Senate hopeful believes 'it's time for a businessman to play a role in D.C.'
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Written by By DAVID C. MILLER Sentinel-Tribune Editor
Monday, 30 November 2009 09:42
Tom Ganley knows he's a longshot in the Republican primary for the U.S. Senate seat that will become vacant when Sen. George Voinovich retires.
But this isn't the first time the Northeast Ohio entrepreneur has faced such an uphill battle. His career is a testament to how he can overcome insurmountable odds.
It was in 1968 when American Motors gave him a chance to start a Rambler dealership after the major automakers turned him down. All he brought to the table was $10,000. American Motors loaned him $80,000 and co-signed for another $80,000. Ganley paid it all back within a couple of years, and by 1973 he had the largest AMC dealership in the country.
That was just a start.
Now he operates the largest auto dealership group in the state, with more than 30 dealerships that employ more than 1,000 people.
Among his many other investments, he owns the largest independent financial services company in the state, along with an aviation company and real estate business.
Ganley, 65, is confident he can translate his four decades of successful business experience into the fiscal leadership he says is sorely lacking in the Senate.
"I know how to run large budgets and to stay within budgets," he said, adding that current members of Congress "don't have a grasp on how to manage a budget."
This is the first time he has run for elected office. He decided to enter the race because he is "very discouraged by what's happening in Washington. It's time for a businessman to play a role in D.C."
Ganley views his opponent in the May primary, Rob Portman, as a career politician. He is a former congressman from Ohio who later became budget director for President George W. Bush.
"The country desperately needs jobs," Ganley said, while criticizing Portman for supporting trade agreements that have resulted in jobs going from the United States to its trade agreement partners.
Ganley, a strong opponent to illegal immigration, also faulted his opponent for voting "for amnesty all three times he had a chance" to vote on the issue.
To encourage businesses to expand, Ganley proposes letting them keep 20 percent of their federal taxes for two years to either create jobs or purchase capital goods. If the businesses fail to live up to their end of the bargain after two years they would be required to pay back the 20 percent - plus interest.
For every laidoff employee hired back, he wants a business to get a $2,500 tax credit. They would receive a $5,000 tax credit for every new job created. And the business would receive a $10,000 tax credit for every job it brings back from a foreign country.
If he wins the Senate seat he would enter Congress without owing anyone any favors. "I have no ties to any lobbyist."
Ganley illustrates his claim of political independence by proudly saying that he "didn't back down to the Mafia."
He worked with the FBI to wage a two-year fight against an extortion plot by organized crime. It threatened not only him, but his wife and four children. The FBI even moved into his Brecksville home for a year during the investigation.
After the successful conclusion of the covert operation he received the highest award the FBI presents to civilians. FBI Director Robert Mueller personally presented the award to him.
Ganley also has served as president of Crime Stoppers of Northern Ohio since 2001.
Last Updated on Monday, 30 November 2009 12:19