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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Greetings from the battleground state of Ohio, which Democrats and Republicans alike insist will determine the presidential race.

No use resenting us if you don’t live here. For a few more days, we’ll be the center of the universe. After Election Day, you can go back to wondering how a state with so many dairy farms and coal miners can be in the same time zone as Manhattan.

President Barack Obama continues to hold the lead in polls in Ohio. Beltway pundits love to rattle off the reasons, but this Buckeye who lives here has narrowed it down to one: the auto rescue.

So, let me tell you about my car.

Last summer, I traded in my Pontiac Vibe for a Chevy Cruze. It’s bright red. I call it my red-hot mama car, just to embarrass the kids.

I bought the Cruze primarily because of my roots. I was born in Ohio and raised here by blue-collar parents who believed in God, hard work and organized labor. In the early 1970s, dozens of my relatives, including my utility worker father, worked in union jobs at power plants, steel mills and auto factories. I grew up believing that Ohioans knew how to make things — big things — that were shipped all around the world.

How my parents would have loved the story of the Chevy Cruze. It’s a tale of many cities, many of them in my home state, full of the people I come from.

Bear with me, please, as I rattle off Ohio workers’ contributions to the Cruze, which is now one of the best-selling cars in America:

The engine is made in Defiance.

The seat frames: Lorain.

The brackets: Waverly.

The fasteners: Brunswick.

The plastics: Tallmadge.

The seats: Warren.

The transmission: Toledo.

The sound system: Springboro.

The steel: Middletown and Cleveland.

The wing nuts: Tiffin.

The weld nuts: Hudson.

The weld studs: Medina.

The insulators: Norwalk.

The wheel bearings: Sandusky.

That is a partial list of Cruze parts made in Ohio.

The Cruze is assembled by about 4,500 union workers in Lordstown, Ohio, which is producing cars around the clock.

But wait… there’s more.