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Portman’s Personal Appeal on Heroin Epidemic Fight

Campaign cuts ad featuring father who lost son to opioid abuse

Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, testifies during a hearing on the impact of heroin and prescription drug abuse. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)
Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, testifies during a hearing on the impact of heroin and prescription drug abuse. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Sen. Rob Portman’s campaign to persuade the House to act on the Senate’s legislation to combat opioid abuse is becoming part of his re-election campaign, too.  

On Tuesday, the Ohio Republican is rolling out a new web ad in an outreach to voters that features a message from Wayne Campbell, a constituent who lost his son Tyler to an overdose of prescription painkillers. He then founded a nonprofit.  

Both the personal appeal and the accompanying email message from Campbell were provided first to Roll Call.  

“Tyler’s story is sadly all too common, and I don’t want to meet any more parents in a grief support group,” Campbell wrote in the message. “That’s why we founded a group called Tyler’s Light.  

“Our mission is to equip communities and our nation with information and resources to help people choose a drug-free life, while providing resources for family members and friends who are involved in the battle against addiction. We are fortunate to have a partner in U.S. Senator Rob Portman.”  

The family’s case was part of a CBS News “60 Minutes” report that aired back in November 2015.  

Portman, who is facing a tough re-election bid in November, has been among those pushing for the House to call up the anti-opioid legislation he co-sponsored that the Senate passed 94-1 and approve it without amending it. He has  emphasized to House lawmakers that they can pass additional measure after the Senate bill reaches President Barack Obama.  

In addition to a series of floor speeches, the senator’s office says he has spoken with members of the House Republican leadership about the issue, including Speaker Paul D. Ryan of Wisconsin, Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California and Judiciary Chairman Robert W. Goodlatte.  

House committees have been working on legislation to address the opioid addiction crisis, which has been particularly acute in Ohio. And in the web ad for Portman, Taylor highlights the senator’s long-term interest in the issue.  

Portman faces a competitive contest against Democrat Ted Strickland, a former Ohio governor, in November’s election. The Rothenberg & Gonzales Political Report rates the race a toss up/tilts Republican.
Contact Lesniewski at and follow him on Twitter @nielslesniewski

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