 100% member the democrats own the house, so they don’t have to agree to anything, they can still continue to fight I get it. We want to pass a deal. What am I talking about? The stimulus package number two, and it is a big number two, I mean, dukie, it is dukey. It is terrible. It is one of the worst pieces of quote unquote, relief. The only relief that’s happening is number two. That’s it. That’s the only relief here, Chuck, the big thing that’s coming out of this is they’ve cut stimulus checks in half. It’s now $600 per adult $600 per child. Well, Chuck, it’s supposed to help us pay our rent. The only problem is that the United States average rent is 14 $100. Yeah, so I mean, it. Great. It’s it’s a very nice Christmas present, right? Like, we’re all very thankful for that. The big thing here is that, like I said, 14 $100 a month for United States citizens average wise, for rent, we’re giving people $600. We were getting people 12 $100 earlier, and it wasn’t enough to cover in. So what’s the smart thing to do, according to Congress, cut it in half. You know, and that’s, unfortunately, that’s the way American economics work, where it’s like, Okay, how much can we save? And whose back can we take it off of, and the big thing is, you’re always gonna have the middle class and lower class who carry the load, while people at the upper level continue to get rich off of us dying. That’s, it’s plain and simple.

Chuck Corra 38:07
There’s been about nine months since the last stimulus when we got 1200. Now, a lot of people have been out of work for that entire nine months. And they think that the adequate reparation for that is $600. It honestly is like, like, we’ll take it because it’s better than zero, but it’s a slap in the face. And look, I say that from a place of privilege. I’ll acknowledge that having been employed this whole time. There’s a lot of people that haven’t. There’s a lot of people that had been unemployed since that first check came in, are still employed now. what’s what’s being done to help those people? That’s what makes me really sick and disgusted by all this is, you know, you have people there, the majority of which and Congress are independently wealthy, where they can literally not work another day in their life and be fine. Thinking like giving themselves a pat on the back that like, Oh, yeah, we really did this for the American people. Give me a break.

Big John Isner 39:08
And, and the thing that you said, and this is what pisses me off so much, is that you said, we’ll take it. These are our representatives. They’re not people who we should, we should look at them as a bargaining chip, or they should look at us as a bargaining chip. It shouldn’t be that we come out of this being happy with what is going on. There are representatives using our tax dollars. That’s the big thing here.

Chuck Corra 39:32
I I get it. I’m saying I’m not happy, but I’m saying like I’m gonna take it.

Big John Isner 39:37
I agree. Yeah, I’m agreeing with you. I’m saying that we as United States citizens shouldn’t have to say that. Yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s insane how, how politicians can take your money and then you know, 10 different times and then give it back to you one time and say, You are lucky I’m doing this for you. It’s insane. The stimulus package also The stimulus package also includes $300 billion for small businesses. But in that check is even more of the PPP loans, which we know that those actually mostly didn’t go to small businesses. They went to massive business businesses and churches. It’s one of those things that was terribly misused, and it’s going to be again, there’s no Cham Joel Osteen, and I preach the prosperity gospel. And as long as you just you just pay your $1,000 a month to me and my church in Houston, you too, will be rich like me, thank

Chuck Corra 40:35
you. God bless

Big John Isner 40:36


him, he got $4 million, that PPP money mother, son of a bitch. And so also included in that.

Chuck Corra 40:44
Yeah, it’s Easter. It’s ridiculous. The big corporations got anything because they make plenty of money. In fact, we talked about it in the episode and then excuse me in the interview of Sherrod Brown about how much money Amazon makes, and yet they don’t pay their workers yet. So it’s, it’s unconscionable. That’s the word for it. it’s unconscionable. And I wish I had a good answer this, I would like more democrats need to step up, you know, because I don’t think Republicans will. And Democrats, like should have the mantle on this thing is is like we shouldn’t accept this as the only thing. I know that like political reality makes it like this is the only deal right now. But we shouldn’t accept that. That shouldn’t be the status quo. People should be beating down the doors in these offices demanding 2000 a month stimulus checks every month until this pandemic is over.

Big John Isner 41:35
Until I hate to say this to you because we’re harping on. Well, actually, I don’t hate to say Democrats have sucked here recently. And here’s why. Leadership, some of them have the democrats in general haven’t got shit done. Like, I understand that there are good politicians, but you have to pass legislation to get to be a good politician. They’re not passing good legislation right now

Chuck Corra 41:54
you get it, you get to have you get to have to have the majority to pass legislation in this Congress.

Big John Isner 41:59
Oh, I I’m not disagreeing with that. When elections is the big thing. The second thing is, I don’t think that there’s going to be this kind of mass movement to help democrats until there’s new leadership in the democratic Yeah. Starting, first off, starting at state levels. For instance, here in West Virginia, I’m not gonna throw him under the bus. But the person who leads the democratic party here should not be leading the Democratic Party. just blatantly gonna say it. It’s just when you lose this many elections, and you don’t, and you’re putting your head in the sand, you don’t deserve to be the leader of the Democratic Party in any state, let alone West Virginia. Secondly, the

Chuck Corra 42:39
same can be said about Tennessee,

Big John Isner 42:40
right? I’m sure. Oh, okay. Well, I just know about their election, their West Virginia doesn’t really get a fair shake, in my opinion, when it comes to those types of things. But anyway, the other big thing is, I think, and people are gonna hate on me for this. But I think you have to make a change when it comes to Senate or House leadership. It just, it’s not working, the things are not going the way that people anticipate. And even if they are, let’s say, you know, this is what people wanted. The messaging is really bad. When it comes from when it’s coming from leadership from the Democratic Party, the messaging is not working. And if you can’t even establish your own message, how are you ever going to win the trust of the American people? You can’t, you have to make a change, you have to put a new face to the Democratic Party. Because if you don’t, you’re gonna 2022 is gonna be rough. I’ll just say that now that you have the you have Biden momentum right now, just like the Republicans said Trump momentum. But 2022, there’s going to be a crash back down to reality, if you don’t start winning the you know, the majority of voters over again. But here’s, Look, I know, there’s good politicians out there. I know there are politicians like Senator Brown, who are working really, really hard. There’s not enough of them. And the it should be a crime that Senator Brown is not a bigger face in the Democratic Party because he should be looking the earth, but the party should be looking at him going, how are you doing this? How are you winning? Because he’s the one who can lead them to the promised land? Because he’s the one. Right, exactly. But we don’t do that we, you know, as Democrats continue just to push forward doing the same old thing that’s continued to lose elections over the last 20 years, and specifically over the last five, really, really bad. Elections are years. It would be six now. So really terrible six years. So hopefully, they make a change in leadership. The stimulus package overall is dookie. It is still better than what Joe Manchin was pushing. I will say that because Joe Manchin did not include a single stimulus check, which I thought was just a terrible bill. And it was just being rushed. Well,

Chuck Corra 44:59
I think We need new leadership. I agree. We need somebody below the age of 70, which I don’t think the Democratic Party leadership right now. And I think that we need some fundamental change when it comes to that party because I think the party itself is out salvageable, but I just think that the leadership especially needs to change and you know, I hope it does I but anyway, ending this episode real quick. Let’s do a quick plug for our award show. It’s going to be next week when you’re listening to this the day comes the day that this episode comes out be Tuesday. I think the 22nd So right now the 20th 21st No, 22nd. Okay, this episode comes out Tuesday 22nd. That will mean you have one day left to vote in our app pod lasha Awards, which will be linked into our bio, also link to it in the show notes here. Make sure you vote on that and we will have our award show next Tuesday. And it will be really great. I’m very excited for it. Otherwise, follow us on all the social media and check us out app on ledger.com email us at info at Potlatch a.com. And as always have a wonderful Christmas and we’ll see you December 30

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